Congo Watch: January 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

UN urged by Uganda to rout out LRA from Sudan, DRC

Today, China's Xinhua reports the Ugandan government has appealed to the UN and the international community to rally behind its efforts to rout out the rebels currently hiding in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to a report from the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) Radio on Sunday, the call was made by Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa at the UN Security Council meeting.

Kutesa told the meeting that a group of Ugandan rebels continue to terrorize innocent people in northern Uganda, Sudan and the DRC.

3 killed in DR Congo army base attack 60 mls north of Goma

29 Jan 2006 Sapa-AFP report says three people were killed and seven others wounded after a group of unknown assailants attacked an army installation in the volatile eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN official told AFP.

The official said soldiers of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) killed three attackers and sustained the seven injuries on their side during the ensuing battle with the assailants who raided the army headquarters in Rutshuru, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Goma.

Congo President Holds First Peace Meeting

This blog should be named Congo(s) Watch. Please note the Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as DR Congo or DRC is not the same place as the Republic of the Congo. See DRC and the Congo on map here in sidebar. This blog mainly concentrates on the humanitarian crisis in DRC.

However the President of Republic of Congo has just been appointed head of the African Union. The Washington Post reports today that 'Denis Sassou-Nguesso launched his role as a top African peace mediator on Sunday, meeting with the prime minister of civil war-divided Ivory Coast days after taking over as African Union head.'

Note, the report points out the OAU was disbanded in 2002 after 39 years because it was widely considered an ineffective talking shop. For the last three years, Sassou-Nguesso has also headed the Central African Economic Community, or CEMAC.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Uganda tells UN it wants to fight rebels in E Congo too

The Ugandan military is ready to "deal with" rebels in neighboring Congo who killed eight U.N. soldiers this week, President Yoweri Museveni said on Thursday.
"We told the UN they should allow us to go and deal with them in [Eastern} Congo, because we know how to fight those criminals," Museveni said during celebrations at an airfield marking two decades since his National Resistance Movement seized power.

"They didn't listen to us," he added.

"The other day I saw (the LRA) had killed some of their people ... We are ready, if the Congolese government and the UN want us to deal with that issue, we shall deal with it."

He thanked the Sudanese government and former rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army for letting Ugandan troops operate in southern Sudan, where the LRA has hideouts.
Full report CNN Jan 26, 2006.

Murdered UN peacekeepers

Photo: Workers in Uganda Tuesday offload caskets holding bodies of UN peacekeepers killed in East Congo. (AFP/CNN)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

UN demands justice for Congo peacekeeper killers

The UN Security Council on Wednesday denounced the killing of eight U.N. soldiers in Congo this week and pressed Congo's government to quickly bring the attackers to justice, reports Reuters Jan 25, 2006:
Eight Guatemalan peacekeepers were killed and five seriously wounded on Monday in a battle with rebels from neighboring Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army or LRA.

They were among about 80 Guatemalan soldiers who came under attack during a reconnaissance mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Garamba National Park, on the border with Sudan.

"The LRA have conducted a long-running and vicious insurgency in northern Uganda which has caused the death, abduction and displacement of thousands of innocent civilians in Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo," the council said in a unanimous statement.

It called on Congo's transitional government "immediately to take all necessary measures to bring to justice those responsible for this attack."

U.N. Congo peacekeepers retreat

The UN Mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, said Tuesday the Garamba Park operation was canceled and peacekeepers taken to the city of Kisangani, reports United Press International Jan 24, 2006:
Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, division commander for peacekeepers in eastern Congo who was visiting UN World HQ in New York, told reporters Tuesday the remaining peacekeepers were extracted by helicopter from the scene of the battle.

The mission said local authorities estimated 50,000 internally displaced people were sheltered in churches and schools.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

President of Congo (Brazzaville) to succeed Obasanjo as AU chair - diplomatic sources

Monday, January 23, 2006

UN says 8 peacekeepers killed in eastern Congo

Eight Guatemalan special forces soldiers deployed as U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Congo were killed and five wounded in a battle with Ugandan rebels on Monday in the second deadliest attack on the UN force.

The force, known as MONUC, said 80 Guatemalans had been on a reconnaissance mission for the past 10 days in Congo's Garamba National Park, on the border with Sudan, looking for members of neighboring Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)."

