Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
September 10, 2007: Congo and
Angola have agreed to another bi-lateral security training program. Angola will
provide Congolese police with "advanced training" on border security.
Meanwhile, Congo and the UN
have accused Rwanda of supplying rebel general Laurent Nkunda with weapons and
ammunition. Rwanda denies the accusation, but UN peacekeepers have reported
that Nkunda definitely has supply lines running toward the Rwandan border. The
town of Goma, which has been in the center of recent fighting in the area, is
located on the Congo-Rwanda border. Rwanda wants the Rwandan Hutu rebels in
Congo wiped out, and guys like Nkunda (who is a Tutsi, and Tutsi run Rwanda)
appear the only ones willing to do it. The The Hutu are the majority in Rwanda,
and want to wipe out the Tutsi.
September 8, 2007: The recent
fighting between the Congolese Army and militias loyal to General Laurent
Nkunda has imperiled mountain gorillas living in the Virunga National Park
wildlife preserve. Congolese park rangers have been caught in the crossfire and
have had to flee the park to escape the fighting. When the rangers are gone,
the gorillas are vulnerable to poaching. The gorillas can also killed in the
fighting, just like human civilians in a war zone. The fighting in North Kivu
is taking a terrible toll on humans, too. Some 200,000 people have been
displaced in North Kivu since late 2006 - that's an increase of about 40,000
since mid-July 2007. There are not enough emergency food rations in the area to
feed the additional refugees.
September 7, 2007: Rebel
general Laurent Nkunda accused the Congolese Army of launching a series of
attacks on his forces and "breaking the ceasefire" negotiated by the UN between
Nkunda and the Congolese government. Nkunda said Congo Army troops attacked his
militia positions outside the town of Rutshuru (north of Goma) in North Kivu province.
The ceasefire went into effect on September 6. There may be a misunderstanding
about the ceasefire. The UN believes
ceasefire was only for the area around
the town of Sake. Nkunda had a large group of Congolese Tutsi militiamen
in the town of Sake, twenty kilometers from Goma.
September 6, 2007: The UN negotiated a ceasefire between militias loyal
to rebel general Laurent Nkunda and Congolese Army forces in North Kivu.
However, the Congolese Army commander in the region did not confirm the ceasefire.
Reports from North Kivu described "confused fighting" throughout the area, but
particularly in the corridor between Goma and Rutshuru. The truth is, Congolese
and militia commanders exert little control over fighters who are outside their
immediate area. While they do communicate with cell phones and some radios,
couriers (on foot or in vehicles) are frequently the only way to contact their
forces. Then there is the problem of the local commander agreeing to follow the
The US government said that it
was encouraging a meeting of the "Tripartite-plus" group (Uganda, Congo,
Rwanda, and Burundi) to help "reduce tensions" in the region. The Congo and
Rwanda are at odds over Congolese allegations that Rwanda is supporting rebel
militias in the eastern Congo. The series of armed clashes between the Congo
and Uganda (July 29 through August 9) is even higher on the US diplomatic, in
part because the US State Department thinks it can help solve that problem.
Those fights occurred in the Lake Albert region.