The UN is once again evaluating options to better use its UN peacekeeping force in Congo. The primary task of the peacekeepers is to improve security in eastern Congo and specifically address the dire situation in North Kivu province where many civilians are regularly killed and even more driven from their homes. Currently the peacekeeping force has about 16,000 soldiers and police. The situation in North Kivu is particularly complicated. Despite the arrival of the first contingents of the local EACRF (East African Community Regional Force) peacekeepers in eastern Congo, the March 23rd Movement (M23) rebel group continues to advance and seize territory near North Kivu’s capital, Goma. M23 now occasionally refers to itself as the Congolese Revolutionary Army, or CRA. In North Kivu and Ituri province the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist terror group continues its savage attacks.
May 11, 2023: Angola is sending soldiers to eastern Congo (North Kivu province) to help deal with the continued attacks by the M23 rebels. In 2022 Congo and Rwanda agreed to deescalate tensions created by the reemergence of the M23 rebel group. Angola acted as mediator in the agreement. The agreement included a commitment to defeat the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Hutu ethnic rebel group as well. Angola wants to keep these agreements active and sending troops to fight M23 is part of that.
March 10, 2023: Zambia reported a Chinese consortium will finance a major road improvement project. It will cost about $650 million to upgrade the highway linking the capital, Lusaka, to Ndola. Ndola is the major town in Zambia’s mineral-rich Copperbelt province, which borders Congo. The 330 kilometer highway is a major shipping route for mineral ore from Zambia to Tanzania. The Chinese consortium gets a 25 year concession to modernize the highway and then operate and maintain it.
March 9, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) Islamic terrorists killed at least 36 civilians in attacks on rural villages. The ADF men were armed with guns and machetes. Survivors said the killing was indiscriminate. The ADF also burned dozens of houses and went on to make additional attacks. ADF pledged allegiance to ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in 2019 and later described itself as ISCAP (ISILs Central African Province). The name changes nothing because ADF continues its terrorist operations, primarily in eastern Congo.
March 8, 2023: Congolese prosecutors have requested the six individuals accused of murdering Italian ambassador Congo Luca Attanasio be given the death penalty. Attanasio was murdered February 22, 2021. Two other men were murdered in the incident.
March 7, 2023: Despite an impending ceasefire, M23 rebels fought with Congolese Army (FARDC) soldiers in the North Kivu province (Mubambairo area).
March 6, 2023: Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi pressed French President Emmanuel Macron to impose economic and political sanctions on Rwanda. The two leaders met in the Congo capital. Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebel group. Outside investigators support the accusation. Rwanda denies the charge.
Russia and Malawi confirmed that Russia has donated 20,000 tons of fertilizer to Malawi. Russia is making an active effort to gain diplomatic support from sub-Saharan African nations.
March 5, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) the first contingent of Burundian Army troops arrived in North Kivu province. The Burundian contingent will serve with the EACRF (East African Community Regional Force) peacekeepers..
March 3, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) a Congolese soldier crossed the border into Rwanda and opened fire on Rwandan border guards, who fired back killing the Congolese interloper. The incident occurred near the Grande Barriere border post, which is near Goma, the South Kivu provincial capital..
February 28, 2023: In eastern Congo (South Kivu province) local Tutsis (also called Banyamulenge Tutsis) say they are threatened in their homes in South Kivu province. They claim other Congolese ethnic groups in the area are being physically threatened and attacked, with the goal of preventing them from registering to vote in the next election.
February 27, 2023: The UN Humanitarian Air Service announced a suspension of in North Kivu and northern neighbor Ituri provinces. . Last week an air service helicopter was attacked as it flew from Walikale to Goma. The helicopter was on a mission for the World Food Program.
February 25, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) M23 militia fighters are once again advancing towards the provincial capital Goma. Several hundred civilians fled this advance. Soldiers in the area were able to halt the M23 advance but not destroy the armed group. M23 has been doing this sort of thing for over a decade without actually occupying much territory. With only about a thousand or so gunmen, M23 goes raiding to obtain supplies.
