Congo Brazzaville: Forever War


March 31, 2007: The bandits and die hard rebels continue to roam the bush. The peace agreement reached four years ago in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) did succeed in ending the civil war. The civil war lasted from 1998-2002, with most of the fighting taking place in the Pool region in the south. The peace agreement (signed in March 2003) was negotiated between the Congo (Brazzaville) government and the CNR (Committee for National Resistance), led by Frederic Bintsangou (aka Pasteur Ntoumi). The CNR is now a political party, not a guerrilla organization. However, the peace agreement did not completely end the violence. People in the Pool region complain of "insecurity" - meaning they fear physical violence. Many of Pool's "ninjas" (as the rebels called themselves) have not turned in their weapons. The government has touted the success of its disarmament and demobilization program, which was supposed to pay former guerrillas to surrender their guns. The idea was to take automatic weapons "out of circulation." However, it appears that some 40,000 smalls arms have not been turned in. Reports of banditry persist. The CNR had some authority over the insurgency (such as it was) but a lot of the "warfare" in pool involved local gangs who decided to "support the rebellion." The gangs have now returned to crime. But the gangs aren't the biggest problem. The Congo's government says that the Pool region is still suffering from the destruction wrought by the war. Transportation infrastructure is damaged - and the infrastructure in the Pool region was inadequate to begin with. The peace agreement was supposed to be backed by improved medical facilities in the region. The Congo's government acknowledges that Pool's medical facilities remain grossly inadequate. Wars everywhere are expensive, but wars in developing nations tend to utterly beggar the countries


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