Congo: Where Chaos Is King

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October 1, 2018: Congolese opposition leaders are warning their supporters and the UN that president Joseph Kabila intends to steal to national elections in December – despite Kabila’s promise to cede power after 17 years in office. His last two year as president have been illegal, according to Congo’s constitution. Congolese opposition parties are also warning that electronic voting machines are suspect and Kabila intends to hijack them. So far, seven major opposition political leaders have pledged that they will support a common candidate.

September 29, 2018: In eastern Congo (North Kivu Province) Ugandan ADF attacked a village, killed two civilians and kidnapped several women. ADF has been raiding and kidnapping frequently in the last few months. Elsewhere in the province, Rwandan FDLR Hutu rebels attacked an army checkpoint and killed two soldiers.

September 27, 2018: In eastern Congo (North Kivu Province) UN health workers trying to deal with an Ebola outbreak have suspended operations because of the growing rebel violence in the province. This means there is a greater risk of Ebola spreading to neighboring countries.

UN officials in the Central African Republic (CAR) said that the UN needs a greater “transparency” on the movement of weapons into the CAR. The UN has asked for help from China, the U.S. and Russia but diplomats and reports from the CAR make it clear that the biggest worry is Russia. Ironically, the CAR government favors an end to the arms embargo imposed on the country. So do European Union countries who provide military trainers to the CAR government. Why? Because the government’s forces need more weapons and the embargo has failed to prevent rebel militias from acquiring arms. The CAR government intends to train and arm 5,500 soldiers before 2023. Since 2013, 580,000 CAR citizens have fled to other countries and some 700,000 are internally displaced. (Austin Bay)

In southwest Congo (Kasai region) gunmen attacked three convents within a two week period. On September 6 gunmen attacked the convent in the town of Bena Mukangala. On September 14 they struck the convent in Kambote and on September 19 the convent in Malole.

September 24, 2018: In eastern Congo (North Kivu Province) Ugandan ADF attacked a village, killed a civilian and kidnapped 17 villagers.

September 23, 2018: Kenyan authorities have arrested two Ugandan policemen on charges they trespassed into Kenyan territory. The arrests come a week after Ugandan security forces arrested Kenyan fishermen are charges of illegal fishing. Both Kenya and Uganda have been cracking down on alleged illegal fishing on Lake Victoria.

In Congo president Kabila has called for UN peacekeepers to leave because after two decades the country still suffers organized violence from local and foreign armed groups. This includes rogue army units. Kabila wants the peacekeepers gone so it will be easier for him to rule as a dictator. The UN in general and neighboring nations, in particular, are not inclined to remove the peacekeepers and see the violence in Congo get worse and spread throughout Central Africa.

September 22, 2018: In eastern Congo (North Kivu Province) Ugandan ADF rebels attacked the city of Beni and killed 18 people.

September 20, 2018: A team of 100 Chinese combat engineers and medical service troops have deployed to Congo on a one-year peacekeeping mission. This is the 22nd iteration of a rotational deployment.

September 19, 2018: Congo’s election commission (CENI) has officially excluded two major opposition presidential candidates: Jean-Pierre Bemba and Moise Katumbi.

September 17, 2018: Western NGOs with people in Burundi accused Burundian government security forces and the “youth wing” of the governing party of murdering over 200 people since April 2018.

September 16, 2018: In southwest Congo (Kasai region) violence has not subsided. NGO personnel report that “banditry” (to include robbery and murder) is rampant in the region.

September 15, 2018: Congo has declared that cobalt is a strategic mineral and therefore subject to higher mining royalties. This declaration has been expected for several months. The biggest loser is China. Copper royalties will also rise.

September 12, 2018: Congo accused Ugandan security forces of killing four Congolese fishermen on Lake Edward.

September 9, 2018: The Ugandan government accused foreign power of attempting to interfere in Ugandan domestic politics. The accusation came less than a week after the United State suspended military aid to Uganda. At issue are allegations that the government tortured two members of parliament; Robert Kyagulanyi (a performer whose stage name is Bobi Wine) and a representative Francis Zaake.

September 7, 2018: Rebels in the CAR kidnapped several people from a displaced person camp in the town of Bria. The victims (most of them women) were at a camp called PK3. Bria is 600 kilometers from Bangui, the CAR’s capital.

September 6, 2018: Zimbabwe announced it will donate ten white rhinos to Congo to help restore Congo’s white rhino population. So far Congo has not said where the rhinos will be freed. Currently, Congo’s white rhinos live in Garamba National Park.

September 5, 2018: In eastern Congo (North Kivu Province) two South African peacekeepers were wounded in a rebel militia ambush near the city of Beni.

 

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