Congo: Fire in the East



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

October 21, 2005: Fighting with Hutu and Mai-Mai rebels in eastern Congo appears unlikely to end any time soon. Peacekeeper morale is falling, because of the constant fighting, and poor living conditions. Eastern Congo is a hard place to get to, and peacekeepers are increasingly short of supplies.

October 19, 2005: After negotiations, and a promise from the Congolese government that the bounties would be paid, the Mai-Mai militia unit released the officers being held near Bukava.

October 18, 2005: A rogue Mai-Mai militia group, in a camp near the town of Bukavu in the eastern Congo, took 43 Congo government officers hostage. The government officers were working with the Congo's national disarmament commission, which is running a militia disarmament program. The militia unit, which numbers at least 500 men, threatened to burn the officials alive -- a massacre by incineration. The militiamen said they will kill the officers unless they commission paid them $110 for each weapon they turned in. The UN said this particular militia unit had in fact turned in its weapons, but the promised payment for turned in weapons was not made on time.

October 17, 2005: Over the weekend, fighting between troops and Hutu rebels in eastern Congo, left over a dozen people dead, including a Chinese technical advisor, who was caught in the middle of one firefight. Thousands of civilians fled the fighting.


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