Congo: Just Hanging On


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

January 16, 2007: The government revealed that Angola had providing training for 2700 Congolese policemen. The training has been an on-going program since 2004. The training was conducted as part of a bilateral security and training agreement. The Angolan police training unit operate a training center inside the Congo. The Angolan police contingent has also "doubled" as a peacekeeping unit and provided security for the Congolese government.

January 15, 2007: Ugandan LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony has returned to his "hideout" in the Congo. This is sure to increase tensions between Uganda and the Congolese government.

January 12, 2007: Congolese soldiers in Bunia, Ituri province (northeastern Congo) rioted to protest "unpaid bonuses." The Congolese soldiers looted some shops and one rape was also reported. UN soldiers stopped the riot. The Congolese Army reported that the soldiers involved in the crimes had been "handed over to authorities." That sounds like an arrest but in the Congo you can never be sure.

January 10, 2007: The UN will re-deploy peacekeeping forces in the western Congo. The situation in western Congo remains relatively calm. Troops from Uruguay, Ghana and Bolivia will be among those involved in the redeployment. Some of the shifts will involve as few as thirty troops. The redeployments should be completed by the end of January 2007.

January 9, 2007: The MONUC mandate comes up for renewal by the UN Security Council in February 2007. At this time it looks like the Security Council will support continue to support a strong peacekeeping presence in the Congo. In other words, the UN will continue to keep around 17,000 troops in the Congo. Many African and international analysts are pleased with the election process. Compared to this time last year, the overall violence in the Congo has dropped. Joseph Kabila's inauguration (December 6, 2006) came off with few hitches. However, Ituri province (northeast Congo), North Kivu province, South Kivu province, and Katanga province remain troublesome. The UN wants to maintain enough troops to have a "strike force" capability and a "regional reinforcement" capability (to fight when need be and beef up "presence" when required). NGOs and the UN are also worried about the stability of Kabila's government. His governing coalition has 30 parties and factions. The Congolese Army is also a mess. "Reintegration" of militias is an iffy process. The UN currently estimates that there are 5,000 to 8,000 Congolese militiamen still under arms and opposing the government. In addition, there are around 8,000 Rwandan and Ugandan rebels in the eastern Congo.


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