Congo: No Reinforcements For Failure



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

December 19, 2008: More Ugandan troops, apparently another infantry battalion, has crossed the border and joined several other battalions that are seeking out the remnants of the Ugandan LRA rebels. The LRA rebel has been declared a war criminal by the international court, and Congo is tolerating the Ugandan troops on their territory. There are some Congolese troops in the area (the Garamba forest), but the Ugandan troops are doing most of the work.

The UN appears unable to get more African or European peacekeepers to serve in the Congo. The peacekeeping effort in eastern Congo has gone on for years, and seems no closer to a resolution. This is discouraging nations that usually contribute to peacekeeping operations. There is also anger at the UN for not allowing peacekeepers to act more aggressively against those pro and anti-government forces that break the peace in the area.

December 16, 2008: The UN accuses the Congolese government and government of Rwanda of supporting "armed groups" in eastern Congo. The UN believes the current Rwandan government exchanges intelligence information with General Laurent Nkunda and that the Congolese government has links to several militias. The Mai-Mai militias in several areas openly call themselves Congolese government allies. The trick is moving past sharing information and establishing alliances to financing operations and supplying arms. That becomes murkier. The UN asserts that some militias have cooperated with the Congolese government in exchange for ammunition supplies.

December 12, 2008:  France believes that no European Union soldiers should be sent to Congo to reinforce UN peacekeeping forces, and that African soldiers should be sent instead. France believes that Angola has troops it could commit. However, General Laurent Nkunda regards Angola as an ally of the Congolese government (which it is). France is willing to allow the EU to provide logistical support.

December 10, 2008: Talks between the government and General Laurent Nkunda's representatives were suspended in Nairobi, Kenya. They are scheduled to resume December 17. Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) now portrays itself as a nation-wide rebel movement, meaning it does not want the talks with the government to be "confined to eastern Congo." This has become a political stumbling block in the negotiations. The government wants to deal with Nkunda and the eastern Congo. As it is, the government has already given Nkunda part of what he wants. Nkunda demanded that other rebel groups be excluded from the direct talks and he got that. The government then said it would deal with "all (other) armed groups" separately. Nkunda intends to make the CNDP a national coalition. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Is serving as the U.N.'s chief mediator in talks between the Congolese government and the CNDP. The African Union also has representatives at the negotiations.


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