Congo: Rapists Walk And Killers Go Stealthy

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May 15, 2014: Earlier this month M23 rebels who fled to Uganda agreed to accept the Congolese government’s amnesty proposal. So far some 1,300 former M23 rebels have signed the amnesty documents. By accepting amnesty, the rebels agree to never again fight against the Congolese government.  The former rebels are being held in a Ugandan military camp.

May 14, 2014: Security in Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga province continues to deteriorate. Earlier this year UN observers warned that militia attacks in Katanga were increasing in number and intensity. Since January Katanga has endured at least 35 Mai-Mai militia attacks. Attackers pillaged and burned several villages. Most of the attacks took place in the Kalemie, Manono, Mitaba, Pweto, and Moba regions.

May 13, 2014: The Uganda-led African Union Regional Task Force (AURTF) is intensifying operations against Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remnants in the Central African Republic (CAR). Despite numerous recent reports that LRA senior commander Joseph Kony is holed up in the Sudan-occupied Kafia Kingi region of South Sudan, the AURTF is concentrating on the CAR because it believes a majority of the LRA’s fighters are there.  The UN estimates that the LRA still has a force of 500 people. However, that figure likely includes abducted women and children who serve as slaves (food and weapons bearers).

May 11, 2014: A wanted former Congo rebel leader was killed in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Udjani Mangbama at one time commanded a rebel Congolese militia in Equateur province. He had been convicted of crimes against humanity in absentia. Republic of Congo security police reported that a small force of rebels or bandits attacked a police checkpoint near the village of Owando (500 kilometers north of Brazzaville) after the men refused to identify themselves. Four policemen were killed along with Mangbama seven other attackers.

May 10, 2014: The government of Sudan (Khartoum) accused Uganda to supporting Sudanese rebel organizations, particularly the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). The SRF is an umbrella organization which includes the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).  Uganda denied the accusation. Uganda counter-claimed that Sudan has renewed its support for the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).

Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) announced that they have a new senior commander, General Joseph Zindeko. Around 500 Seleka fighters met in the town of Ndele (northern CAR) and selected Zindeko. Seleka have also been seen reorganizing near the town of Bambari (central CAR area).  Seleka has said that it intends to resist Christian anti-balaka militias.

May 7, 2014: The UN reported that the Ugandan rebel Lords resistance Army (LRA) conducted 65 attacks during the first three months of 2014. The attacks occurred in the Congo and Central African Republic.  The UN also claimed that Joseph Kony, the LRA’s senior commander, is now hiding in the Kafia Kingi region of South Sudan.  The Kafia Kingi enclave is disputed territory and is currently occupied by Sudanese security forces (Khartoum). Kafia Kingi is adjacent to Sudan’s South Darfur state. Sudan rejected the UN accusation. Meanwhile, the African Union Regional Task Force (AURTF) continues to conduct anti-LRA operations in South Sudan, the CAR and Congo. African nations have committed 5,000 soldiers to the task force. The Ugandan Army (supported by American Special Forces) continues to lead the overall operation.  UN peacekeepers in the Congo also provide the AURTF with support and intelligence. AU and UN officials believe that several LRA regulars have moved into the CAR’s chaotic north-eastern area.

May 6, 2014: UN criticized the ruling of a Congolese court which only convicted two soldiers of rape while releasing 13 senior officers. During November 2012 at least 97 women and 33 girls were raped in the town of Minova (eastern Congo).

May 5, 2014:  The medical NGO, Doctors Without Borders, has suspended major clinic operations for at least one week in the Central African Republic (CAR). The organization will continue to provide emergency care. Doctors Without Borders said it is taking the action because the CAR government has failed to condemn and take appropriate security measures after 16 people were killed at the clinic in the town of Boguila (northern CAR) on April 26. At the moment the government claims the attack was an armed robbery.  Doctors Without Borders blames the attack on rebel Seleka fighters (ie, Muslim Seleka fighters) who have regrouped in northern CAR.

May 4, 2014: The U.S. told Congo that it must respect constitutional term limits imposed on the president. The U.S. made that statement after supporters of Congolese president Joseph Kabila suggested he would run for a third term.

May 3, 2014: The Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FDLR), continues to operate in the eastern Congo’s North Kivu province. Identifying FDLR fighters can be difficult. However, Congolese have given the UN a tip. The locals claim the FDLR fighters prefer to wear gum boots (gum rubber boots). FDLR fighters also tend to carry pangas (a long knife).  The UN also noted that local officials in Katanga province believe that on April 5 FDLR fighters participated in an attack on a convoy near the town of Kabulo in Katanga’s Kalemie territory. FDLR men are adopting this stealthy demeanor to avoid retribution from the growing number of militias and regular troops looking for them. 

 

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