Congo: Former Rebels Won't Stay Bought

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

March 18, 2007: Former rebel (now senator) Azarias Ruberwa, has refused to disband his personal bodyguard of some 400 troops. Ruberwa was given until this month to disarm his supporters, and has been told that force will be used if his men do not comply by the end of the month. Both Ruberwa and Jean-Pierre Bemba, another warlord with a private army, were both unsuccessful candidates in the recent presidential elections. Both are also former rebels, who were supposed to have been bought off with government jobs and amnesty. March 17, 2007: Nepal reported that its 7th Ranabhim Battalion had completed its deployment to the Congo to serve with the UN peacekeeping mission. The unit has a strength of 425

March 16, 2007: The Congo's Kabila government is once again confronting opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. Government forces remain near Bemba's home (a compound) in Kinshasha. Bemba has his own personal guard detachment. In early March the Congolese Army told the detachment to disarm. Bembas men refused. Bemba does not want to be left defenseless, and with good reason. The Congolese Army is highly unreliable. Bemba has about 200 soldiers in his private security detachment, plus perhaps as many as 600 elsewhere that he could call on. Last fall the UN sent troops into the area around Bemba's compound, in order to provide security and minimize clashes between Kabila's and Bemba's supporters. It looks like the UN will have to step in once again.

March 14, 2007: Angola and Congo completed discussions regarding border issues along their common 2,500 kilometers of frontier. The Congo had accused Angola or occupying Congolese territory. Angola and the Congo agreed to form a technical team to survey 112 landmarks and confirm the border demarcation.

March 10, 2007: The Congolese government said that it had arrested the Congo's chief nuclear research scientist. 100 "bars of uranium" had disappeared from a Congolese research facility. The government cited "lax security" at the research facility in Kinshasha.

 

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