Congo: The Warlord Who Won't Go Away

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

December 3, 2007: Rebels commanded by Laurent Nkunda have taken the eastern town of Nyanzale and driven out the army garrison. Reinforcements are being rushed in.

The U.S. is trying to work out an agreement between the government and rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. The US wants Nkunda to agree to surrender his militia then "go into exile." The Congo government would be able to call this a political and military victory. Nkunda would essentially be guaranteed he would not be prosecuted for war crimes or arrest by the Congolese government. Undoubtedly, Nkunda's exile would be "very comfortable." The problem is Nkunda has had similar offers dangled before and always rejected them.

November 28, 2007: Fifteen militiamen, who were fighting as part of General Laurent Nkunda's rebel forces, surrendered to UN peacekeepers in North Kivu province.

November 25, 2007: Laurent Nkunda's still has at least 4,000 militiamen under arms. Nkunda has the support of many Congolese Tutsis who live in the eastern Congo. The UN has between 4000 and 5000 troops in the eastern Congo. The UN forces support and train approximately 20,000 Congolese Army troops. Nkunda says he is protecting Congolese Tutsis from Rwandan Hutus in the FDLR.

 

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