Full story GOMA, Congo (Reuters) 23 Jan 2006.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thousands flee clashes between DRC troops, militia

From a report by SAPA, 19 Jan, 2006 [via Coalition for Darfur with thanks]:
An offensive by troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against militia armies in the volatile east has driven 122,000 people from their homes, the United Nations mission in the DRC (Monuc) said on Wednesday.

'A new wave of 46,000 people has been displaced since November 2005 in districts of Nord-Katanga which are still the theatre of military operations against armed groups roaming the region, bringing the total number of displaced persons to 122,000,' Monuc deputy spokesperson Eliana Naaba said.

Much further north, an armed gang loyal to a renegade general on Wednesday attacked an army position at Runyonyi in Nord-Kivu province, according to the local military commander, Colonel Jean-Marie She Kasikila, who accused Rwandan troops of backing the rebels."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Blogging Rwandan genocide feature film Shooting Dogs

Today, Congo Watch received an email from a new blog called Shooting Dogs about a film starring John Hurt. The film is called Shooting Dogs and tells the story of what happened at the Ecole Technique Officielle during the Rwandan genocide.

Note this excerpt from post by David Belton the film's producer who gained a BAFTA nomination for his work:
Tom asks, "Do you think we did a good job out there?" I look at him. Ever since I came back from the genocide in Rwanda six years before I have enjoyed the praise of my colleagues at work, my tour of duty out there worn like a medal on my chest. Now this. The ice twirls around my glass. I'm struggling for an answer - looking at Tom, trying to read in his face a motive behind the question. I almost feel defensive - what the hell kind of question is that anyway. He takes a deep breath, "Because, you see, I don't think we did. We left and we should have stayed."
Also, see Shooting Dog's other blog called Rwandan Survivors. It is dedicated to the survivors of the genocide and aims to provide a platform for anyone to write their views on subjects raised. Good luck David! I've found genocide to be a bit of a conversation stopper :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Africa's rebels take their battles online

Washington Post article by Emily Wax 14 January 2006.

[via The Blog Herald with thanks]

Saturday, January 14, 2006

MSF list of ten most under-reported stories of last year

What we should worry about, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres:

Chechnya
Northern Uganda
Northeastern India
Congo
Colombia
Southern Sudan
Ivory Coast
Somalia
Haiti
HIV/AIDS

Those are the ten most under-reported stories of last year.

Read full story at Contango: Our responsibility.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

DR Congo backs new constitution

The Democratic Republic of Congo has approved a new constitution which paves the way for historic presidential and parliamentary elections in March.

According to official results from the 18 December referendum, released on Wednesday, 84.31% voted in favour of the constitution to 15.69% against.

The new charter allows greater autonomy for some of the huge country's mineral-rich regions.

DR Congo's people voted for the constitution in December.

Full report BBC 12 January 2006.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Lancet 2006: Mortality in the DR of Congo: a nationwide survey

British medical journal, The Lancet recently published a report on mortality in DR Congo. Louis at Telegraphe Congolais says the report is not available online but he has managed to blog an excerpt.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Digimotion Digital Album Blogged

See my latest entry at Sudan Watch: Digimotion Digital Album - Powerful stuff, check it out.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thousands die from DR Congo war

BBC news today says, according to the Lance medical journal, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is killing 38,000 people each month.

Humanitarian crisis continues in the Congo: Death toll 4 million - 1,200 people dying every day

Report from Reuters today says the Congo conflict is the deadliest humanitarian crisis of the last 60 years but the world is still not doing enough to save lives, according to a survey published in the Lancet medical journal. Excerpts:

Its authors pleaded urgently for more aid and tougher security in the wake of a war estimated to have killed nearly four million people, mainly through hunger and disease.

The U.N.'s 17,000-strong Congo peacekeeping force -- its biggest in the world -- is trying to establish order across Africa's third largest country in the wake of the war which began in 1998 and officially ended in 2003.

Bands of gunmen still intimidate civilians in large areas, particularly in the east whose mineral riches are believed to have fuelled a conflict that at one point drew in six foreign armies and was dubbed Africa's first world war.

The survey showed that the death toll in the Congo conflict so far was higher than the numbers killed in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Darfur.

Full report by Paul Majendie London (Reuters) 6 Jan 2006.