Congo: Lord Nkunda Raises a Ruckus

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

August 27, 2007: UN and non-governmental agencies report that the refugee situation in North Kivu province (eastern Congo) is about to get worse. At the moment there are around 150,000 displaced people in North Kivu. NGOs in the region estimate another 130,000 people are at risk as attacks continue on villages in the province. The attacks are attributed to the militiamen under the command of General Laurent Nkunda, whose forces are now supposedly part of the "integrated" Congolese Army. Nkunda has essentially made himself the warlord of North Kivu.

August 26, 2007: As a peace gesture, Uganda released two Congolese soldiers it had captured earlier month, when the two strayed across the border. One of the released soldiers said he was trying to desert, because he had not been paid for months and was badly treated by his commander.

August 23, 2007: Congolese who work for the UN in Kinshasha protested their wages and working conditions. Approximately 500 protestors participated in a demonstration in front of the MONUC headquarters in Kinshasha. The UN employs around 7,000 Congolese. One of the biggest beefs is "pay differential." Congolese workers are paid far less than international workers for doing the same job. That's because, while the Congolese are being paid as much, or more, than comparable jobs pay in Congo, the foreigners have access to much higher paying jobs in their home countries. So the UN has to pay competitive wages to recruit people outside Congo.

August 22, 2007: The UN reported that 10,000 Congolese crossed the Congo-Uganda border on August 21. The tribal people were afraid of reprisals by Congo security troops. The tribals were supporters of rogue general Laurent Nkunda and had apparently participated in an "anti-UN rally" (ie, an anti-Kabila government rally). However, 8500 of the refugees returned to the Congo on August 22.

 

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