Congo: Warlords Made To Pay

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March 9, 2014: The UN now plans to have AU (African Union) peacekeeping forces in CAR (Central African Republic) switch to UN control in September 2014. The AU force currently has around 6,000 soldiers. The UN is seeking an additional 6,000 soldiers from African nations, to bring the force to 12,000. Between 1,600 and 2,000 French soldiers are also deployed in the CAR.

March 7, 2014: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has convicted Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his involvement in the February 2003 assault on Bogoro (Ituri province).  Katanga commanded the Patriotic Resistance Forces (FRP) militia.

South Africa has expelled three Rwandan diplomats it contends were involved in the March 4th raid on the home of exiled Rwandan general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Rwanda immediately retaliated by expelling six South African diplomats. Rwanda accused South Africa of harboring individuals responsible for planning terrorist attacks in Rwanda.

March 4, 2014: The Congolese Army said it intends to attack the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) militia positions in North Kivu province. South African police reported that armed gunmen attacked the Johannesburg home of exiled Rwandan general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who is a political opponent of Rwandan president Paul Kagame. Nyamwasa survived an alleged assassination attempt in 2010.

March 3, 2014: MONUSCO (UN Stabilization Mission in the Congo) peacekeepers and Congolese soldiers are pursuing a group of Ugandan rebels belonging to the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda). The UN and Congolese troops attacked the ADF near the town of Beni (North Kivu province).  Six UN peacekeepers from Nepal patrolling the town of Beni were wounded when two men on a motorcycle threw a hand grenade at the peacekeepers. The UN force involved in the operations includes elements of the Intervention Brigade (IBDE).

March 2, 2014: Two UN attack helicopters (likely belonging to the IBDE’s helicopter element) attacked an ADF base camp near Saha Sitisa (northeast of Beni). The army began a series of anti-ADF operations in mid-January.

February 28, 2014: Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Angola are conducting a joint border inspection in the Pangui region. The countries intend to draw a definitive boundary in order to avoid future armed incidents between security forces.

February 26, 2014: Patrice Ngaissona, a leader in the Central African Republic's anti-Balaka militia movement and accused of inciting violence, was arrested in the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).  French and AU peacekeepers in the CAR tried to arrest Ngaissona in mid-February.

February 25, 2014:  MONUSCO reported that it is using its surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor movements of the FDLR (Rwandan Hutu rebel militia). The surveillance drones are based in Goma (North Kivu province).

February 20, 2014: Congolese police in the town of Bukavu (South Kivu province) broke up a political rally for Vital Kamerhe, a critic of Congolese president Joseph Kabila who has emerged as one of Kabila’s main political rivals. Kamerhe heads the Union for the Congolese Nation party. He was at one time an ally of Kabila. Kamerhe has accused Kabila of wanting to change the constitution and electoral procedures so he can remain in power.

February 19, 2014: The UN is deploying an additional special operations infantry company to Katanga province. At the moment the UN has 450 to 500 soldiers in Katanga. However, MONUSCO believes it must counter the attacks by the Kata-Katanga (Bakata Katanga) separatist rebel group. Kata-Katanga has launched several raids on the provincial capital, Lubumbashi. The reinforcing company is an Egyptian special forces unit with 120 troops. The UN may position the company north of Lubumbashi, in the Manono-Mitwaba-Pweto triangle area. The area is known as the Triangle of Death.

February 17, 2014; Ugandan troops operating in the Central African Republica may have killed LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) deputy commander Okot Odhiambo in October 2013. An LRA defector told the Ugandan soldiersthat Odiambo was wounded in an ambush on October 27 and subsequently died of his wounds. The ICC has indicted Odhimabo on numerous charges of crimes against humanity.

February 16, 2014: France will reinforce its 1,600 peacekeepers in the CAR with another 300 to 400 soldiers in the coming weeks.

February 15, 2014: AU confirmed that its peacekeepers in CAR have begun arresting anti-Balaka militia leaders. The anti-Balaka are primarily Christian militias which were organized to combat attacks by Moslem Seleka rebel groups and tribal militias. However it appears that some anti-Balaka groups of launching indiscriminate attacks.

February 14, 2014:  The UN s investigating claims that in North Kivu province a militia group burned down three villages and murdered 70 people in early February. The militia group has not been identified but local sources claim that the bodies are buried in a mass grave.

The Congolese government claimed that its forces have killed at least 230 members of the ADF-NALU in operations that began in January.

February 10, 2014: The ICC trial of former Congolese M23 militia commander Bosco Ntaganda has begun. Ntaganda faces five counts of crimes against humanity and 13 counts of war crimes. The criminal charges stem from investigations of Ntaganda’s operations in Ituri province in 2002-2003. At that time he was a senior commander in the Union of Congolese Patriots militia.

February 7, 2014: Peacekeepers from Chad escorted several thousand Moslems from Bangui (the capital of the CAR). The Moslems claim they are threatened by anti-Balaka militia groups. Meanwhile, the French government announced that it will continue to keep its peacekeeping contingent in the CAR.

February 1, 2014: People in North Kivu province are complaining that the government and MONUSCO have not done enough to stop illegal roadblocks. Various militia groups have used roadblocks as a source of income. Truck drivers and even pedestrians must pay the militia to pass. However, there are also reports that soldiers have run the same scam. The going rate for one person is around 100 Congolese francs (about ten cents).

January 31, 2014: Burundian opposition leaders are warning that political situation in the country is once again deteriorating. The mandate for the UN office monitoring political reforms in Burundi comes up for renewal in March 2014.

 

 

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