Is the UN’s Congo Intervention Brigade (IBDE) going regional? Earlier this month the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) signed an agreement with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to create links between MONUSCO, the IBDE and various ICGLR security mechanisms. The ICGLR includes Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
June 15, 2014: The Congolese government claimed that around 200 militiamen in the Democratic Forces for the Liberations of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group have voluntarily disarmed. Based on current estimates, 200 fighters is around 15 percent of the FDLR’s total strength (1,400 to 1,500 militiamen). The disarmed militiamen are now in UN-run camps in eastern Congo. The main camp is located in Kanyabayonga (North Kivu province). UN observers reported that most of the fighters in the camp are less than 20 years old, which means they were born after the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The FDLR was founded by Rwandan Hutus who orchestrated and participated in the genocide.
June 13, 2014: Congolese Army and Rwandan Army soldiers once again exchanged gunfire. This is the third straight day of reports of hostile fire. The exchanges included rockets. Observers claimed that they heard artillery and heavy machine guns. The Congolese government claimed that it has ordered Congolese units in the area to exercise restraint.
June 12, 2014: Congolese Army and Rwandan Army units fired at one another across their border. The gunfire included mortar fire and an exchange of heavy artillery (this usually means tube artillery). The artillery exchange occurred in an area some 18 kilometers north of Goma (capital of Congo’s North Kivu province).
Central African Republic (CAR) wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes committed since 2012 during outbreaks of inter-communal violence in her country. CAR wants the ICC to investigate crimes committed by Seleka rebels (who are predominantly Moslem) and Christian self-defense militias (anti-balaka militias).
June 11, 2014: Congolese and Rwandan government officials accused each other of ordering their militaries to launch cross-border attacks. The accusations were made after Congo claimed that a Rwandan Army unit crossed the border into North Kivu province and kidnapped a Congolese soldier. Both countries said that their militaries had fired across the border and the shooting escalated form light infantry weapons to heavy weapons. The shooting began in the early morning hours and ended by 8 AM local time.
Several days of on and off fighting in the CAR between Moslem militiamen and a group of Christian tribesmen left 23 dead. The fighting occurred around the town of Bambari and the village of Liwa. Bambari is in central CAR and Liwa is about ten kilometers away. Moslem militiamen claimed that Christians killed two Moslem men in Liwa. Militiamen responded by attacking Christians in Liwa and Bambari with grenades. The militiamen then burned over 100 homes.
June 9, 2014: Peacekeepers in CAR reported limited success in a voluntary disarmament operation in Bangui. In the capital’s PK-5 district (regarded as a Moslem neighborhood), peacekeepers collected 69 grenades, 15 guns and 200 assorted munitions. They also collected 13 bows and 62 arrows. In Boy-rabe (Christian area) the peacekeepers collected three mortars, three grenades, three rockets and “several dozen” assorted munitions.
June 8, 2014: The UN is reinforcing South Kivu province after group of men raided a village and killed 38 people and left another 15 wounded. On June 7 a group armed with guns and knives attacked the Bafuliru tribal village of Mutarule (50 kilometers south of the capital, Bukavu). The South Kivu provincial government said that it believes cattle rustling precipitated the assault on the village. Members of the Barundi-Banyamulenge tribe and the Bafuliru tribe in the area are involved in a violent dispute over cattle ownership.
June 6, 2014: Over 250 prisoners escaped from a Congolese jail in Bukavu (capital, South Kivu province) after prisoners overpowered a guard. Three people were killed in the prison break.
June 5, 2014: Uganda claims that the civil war in South Sudan is causing a decline in Uganda’s GDP growth rate by .1 (one-tenth) of a percent, dropping it from 5.8 percent (2013 growth rate) to 5.7 percent this year.
The Congo government once again accused Rwanda of harboring M23 rebel commanders who are wanted for war crimes. Rwanda has denied the charge.
Burundi and Georgia have both announced that they will send more peacekeepers to the CAR. This will include a Georgian infantry company (140 soldiers) while Burundi said that it is prepared to deploy another battalion of 450 soldiers plus 280 additional police officers. The Burundian forces will serve with the MISCA peacekeeping contingent. The UN plans to take over the MISCA operation in September 2014.