Congo: A Vile Variety Of Viruses

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September 17, 2020: When Felix Tshisekedi became president of Congo in early 2019, his supporters began talking about a new security relationship with the U.S. As long as Joseph Kabila was president, the U.S. made it clear it would keep its distance from the Kabila government, its corruption and its oppressive use of security forces. A new security relationship with the U.S., however, has been slow in coming. That changed a bit in August 2020 when the U.S. agreed to train a small number of army officers in the continental U.S. However, the issue of Congolese officers (many of them generals) with records for committing atrocities and war crimes remains a huge hurdle. Nevertheless, U.S. and European military sources say that many younger Congolese want a closer security relationship with the U.S. It makes sense for many reasons. Communist China has an enormous financial and operational corporate presence in Congo. Chinese construction and mining companies often provide their own security teams that often operate like private armies. The armed Chinese are one more private army in Congo, but one that requires a major ally, like the United States, to expel. (Austin Bay)

September 15, 2020: In Northwestern Congo (Equateur province) the Mbandaka region reported 118 Ebola virus cases with 112 confirmed, six are probable with 48 people dead from the disease. Since June 2020 over 25,000 people in Equateur province have been vaccinated against Ebola. Though the outbreak is small, it refuses to disappear. Mbandaka, is a major port on the Congo River. On the other side of the river is the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Medical authorities on both sides of the river fear the disease will spread to the much smaller Congo Republic. Foreign health organizations are leading an effort to screen people traveling in the region. So far around one million travelers have been screened for Ebola virus at 46 strategic control points in the region.

September 13, 2020: In northeastern Congo (Ituri province) UN peacekeepers found evidence of two recent massacres. At least 23 people were killed in the Irumu region on September 8th. Two days later another 35 were killed in the same area. It is unclear who did the killing. The government blamed the Ugandan ADF Islamic rebel group. That has not been confirmed and it is also possible the murders resulted from more tribal fighting between local Hema and Lendu.

September 12, 2020: In eastern Congo (South Kivu province) over 50 people have died in a gold mine collapse triggered by mud slides from heavy rains.

September 11, 2020: In northwest Burundi (Kayanza province) the army claimed “unidentified attackers” killed six people, wounded two and kidnapped one. The attackers came from the Kibira forest then fled back into the jungle after the raid. Several rebel groups hide out in the Kibira forest. The current ruling party (National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Forces for the Defense of Democracy or CNDDFDD) used the Kibira as a base area when it launched its successful rebelliom.

September 10, 2020: Rwandan political opposition groups are accusing the government of kidnapping opposition political leader Paul Rusesabagina then bringing him to Rwanda for trial. Rusesabagina is now a Belgian citizen. In late August he disappeared while on a trip to the Persian Gulf city of Dubai. On August 31 the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced Rusesabagina was in custody in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

September 9, 2020: In Congo medical authorities reported a monkeypox outbreak in the has so far infected 141 people and killed ten. All 141 cases are confirmed cases. Monkeypox has symptoms similar to the small pox virus, though far less severe.

September 4, 2020: In northeastern Congo (Ituri province) 0ver 100 heavily-armed CODECO militiamen entered the city of Bunia to protest what they describe as mistreatment while engaging in peace talks. The militia force reportedly had a police escort provided by officers from Congo’s National Police force. CODECO is a predominantly Lendu tribesmen.

In Congo's capital, Kinshasa, police used tear gas to disperse some 100 demonstrators demanding the expulsion of Rwanda’s ambassador. They claim the ambassador denied Rwandan responsibility for the 1998 massacre of around 1,000 people that occurred in the early stages of the Great Congo War.

September 1, 2020: In Ugandan the government and the UN have locked down the Kyangwali refugee camp in order to stop a coronavirus outbreak. With over 120,000 refugees Kyangwali is one of the largest refugee camps in Africa.

August 31, 2020: In Rwanda local political opposition leader Paul Rusesabagina has been jailed in Kigali, the capital. Rusesabagina is credited with saving over 1,000 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide by turning the hotel he managed into a sanctuary. His actions were the basis for the Hollywood film, Hotel Rwanda. The Rwandan government accuses Rusesabagina of committing an array of crimes, including terrorism, murder and arson. Police claim Rusesabagina is the founder and leader of being the founder and leader of MRCD (Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change) which the government describes as a terrorist organization.

August 26, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF Islamic terrorists killed 20 civilians during attacks on three villages in outside the city of Beni.

August 22, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF Islamic terrorists attacked two villages and murdered 13 people. In both villages the attackers tied up the civilians before they murdered them.

August 19, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF Islamic terrorists killed five civilians and two soldiers in an attack along the Mbau-Kamango road near Beni.

In southeastern Congo (Lualaba province) Police are investigating the murder of a Chinese worker involved in building a cement and lime plant near the provincial capital Kolwezi. The Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mining concession is owned by China Molybdenum Co Ltd. The Chinese mines have caused problems. Provincial officials blame illegal mining efforts that put the illegal miners and concession employees at risk. Occasionally the illegal miners fight with mine company employees and security personnel. The Chinese are not popular in the province.

August 18, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) 500 members of the NDC-R (Nduma Defense of Congo—Renovated) rebel group surrendered north of the city of Goma. The NDC-R has two major factions. Both had been involved in illegal gold mining and gold smuggling.

In Rwanda investigators found two more mass graves containing the remains of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The grave sites are near the capital Kigali. At one site over 100 bodies have been exhumed.

August 17, 2020: In Northwestern Congo (Equateur province) local health workers combating the Ebola outbreak in the city Mbandaka went on strike over unpaid salaries.

August 15, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF Islamic terrorists are suspected of killing 12 people in three recent attacks near Beni. One of the attacks was on an army base near the village of Mwenda.

August 14, 2020: Burundi is demanding that Belgium and Germany pay Burundi $43 billion in reparations for harm and damage done during colonial rule.

 

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