Congo: The Kivu Miracle


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

November 17, 2007: At least 232 "child soldiers" had been released from serving with Congolese militias, including 182 children were freed from a Mai-Mai militia brigade operating in North Kivu province (the Baleine Brigade in Beni, North Kivu). Many "child soldiers" serve as arms and ammunition carriers in militia and rebel groups. For example, many of the young hostages taken by the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda were essentially "supply and service personnel" for the rebel fighters. In some documented cases in the Congo, children age 12 and 13 have participated in combat as soldiers bearing weapons.

November 15, 2007: Celestin Chibalonza, the governor of South Kivu province (eastern Congo) was impeached and removed from office. He was accused of failing to end the violence in his province, as well as corruption. The governor is a member of President Joseph Kabila's political party. It isn't clear if this is a step toward long-promised government reforms promised by Kabila's government. It may just be that the situation in South Kivu is so bad, and the government so incapable, that the parliament members acted out of desperation. If that's the case, this is the right kind of desperation. Corrupt governments are both a symptom and cause of instability.

November 13, 2007: The government said that the agreement signed with Rwanda was a step toward disarming the FDLR (a combination of Congolese rebels and the Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe rebels).

November 10, 2007: Rwanda and Congo reached an agreement to "end threats to peace" that affect both countries. The agreement outlines ways the two countries can cooperate to resolve security threats in their common border region, especially coordinated action against "irregular groups" (ie, militias). Of course there are a lot of those.




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