Congo: The Triangle Of Death

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December 8, 2014: The Ugandan rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) militia is believed responsible for killing nearly 40 civilians in North Kivu province in the last two days. ADF has killed over 250 people in this area in the last two months and the locals are desperate for some help from the government or peacekeepers to stop the violence.

President Kabila has formed a new government and included ministers from groups that he has had problems with. This is apparently part of an effort to gain support for his effort to run for president again despite the constitution forbidding it.

December 7, 2014: The Rwandan Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group has failed to completely disarm. Once again UN peacekeepers are threatening to use the Intervention Brigade (IBDE) in an offensive operation to enforce UN orders. FDLR insists that the government has failed to follow-through on promises to house and feed demobilized FDLR fighters. There is recent evidence supporting the FDLR claim that Congolese-run demobilization camps were little more than prisons. The Congo wants to send the FDLR fighters back to Rwanda -- repatriation is the term. However, many FDLR fighters contend (with reason) that returning to Rwanda is a death sentence. The Rwandan government argues that they participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide (and many original FDLR fighters did).  An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 fighters remain in the field, most of them in eastern Congo. The Rwandan government insists that the UN and Congo end the FDLR insurgency. In late November, the Rwandan government claimed that the FDLR was re-grouping in eastern Congo.

December 6, 2014: Fourteen people died and another ten were wounded in sectarian violence in the Central African Republic (CAR).  Several hundred Christian tribesmen sought shelter in a church in the town of Bambari (north central CAR). The Christians said Moslems attacked their homes after a Moslem man was slain in retaliation for a shooting by Seleka rebels. The rebels killed a soldier who was escorting a member of the new transitional parliament. The government is pleading for the Christian and Moslem communities to end the cycle of violence.

December 5, 2014: The UN is prepared to reduce the size of its Congo operation if the government demonstrates that it is able to keep the peace. The UN statement, however, comes at an awkward moment. North and South Kivu provinces have witnessed an increase in attacks on civilians. Over 200 civilians were killed in October and November. Most of the attacks have been attributed to the Ugandan rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) militia.

The CAR now has one of the world's largest refugee problems. Renewed sectarian violence has produced over 850,000 refugees and 187,000 have fled to neighboring countries. Most stayed in the CAR, many in camps around the capital, Bangui. In December 2013 CAR had an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 refugees (internally displaced people, IDPs).

December 4, 2014: The government is ready to begin repatriating former M23 rebel fighters from neighboring countries where they are currently in demobilization camps. Around 1450 M23 fighters are in camps in Uganda. Several hundred more are in Rwanda. Congo wants the fighters to return without their weapons. The rebels have been promised amnesty in exchange for promises to forgo any future rebellion and anti-government action.

December 3, 2014:  UN and European diplomats are worried that President Joseph Kabila is intending to remain in office after 2016. According to the 2006 constitution, the president is term-limited. The idea is to prevent a return to a “strong man” dictatorship.

November 30, 2014: A Christian anti-balaka militia umbrella organization in the CAR has told the government that it is ending its role as a coordinator for armed groups and will become a political party. The new party name will be the Central African Party for Unity and Development.

November 28, 2014:  The Twa Pygmy tribe in Katanga province is once again accusing the Luba tribe of attacking and pillaging its villages. The Luba are Bantus. Currently there are around 77,000 refugees in northeastern Katanga and the majority of them are Twa. So far 1,737 violent incidents have occurred in central  and northern Katanga, the majority in the Manono, Mitwaba and Pweto area (the “triangle of death”, or “Pweto triangle”). Violent incidents include torture, forced labor, theft (looting), extortion, rape and arson.

November 26, 2014: Congolese soldiers arrested six Ukrainian UN peacekeepers in Goma (North Kivu province). The peacekeepers were accused of stealing Congolese Army (FARDC) uniforms.

November 25, 2014: The U.S. government urged the Congolese Army to do more to protect vulnerable civilians in eastern Congo. The Americans believe the latest attacks and atrocities are the work of the Ugandan ADF terrorist group.

November 24, 2014: During November 20 - 22 ADF rebels killed 100 people in a series of attacks around the town of Beni (North Kivu province). ADF fighters using guns and machetes attacked several small villages near Beni. In one instance the ADF attackers wore Congolese Army uniforms. Survivors said that the ADF rebels sought out and murdered people who had given the government information about ADF whereabouts.

November 23, 2014: Opposition political leaders from ten political parties in Burundi have asked the country’s national election commission to suspend voter registration. The opposition leaders say that the governing party is already engaged in massive electoral fraud. Many of the voter registrars belong to the governing CNDD-FDD party.  The government is also trying to intimidate the opposition by threats of violence.

November 21, 2014: How do the CAR’s Seleka rebels fund their organization? Selling gold is one way. A Seleka militia unit has controlled the gold mine near the village of Ndassima since 2012. The militia receives monthly “protection payments” from mine workers and those who provide services to the miners.

November 20, 2014: A Christian anti-balaka militia fought with a UN peacekeeping force in the town of Cantonnier (CAR, near Cameroon border). At least six people were killed and ten wounded in the skirmish. The fight began when UN peacekeepers tried to disarm the militia.

November 18, 2014:  Congolese police in Kinshasha appear to have killed 51 young gang members and kidnapped another 33. Between November 2013 and February 2014 a police anti-gang program either killed or “disappeared” suspected gang members.

November 14, 2014: Attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) are increasing once again. The LRA has killed 22 people in 2014. It has abducted 432 people this year. The LRA fighters tend to use abductees as supply bearers (porters) or sex slaves.

 

 

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