Congo: Islamic Terrorists Shut Down

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February 13, 2014: The UN does not believe claims by the peacekeeping officials disputed recent claims by FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) that the Rwandan rebel group is disarming.  FDLR commanders made the claim and added that the group is willing to begin negotiations with the Rwandan government. Though an estimated 50 FDLR rebels have surrendered since November 2013, there is no evidence the FDLR as a whole is disarming or intends to disarm.  The FDLR still has an estimated 1,800 fighters. The UN has made it clear that the FDLR is a potential target for the Intervention Brigade (IBDE).  Rwanda continues to reject negotiations with the FDLR. The Rwandan government argues that the FDLR is commanded by genocidaires involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide-and the Rwandan government is right. The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo does stand by its mid-January assessment that around 8,000 militiamen have surrendered or disarmed since the Congolese Army (assisted by the IBDE) attacked and routed M23 rebels in early November 2013.

February 10, 2014: Soldiers operating near the Congo-Uganda border (North Kivu and Oriental provinces) overran a major ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) rebel base.  The Ugandan government thanked the Congolese government and claimed that the base was an ADF headquarters. The ADF reportedly had a headquarters at a base in the Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains. The ADF-NALU is an Islamist organization and has ties to Somalia’s Al Shabaab militant Islamist group. The army, supported by UN peacekeepers, began an offensive against the ADF-NALU on January 17.

Gunmen in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), assassinated a member of the country’s new transitional government. The UN called the assassination of Jean-Emmanuel Ndjaroua a criminal act and an attack on attempts to stabilize the situation in the CAR.

The government of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) is accused of torturing dissidents and conducting violent attacks on opposition political leaders. But now there is evidence that that the human rights situation in the Congo Republic is deteriorating.  Until recently, the UN regarded the Congo Republic as something of a success. But there have been several documented violent assaults on opposition leaders. The government is also accused of corrupting the judicial system and attacking trade unionists.

The war crimes trial of former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda continues in the Netherlands.  Prosecutors presented evidence that Ntaganda had ordered his militiamen to murder civilians and to rape woman.

February 9, 2014: Rwandan peacekeepers in Bangui, capital of the CAR, stopped a mob from lynching two Moslem civilians. The peacekeepers fired warning shots but the mob did not disperse. The peacekeepers then fired at the mob killed one person. The incident occurred in Miskine, a neighborhood on the north side of Bangui. Low-level sectarian violence between Christians and Moslems continues to occur in Bangui.  France has 1,600 peacekeepers in the CAR. The African Union has deployed an additional 5,000 soldiers. The Rwandan contingent serves with the AU force.

February 5, 2014: The Congolese government has officially approved an amnesty law for rebel groups.  Though rebel commanders can still face charges, the law provides amnesty for many rebel militia fighters who surrendered and disarmed. UN mediators had been putting pressure on the government to pass the law.  The law will apply to M23 rebels.

February 4, 2014: The FDLR is accused of recruiting child soldiers. The charge came amid new rumors that the UN’s Intervention Brigade (IBDE) was preparing to conduct operations against the FDLR.

January 31, 2014: The UN warned that M23 rebels could still regroup and reorganize. The warning was general but diplomats acknowledged it was directed at Rwanda.  Rwanda has been accused of supporting M23. On its part, Rwanda accused Congo of supporting the FDLR. Rwanda’s UN ambassador also accused the Congolese government of being crybabies. Congo called Rwanda arrogant.

January 28, 2014: It is believed that the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) force has grown in strength. The ADF-NALU rebels now deploy between 1,200 and 1,500 fighters. Previous estimates credited the ADF with 800 fighters. There is also evidence that Arabic speaking trainers have conducted combat training classes for the ADF-NALU at its bases in the Congo. The Congolese Army is currently conducting offensive operations against the ADF-NALU in North Kivu province (near the Ugandan border). The army has named the offensive operation “Sokola.” In Lingala that means “clean out.” The army has reportedly occupied Mwalika as well as Mumundioma (45 kilometers north-east of Beni). The Ugandan government has claimed that Mwalika serves as the ADF’s major training base and has referred to the town as an ADF sanctuary.  An ADF contingent was also reportedly seen operating near the town of Ituri, capital of Congo’s Orientale Province.

January 24, 2014: An explosion at a Congolese Army weapons dump near Mbujimayi (Kasai-Orientale province) killed at least ten people. Investigators claimed that the explosion was caused by a lightning strike.

January 21, 2014: Gunmen in the CAR ambushed a convoy and killed 22 Moslem civilians.  The gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades at the convoy then attacked with small arms and machetes. The attack

January 20, 2014:  CAR legislators voted to make the mayor of Bangui interim president. Catherine Samba-Panza will replace former Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia. Djotodia agreed to resign in early January.

The European Union plans to send an additional 1,000 soldiers to the CAR to reinforce the peacekeeping effort. Estonia is committed to sending troops with the new contingent. Six other countries, including Finland and Poland, are considering sending soldiers.

January 17, 20134: The U.S. condemned the murder of a leading Rwandan exile and stated that it is disturbed by charges that Rwandan president Paul Kagame is involved in violent attacks on his political opponents.

Tanzanian soldiers serving with the Intervention Brigade (IBDE) have deployed near the town of Beni (North Kivu province).  The Congolese Army is currently conducting an offensive operation in the area against the Ugandan ADF-NALU rebels (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda).  The UN said that the IBDE could assist the Congolese Army in the operation.

January 15, 2014:  The UN peacekeeping mission announced that one of its surveillance drones was wrecked when it ran off the runway at the airfield in Goma (eastern Congo).  The UN forces are using Falco unmanned aerial vehicles.

 

 

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