Congo: UN Fixing To Leave

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April 29, 2014: The UN Security Council has directed MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo) civilian administrators and staff to prepare to end the mission next year and transition into a much smaller support, training and governmental advisory operation. The number of military personnel and police committed to that future operation has yet to be determined.  

April 28, 2014: Conflict between Christian and Moslem tribes in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues. A convoy of 18 trucks organized by the CAR government and protected by African soldiers serving with the MISCA peacekeeping operation moved an estimated 1,300 Moslems from a refugee camp near the capital, Bangui, to a safe-zone in northern CAR. The Moslems feared attacks by Christian anti-balaka (machete) militias.

April 27, 2014: The CAR government reported that anti-balaka militia groups have trapped around 10,000 Moslems in the town of Boda (southern CAR).

April 25, 2014: Former members of the Seleka rebel movement in the CAR demanded that the country be partitioned into Christian and Moslem areas. Hard-core guerrillas in Seleka were from predominantly Moslem tribes in the northern CAR.  The Seleka group advocating partition is based in the town of Bambari (north central CAR). Bambari has become a sanctuary for Moslems displaced in the south. The group wants to call the new country the Republic of Northern Central Africa.  However, several Christian tribes also live in the north. They oppose partition.  These tribes also claim that Chad and Sudan are pushing partition because they would be able to control the new country. Partition would require mass population displacement. Several thousand Moslem tribals live in the capital, Bangui, particularly in an area known as PK-5. Moslems accused Christian militias of trying to drive them out of Bangui. The CAR has a population of 4.7 million people. Around 80 to 85 percent of the people are Christians or animists.

April 23, 2014: MONUSCO announced that it will provide financial assistance, logistical support and technical assistance in Congo’s upcoming elections.  The UN does not want a repeat of the violence which occurred during the November 2011 presidential election when 41 people were killed and over 700 were injured.

April 22, 2014:  A coalition unit of African soldiers operating in the CAR captured a low-level Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader.  The unit also rescued 10 people the LRA band had kidnapped. The captured LRA officer was identified as a lieutenant. He was captured after a firefight between his band and the anti-LRA troops. Uganda is the lead nation in the anti-LRA coalition. The U.S. military recently reinforced its anti-LRA contingent. Around 250 American personnel are currently engaged in the anti-LRA operation. The U.S. also committed four CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, two C-130 transports and two KC-135 tankers to the anti-LRA effort.

April 21, 2014: The Ugandan military claimed that it has evidence that Jamil Mukulu, the senior commander of the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) has fled from his fortified headquarters camp in the eastern Congo. UN peacekeepers, including elements of the Intervention Brigade, supported a Congolese Army offensive against the ADF-NALU. The offensive began in March and continued through mid-April. The offensive destroyed seven ADF-NALU bases in Congo’s Virunga National Park. The ADF headquarters camp in Medina proved to be a five-square kilometer facility with bunkers, underground storage sites for weapons and supplies, and numerous observation posts.  Fighting in the Medina area was particularly intense. Resistance was reported as late as April 16.

April 17, 2014: Burundi expelled a senior UN official after the UN Mission in Burundi  (BNUB) charged that the government was providing the youth wing (youth league) of its party with weapons. In the past the government has used the youth wing as a street militia to threaten and attack political opponents.

April 14, 2014: The Rwandan government arrested three people on charges of planning terror attacks in Rwanda and conducting other subversive activities.  One man was a musician, one a radio commentator, and the third was also a former Hutu guerrilla fighter who had gone through the demobilization program. Government officials claimed that police had seized a stash of hand grenades during one of the arrests.

April 9, 2014: Mai-Mai Kata Katanga separatist guerrillas attacked the village of Katende (southwest of the town of Pweto in Katanga province).

April 5, 2014: UN peacekeeping officers have told investigators that they believe Rwanda sent around 900 soldiers into Congo in August 2013. The Rwanda force supplied March 23 Movement (M23) guerrillas with weapons and ammunition. The Rwandan government continues to deny it provided M23 with any support. UN officers contend that the support provided by Rwanda in August 2013 gave M23 the ability to stall a UN-led attack. In October-November 2013 a second UN-Congolese Army offensive shattered M23.

April 3, 2014: Chad announced it will withdraw its 850 peacekeepers from the CAR. Chadian soldiers have been accused by Christian tribes in the CAR of supporting Moslem militias and the Seleka rebel movement. Chad is a Moslem nation. Chad’s contingent served with the African Union’s MISCA operation.

 

 

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