Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
January 9, 2008: Last year, nearly 800,000 people were forced to flee from their villages due to fighting between the Congolese Army, Rwandan Hutu rbel organizations, and General Laurent Nkunda's Tutsi militia forces. The number may seem staggering, but believable, given the population density in North and South Kivu, and the brutal treatment of civilians exhibited by all of the warring groups.
January 8, 2008: The UN currently has
18,407 peacekeepers in the Congo.
January 6, 2008: The government, at the
urging of Uganda, has agreed to expel rebel leader Joseph Kony and other
members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), from a remote nature park in
Eastern Congo. That won't be so easy. The LRA fighters are experienced at not
January 6, 2008: The FDLR confirmed it
will send representatives to peace talks in Goma (North Kivu province).
Five people died in political violence
in the western Congo (Bas-Congo province). Fighting erupted in the city of
Vanga between police and members of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) movement. One of
the people killed allegedly worked for the Congolese government. Four were
members of the BDK. The BDK is a Kongo ethnic organization (as in the Kongo
January 4, 2008: The Indian Army's 6th
Battalion of the Sikh Regiment deployed for peacekeeping duty in the Congo.
December 29, 2007: The Congolese Army
opened a new operations center in Goma (North Kivu province). The ops center
was built by UN peacekeepers. The new ops center is intended to help the Congolese
Army improve its command and control capabilities in the eastern Congo. No
doubt the new facility will help, but improving command and control is as much
a function of training and discipline as it is communications gear -- and the
Congolese Army remains poorly trained and largely undisciplined.
December 27, 2007: The Congolese Army killed
16 rebel fighters in a firefight in North Kivu province.