Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
February 4, 2008 The ceasefire is
definitely not working. Laurent Nkunda's Tutsi militia (National Congress for
the Defense of the People, CNDP) is now skirmishing with a Mai-Mai militia in
North Kivu province (eastern Congo). Fighting broke out between Nkunda's troops
and the Pareco faction of the Mai-Mai on January 28 in the town of Lusirandak
and Kasake (North Kivu).
February 1, 2008: The UN has agreed to
help "neutralize" Rwandan forces operating in Congo. This is code language for
striking at Rwandan Hutu rebel organizations like the FDLR. In order to
emphasize the importance of this new mission, MONUC will move its eastern
command from Kisangani to Goma (capital of North Kivu). Goma is on the
Rwanda-Congo border. In 2007 the Congolese and Rwandan governments signed an
agreement that Congo would help disarm and repatriate Rwandan Hutu militias. However, many of the
Hutus in the militias (like the FDLR) participated in the 1994 Rwandan
genocide. If they are repatriated they face charges of mass murder. That's a
big incentive for these guys to fight to remain in Congo.
January 22, 2008: The Congolese government signed a ceasefire
agreement with General Laurent Nkunda. In the first phase of the ceasefire,
Congolese Army units and Nkunda's forces will disengage and UN forces will establish
a buffer zone. The ceasefire is also supposed to apply to other militia forces
in eastern Congo. Nkunda and other rebels, who are currently charged with
insurrection (treason), will receive amnesty. The issue of where Nkunda will
go, however, has not been addressed. He refuses to go into exile.