Congo: Clearing Out The East



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

December 24, 2005: A major military operation is taking place in the eastern Congo. A series of firefights took place near the town of Fataki. Nine UN peacekeepers and Congo troops died in the clash. Another report said one report said one UN peacekeeper and seven Congo troops. An estimated 30 Lendu tribal militiamen died in the firefights. UN peacekeepers from Nepal and 1500 Congo troops were involved the counter-militia operation. Getting accurate news out of these areas is difficult, because few journalists are willing to operate in such a lawless and dangerous environment.

December 22, 2005: The government said that with approximately 60 percent of the votes counted in the constitutional referendum, the "yes' vote was well ahead. 80 percent of the votes counter had approved the constitution.

In the east, peacekeepers and army troops have begun moving against rebel militias.

December 21, 2005: The UN believes there are 15,000 Hutu militia fighters still inside the eastern Congo. The Hutus are primarily from Rwanda, though some are from Burundi. Approximately 1,000 Ugandan rebels remain in the Congo. The UN Security Council passed another resolution threatening sanctions against rebel groups and rebel leaders (ie, militia leaders) who do not disarm.

December 19, 2005: Polls closed in the Congo in the constitutional referendum. The Independent Electoral Commission estimated voter turnout at 60 percent.




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