Congo: Protecting Civilians From The Army



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

August 28, 2008: The UN peacekeeping forces continue to establish "buffer zones" in eastern Congo��that's always been part of the mission but it appears the re-deployment announced August 20 includes the establishment of more buffer zones. The buffer zones serve several purposes - one (which is not mentioned too often in public) is to watch the Congolese Army as well as rebel factions. The MONUC troops are there to protect Congolese civilians who say they are subject to intimidation and theft from army units. These are often the same units the UN forces are attempting to train.

August 21, 2008: The UN reported that the Ugandan rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) had raided a Congolese village in northeastern Congo near the Sudan border. The LRA subsequently denied the accusation.

August 20, 2008: The UN began redeployment of peacekeepers in the eastern Congo to provide additional protection to civilians in Orientale and Ituri provinces. The Ituri Patriot Front (a militia) has reportedly launched several attacks in the Irumu area.

Aug 17, 2008: A Mai-Mai militia struck an army position in North Kivu province. One Congolese soldier was killed and two wounded. The attack occurred near the town of Nyabiondo (Masisi region). There have been several small-scale clashes in the area since the beginning of August.

August 13, 2008: War continually threatens Africa's exotic game species. The Great Congo War forced many policemen and park rangers to flee. Rebels had superior firepower. Many gorillas (as in the species, not guerrillas) in eastern Congo were killed. Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Congo witnessed a reduction in elephant herds as poachers (many armed with automatic weapons) attacked the herds in order to sell the elephant meat and obtain ivory. Stories continue to crop up that the Rwandan FDLR (in North Kivu) regularly kills elephants for ivory. Ivory is an internationally controlled commodity. Underground demand, however, persists.


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