Congo Watch: October 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

DR Congo troops to Uganda border

"We have transported 300 Congolese soldiers to Aba in our helicopters and another 200 are on the way there by road," United Nations military spokesman Thierry Provendier said, Reuters reports.

The force will number 1,000 men by the end of this week, he said.

Full report (BBC) October 4, 2005.

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UN airlifts Congo troops to deal with Uganda's LRA rebels

The U.N. has airlifted several hundred Congo government soldiers to a remote corner of the country to deal with heavily armed Ugandan LRA rebels who have entered and refuse to disarm, a U.N. spokesman said on Tuesday.

The helicopters flew the troops to Aba, an isolated town near the Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern border with Uganda and Sudan, U.N. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thierry Provendier said in Kinshasa.

Full report Kinshasa, Oct 4 (Reuters)

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UN mission in DR Congo has said it intends to use all means necessary to drive out the LRA

LRA rebels are suspected of ambushing a civilian pick up truck in north east Uganda, shooting the driver and two passengers, and killing a fourth with an axe, repots the BBC October 4, 2005.

Note, the report states "DR Congo has warned Uganda not to try to disarm an LRA force in its territory" - and ends by saying "the UN mission in DR Congo has said it intends to use all means necessary to drive out the LRA group."

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Ugandan troops amass at border of DR Congo

From Michael at Uganda-CAN October 3, 2005:

Thousands of Ugandan troops have begun gathering at the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the West Nile region of Uganda, purportedly in preparation to engage Lord's Resistance Army forces across the border, reports AllAfrica. A contingent of approximately 400 LRA forces crossed into Congo over a week ago, and requests from UN and Congolese officials for the LRA to disarm have been ignored.

Although Uganda's Minister of Defense last week claimed that Uganda would under no circumstances enter the DRC, President Museveni has this week stated that if UN and Congolese troops do not take immediate and aggressive action, Uganda's military would be sent across the border. Uganda played a central role in destabilizing eastern Congo during the civil war that ended in 2004, and many fear that if Ugandan forces cross the border again, more chaos could ensue. Several small armed insurgencies still plague the region today.

Uganda-CAN urges the Government of Uganda and UN to delay attacks on the group until robust efforts have been made to open negotiations with the rebels.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Submissions Welcomed For Spotlight On Darfur 2

If you wish to contribute a blog entry for Spotlight on Darfur 2, please contact Eddie Beaver at Live From The FDNF in time for 16 October 2005 deadline.

Jim Moore, co-founder of Sudan: Passion of the Present, recently posted a note from Eddie on this initiative with an important PINR report from Michael Weinstein.

Note, Catez Stevens in New Zealand initiated and hosted Spotlight on Darfur 1 round up of posts authored by 14 different bloggers from around the world. Jim Moore, in praise of this, writes:

"In my view this work is so fine as to be almost historic. It combines the literary quality of a small, carefully edited book, with the global accessibility of works on the web."

Spotlight On Darfur

Last May, Catez also produced The Darfur Collection.

Image courtesy Tim Sweetman's post Let Us Weep.

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UN investigates DR Congo graves

A UN spokewoman told the BBC the remains were believed to be those of Congolese and Rwandan Hutus killed by Rwandan soldiers in 1996.

At the time the Rwandan Army was venturing into the DR Congo trying to find those responsible for mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

The graves were exhumed by Congolese troops.

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DR Congo militia deadline expires

A deadline set by the Democratic Republic of Congo for all foreign militias to leave the country passes.

Full story at BBC News Africa 30 Sep 2005.

Rebels in East DR Congo

Photo: Militia have been most active in the east of DR Congo (BBC)

A peace deal ended DR Congo's civil war in 2002, but the government exerts little control in the east.

Uganda has meanwhile threatened to use force against Lord's Resistance Army rebels sheltering in DR Congo.

MONUC road

Photo: UN patrols are a reminder that life is still far from normal in eastern DR Congo.

17,000 United Nations peacekeepers in DR Congo are not enough, said Ibrahim Gambari, UN under secretary general for political affairs.

"To disarm them all will require an enormous peacekeeping force, which the UN doesn't have, and which member states are not willing to fund," he said.

Uganda and Rwanda sparked DR Congo's civil war by invading and supporting local militias, after accusing DR Congo of backing rebel groups.

Under the 2002 peace deal, all militias were supposed to be disarmed.

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