Congo: Fire In The East

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

October 28, 2007: In eastern Congo it's estimated that the fighting has created 370,000 refugees (displaced people). Blame is placed on the various ethnic militias operating in the area, militia gangs, and Congolese government forces. For example, Laurent Nkunda's "renegade" Tutsi militia was accused of attacking 50 villages since the fall of 2006.

October 27, 2007: Some 50 Mai-Mai militiamen and their commander, Kasereka Kabamba, surrendered to Congolese government forces and UN peacekeepers. The Congolese forces, with UN support, surrounded the Mai-Mai group in North Kivu province. Kasereka alleges that he and his fighters are "pro-Congolese government" and that they have fought Laurent Nkunda's renegade Congolese Tutsi militia. However, there are numerous reports that Mai-Mai fighters have at least occasionally cooperated with Nkunda's fighters. The Mai-Mai are regarded by many Congolese as opportunistic thugs.

October 26, 2007: Congo called on the U.S. to support his attempts to "stabilize" the eastern Congo. The government regards Laurent Nkunda's rebel militia as the major political challenge in the eastern Congo. Nkunda may have as many as 4,000 armed fighters under his command. The US promised to provide economic and political support to the Congo.

October 25, 2007: No FDLR fighters have entered the UN integration center at Kirolirwe in North Kivu. The center is the major camp in the are for "reintegration" of militias into the Congolese armed forces. On October 24 FDLR militia commander Laurent Nkunda said that 500 of his fighters would report to a UN camps in North Kivu. Nkunda also said that he was willing to demobilize his fighters.

 

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