Congo: The War Against the Media

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

August 20, 2007: The UN has asked the government of Congo to do more to protect journalists in the Congo. In the past six months several reporters have been murdered. On August 9 a photo-journalist was shot and killed in eastern Congo. In June a radio reporter was murdered in South Kivu. Reporting from chaotic conflict zones like the Congo is a dangerous enterprise. It takes courage, common sense, and luck. Local warlords sometimes tolerate reporters, but they are also a problem. Photos can lead to war crime charges.

August 16, 2007: The Congo and Uganda formally agreed to a new "common border survey" of the disputed border demarcation in the Lake Albert region. Both Uganda and Congo claim Rukwanzi Island and its vicinity. A British geologist was killed in a shootout in the area in early August. The Ugandan government said that the survey would be handled by a joint commission and could begin work "within three or four weeks." This dispute is a major problem for the Congo and Uganda. Uganda's foreign minister visited Kinshasha with the purpose of "diffusing" the trouble. Congo's charges that Uganda invaded the eastern Congo (Ituri province) and plundered natural resources exacerbates the current dispute.

August 15, 2007: The government disputed charges made by Rwanda (and a statement by a senior Congolese officer) that the Congolese Army was no longer conducting military operations against extremists Rwandan Hutu militias.

August 14, 2007: The government of Rwanda charged that the Congolese government and military had "halted military operations" against extremist Rwandan Hutu "Interahamwe" militias operating in the Congo. The Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) is the militia group that most concerns the Rwandan government. The Congolese forces and UN troops conducted a seven-month long operation against Hutu extremists in the Congo. The Rwandan government said the end of the offensive demonstrated that the Congolese Army "lacked the will" to fight the FDLR. The Rwandan government contends that these militias are led by Rwandan Hutus who participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

 

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