Congo: Banishing Bandits from the Border



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

October 6, 2005: The UN faces a major problem because the thousands of foreign rebels living along the eastern borders refuse to go home, and are moving out of the way of troops sent to chase them out. Getting these guys out of the region will be time consuming, and will be more of a police, than a military, operation. The gunmen have been living off banditry and foreign food aid. Being chased around the border area will induce hunger and fatigue, which may cause many of the gunmen to head across the border and become someone else's problem.

October 4, 2005: The UN airlifted (by helicopter) 300 Congolese troops into the northeastern Congo. The Congolese troops went to a site near the town of Aba. Meanwhile, 200 other Congo troops arrived by road convoy. Other Congolese forces are also moving into Aba. A UN spokesman said at least a thousand Congolese troops will deploy in the area. The UN command said the troop movement is in response to the presence of the Ugandan rebels belonging to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA group is reportedly inside the Garamba National Park (near the Ugandan border). On September 29, Uganda said that if the Congo did not stop the LRA infiltrators it would consider sending its own troops into the Congo. Uganda has deployed troops in the Congo before. Ugandan forces operated near the Congo town of Bunia for over two years.

September 30, 2005: Over 10,000 foreign gunmen appear to have ignored government demands that they leave. Most of these gunmen are extremist Rwandan Hutu militiamen (guilty of Rwanda's 1994 genocide) and a smaller number of Ugandans and Burundians.


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