Congo: The Little Guys Are The Big Killers


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

May 6, 2008: There are about 22 armed groups in eastern Congo, and a major part of the problem is not just the number of armed irregulars, but the many rebel organizations and their very different goals and motivations.

May 3, 3008: The latest UN assessment of the eastern Congo is good because it isn't so bad. The UN described the situation as "stabilizing but fragile" – meaning a new offensive by rogue militias or Rwandan Hutus, or anyone else for that matter, could create another violent mess. MONUC in eastern Congo is once again focusing its efforts on disarmament and demobilization operations.

May 2, 2008: The UN vigorously denied allegations that UN peacekeepers in the eastern Congo had provided a Ugandan rebel organization with weapons. The rumors first appeared last month in Ugandan publications. Allegedly, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF, also called Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for Liberation of Uganda) received weapons from UN peacekeepers or that UN peacekeepers sold the ADF weapons.

April 29, 2008: What is the biggest killer in the Congo? Probably malaria. Congo has around five million malaria cases a year. The actual number of people who die annually from malaria is not known, but the UN study estimates the figure is somewhere between 500,000 and one million people. There are more deaths in areas where rebel groups are active, because it is more difficult to distribute anti-mosquito sleeping nets (a major preventive measure) or go after the mosquitoes that spread the disease.

April 25, 2008: Congolese troops fought with rebel Rwandan Hutu militia forces in North Kivu province. The UN said that at least 12,000 people fled the immediate battlefield. Most of the fighting took place in an area 50 miles northeast of Goma. There were no casualty reports.


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