February 23, 2023: In northwest Congo (Equateur province) across the border in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) the government is accused torture and electoral fraud. The July 2022 parliamentary elections witnessed “massive fraud.” President Denis Sassou Nguesso has been president of the Republic of Congo for almost 40 years. In several districts Nguesso's Labor Party won 100 per cent of the votes cast.
February 22, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) aid groups will need $2.25 billion in 2023 to help the 600,000 people displaced by fighting in the province. Country-wide, Congo has 5.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs), the largest number in Africa.
February 17, 2023: Congo's state audit agency (Inspection Generale des Finances) demanded that a Chinese investor provide an additional $17 billion in investments in Congo in order to fulfill China’s commitments in the 2008 infrastructure-for-minerals deal. That deal is being renegotiated. The Chinese embassy in Congo said the auditor’s report and demands were full of prejudice. Former Congolese president (and dictator) Joseph Kabila’s government made the deal, in exchange for a 68 percent stake in Sicomines (a cobalt and copper minerals joint venture with Gecamines, Congo's state mining company). One of the terms of the deal was that China’s Sinohydro Corp and the China Railway Group Ltd. would build roads and hospitals and other infrastructure. China got its minerals but did not build all the promised infrastructure.
February 15, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province), across the border in Rwanda, local soldiers exchanged fire with Congolese soldiers. Rwanda claimed 12 to 14 Congolese soldiers entered Rwanda and acted provocatively. After the gun battle with the Rwandan the Congolese soldiers withdrew.
February 14, 2023: An IMF (International Monetary Fund) team concluded a data collecting trip to Congo. The team concluded Congo had a 13 percent annual inflation rate in 2022. Higher food and energy costs drove the inflation. The IMF anticipates Congo’s GDP will grow by 8.5 percent in 2023 (spurred by increased mining production).
February 13, 2023: February 25, 2023: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) two separate attacks by armed Lendu tribesmen belonging to CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) militia killed 22 people.
Uganda's government recently decided to close the UN’s local operation investigating abuses against local civilians. The decision has sparked unexpectedly strong criticism from opposition political leaders and other aid groups. Moreover, the UN wants to keep the office open. Local opposition political parties are calling for the diplomatic and political isolation of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s government, which has been in power since 1986.
February 9, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) the Army gained control of the town of Sake (15 kilometers west of the provincial capital Goma). In the last two days several hundred refugees have passed through the town fleeing M23 rebels advancing towards Goma.
February 7, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) M23 rebels are accused of killing at least 171 civilians in the November 2022 massacres in Kishishe and Bambo. Previously it was reported that there were 131 dead. UN investigators said the victims were executed.
February 6, 2023: Following a meeting in Burundi, leaders of East African Community nations discussed ways to mediate the conflict in eastern Congo. EAC leaders called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and the withdrawal from eastern Congo of all foreign groups.
February 2, 2023: In the Congo capital Kinshasa, Pope Francis gave a speech urging that Congo’s 2023 elections be “free and fair.” He also said “The poison of greed has smeared its (Congo’s) diamonds with blood. This is a tragedy to which the economically more advanced world often closes its eyes, ears and mouth,”
January 31, 2023: Congolese President Tshisekedi met with Pope Francis in Kinshasa. Pope Francis is on an apostolic visit to Congo and South Sudan. About two-thirds of Congo’s 73 million people are Roman Catholics.
January 30, 2023: The UN estimates that violence in the eastern Congo that has killed several hundred civilians since mid-December 2022. At least 200 have been killed in attacks in Ituri province, the rest were in North Kivu province,
January 26, 2023: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF terrorists killed at least 23 people in an attack on a village. Investigators have confirmed that a January 15 ADF bomb attack on a church in North Kivu killed 14 and injured 63. The ADF is from Uganda and many of its members are Islamic terrorists who consider killing Christians a religious obligation to defend Islam.