Congo: There Will Be More Blood

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

April 10, 2008: Congo's main opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Movement for Liberation of Congo (MLC), remains in exile in Portugal. Recently Bemba claimed that his life would be in danger if he returned to Congo. Bemba faces removal from parliament because members of parliament must attend at least one-fourth of parliamentary meetings. Bemba is a rebel warlord who made peace with the government, but expected to succeed in getting himself elected president of the country. Failing at this, he came to believe Laurent Kabila, who was re-elected president, would not tolerate such an ambitious rival, and would seek to kill him. So Bemba fled the country.

April 8, 2008: According to a recent UN Security Council study, the UN decision to reinforce operations in eastern Congo has left other regions less secure. The specific concern is Bas-Congo province (western Congo) where the BDK has become increasingly militant. In 2007 the UN deployed more troops to South and North Kivu provinces in an attempt to defeat and disarm militias operating in the areas.

March 31, 2008: Several riots broke out in copper mines located near the town of Kolwezi. Police claimed "several hundred" miners rioted. The death of a child during an eviction was the ostensible cause of the riots. However, "illegal miners" are a political problem in Congo. "Illegals" are miners who have moved on to shut-down mining properties and set up their own freelance operations.

 

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