Congo: Talk To Me



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

December 4, 2008: Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, has about 70,000 refugees in its immediate vicinity. Feeding and providing medical services for these refugees is a tremendous burden. Numerous cases of cholera and measles are appearing among refugees fleeing the fighting in eastern Congo. During the Great Congo War exposure, starvation, and disease caused most of the deaths, not gunfire and high explosives.

December 2, 2008: General Laurent Nkunda (and his National Congress for the Defense of the People, or  CNDP), believes that eastern Congo continues to provide sanctuary for FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) Hutu militiamen who were responsible for the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

December 1, 2008: Laurent Nkunda's forces have withdrawn from the town of Ishasha. On November 29, while meeting with UN officials, Nkunda agreed to withdraw from the town. Ishasha is on the Congo-Uganda border, approximately 35 kilometers northeast of Nkunda's headquarters in Rutshuru. The UN agreed to arrange talks between Congo president Joseph Kabila and Nkunda (who has demanded negotiations with the government). Direct talks with Kabila would be a diplomatic victory of Nkunda, since he has been portraying his movement as a nation-wide rebellion against the Kabila government.

November 28, 2008: Uganda reported that forces loyal to Laurent Nkunda took the town of Ishasha on the Uganda-Congo border. Nkunda's fighters also took control of a boat landing site on Lake Edward.

The government told the UN that it does not want the UN to send more Indian peacekeepers to the eastern Congo. The government did not expand on the request, but Indian troops have confronted charges of dealing in precious minerals, trading with rebel militias, and of sexually abusing Congolese women.

November 27, 2008: The UN reported that Congolese civilians "surrounded" a UN convoy in the town of Kibati and arrested 20 men the civilians claimed were rebels loyal to Laurent Nkunda. The UN forces said the men the crowd pulled from the convoy were in fact pro-government militiamen who were being taken to a UN-run demobilization camp.

France has asked the UN Security Council to allow UN peacekeeping troops to "more easily use force" in order to protect Congolese civilians in eastern Congo.

MONUC reported that up to 10,000 Congolese civilians fled to Uganda to escape fighting along the Congo-Uganda border between forces loyal to Laurent Nkunda and Congolese government forces.

November 25, 2008: Pro-government fighters reportedly looted a refugee camp near the town of Kibati (about ten kilometers from Goma).


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