Congo: Rwanda Rebels Refuse To Retire

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

May 1, 2009: The UN continues to conduct “follow operations” in North Kivu province to prevent the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) from reassembling. Congolese Army units are participating in the sweeps. Results are decidedly mixed. Aid workers in the area have called the UN-Congolese operation a failure. Refugee agencies report that at least 100,000 people have been forced to temporarily flee the fighting. There are also reports of FDLR militiamen murdering civilians. This echoes reports of reprisal attacks by the FDLR in early April. FDLR militiamen blamed Congolese civilians for giving away their hiding places when the Rwandan Army and the Congolese Army were conducting their joint offensive in January and February 2009 against the FDLR (which are the remnants of the Hutu mass murderers who fled Rwanda in 1994).

April 28, 2009: UN commanders are once again asking the Security Council to provide MONUC (UN operation in Congo) another 3,000 troops, in addition to the current force of 17,000 soldiers in the Congo. Operations in North Kivu aren’t the only reason. MONUC has promised to position more peacekeepers in northeastern Congo, where Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) cadres are still active. Meanwhile, an FDLR faction appears to be in the vicinity of Kirumba (North Kivu province), intending to attack the town.

April 27, 2009: FDLR militiamen have attacked several commercial vehicles on roads leading to the city of Goma (North Kivu province). Likely the militiamen are after supplies, but in the aftermath of the Congo-Rwanda offensive they also want to send the political message that they have not been defeated.

April 18, 2009: FDLR militiamen attacked the town Luofo (North Kivu province). They burned down 250 homes and killed seven people. Five of the dead were children. Luofo is fairly large, with a population of 14,000. The UN responded to the attack by sending a detachment of peacekeepers.

The UN mission in Congo, or MONUC, early Saturday sent peacekeeping troops to Luofo and the Red Cross dispatched a team to bury the victims.

April 17, 2009: FDLR militiamen attacked several villages near the town of Lubero (North Kivu province, north of the capital, Goma). The FDLR struck the towns of Kirumba, Kanyabonga, and Kayna.

 

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