Congo: No Love For The Chinese



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

January 22, 2011: The government has been insisting that UN peacekeepers leave sometime this year, but UN observers and diplomats (most from the European Union) insist the Congo is not ready for a complete UN pullout. The government simply cannot handle the multiple security problems in the huge, demographically complex country. Moreover, the Congolese Army is a mess. The militias which were supposed to be incorporated into the army have become factions within the army. The National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) militia is proving to be a particularly tough militia for the army to absorb, The CNDP is rogue General Laurent Nkunda's old outfit. Nkunda remains in custody in Rwanda, though the Congolese government insists it wants to try him. Militiamen from the CNDP and several of their officers have made their gripes about the Congolese Army quite public. Over the last six months former CNDP officers have lodged complaints about the army's failure to give them equivalent ranks. They contend this is a breach of the various peace agreements which led them to lay down their arms. UN observers report that some elements of the CNDP –which claim they have integrated into the army-- are really acting as separate militias and use the peace agreement as political camouflage. Recently, a former CNDP leader (still in the Congo) said that he is very concerned about Tutsi refugees in Uganda and Rwanda. He says that his troops expect the Congolese Tutsis to be repatriated to the Congo. The CNDP originally organized as a Congolese Tutsi militia. It is possible the CNDP is on the verge of officially resurrecting itself.

January 21, 2011: The government, with UN help, are prosecuting a Congolese Army lieutenant colonel with leading a mass rape in early January, of over 50 women in the village of Fizi in South Kivu province.

January 13, 2011: Several soldiers had been arrested on charges of rape (in eastern Congo in early January).

December 31, 2010: A Wikileaks cable from 2007 indicates that a Maltese company has been illegally mining uranium in the Congo. The company extracts uranium ore along with copper and cobalt deposits from mines in Katanga province. The copper and cobalt are shipped out of the country and the uranium is subsequently extracted. The cable alleges Congolese government officials are paid off to the look the other way.

December 18, 2010: Police broke up a riot by soccer fans in the town of Lubumbashi (Katanga province). The fans were angry when their team lost a close match. What's truly interesting about this is that the crowd thought the Japanese referee was Chinese and yelled that the Chinese referee should go home. The rioters subsequently attacked several Chinese owned stores in Lubumbashi. China has signed agreements with the government to provide infrastructure (roads, power lines, etc) in exchange for Congolese natural resources. Many Congolese believe the agreement is a return to colonialism. The rioters may be an ominous warning to the Chinese.




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