Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
November 27, 2009: The European Union has made improving and reforming the Congolese Army (FARDC) a priority. The EU believes that an effective Congolese Army is key to stabilizing the Congo. That's right, but UN peacekeepers and EU trainers involved in Congolese Army training programs say on the record and off the record that progress is very slow. Putting former militia units in the national army does give the government a slight degree of control (the government is paying the troops) but former militia commanders who are suddenly Congolese Army officers balk at taking orders. So far around 50 militia groups (56 by one count) have been incorporated into the Congolese Army. The foreign peacekeepers are seen as the best hope of taming the undisciplined and savage militiamen.
November 24, 2009: The Internaitonal Criminal Court (ICC) is proceeding with the trial of two militia commanders who are charged with killing 200 civilians in an attack in 2003. The militia leader, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui are also charged with sex slavery, rape, and enlisting child soldiers. Katanga was a senior commander of the Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri (FRPI). Chui led another Ituri faction, the National Integrationist Front (FNI). The attack on the village of Bogoro was one of many in the Hema tribe versus Lendu tribe battles in northeastern Congo. Katanga and Chui led a predominantly Lendu militia into Bogoro, drove off the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia force in the town, and began killing its inhabitants. Reports filtering out of the area after the incident indicated that the Hema saw the attack as an act of ethnic cleansing. The UPC was a predominantly Hema organization.
November 20, 2009: At least 100 people were killed in a new series of battles involving the Lobala and Boba tribes in Equateur province. The fighting has occurred on the Congo-Congo (Brazzaville) border. Apparently, 50,000 people have fled the fighting. This is a continuation of fighting over fishing rights and water resources which occurred in late October. The new round of fighting began in mid-November.
November 19, 2009: A recent poll in the Congo showed that the vast majority of Congolese want the UN peacekeepers to remain in the country. MONUC leaders are responding to demands from some Congolese that the peacekeepers should leave the country. Interestingly enough, the most common complaint from Congolese is that MONUC has failed to adequately protect Congolese civilians.
November 17, 2009: The UN estimates that approximately 40 tons of gold are smuggled out of the Congo every year. The smuggled gold has a value of around $1.3 billion. A UN report alleges the gold moves from the Congo to Uganda and front companies ship it from Uganda to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Militia groups operating in the eastern Congo (including the FDLR, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) take a cut from the smuggling operation
&S232;November 9, 2009: A medical aid organization has charged the Congolese Army with targeting Hutu tribesmen who were using a medical clinic in North Kivu. The tribals came to the clinic to receive vaccinations. A Congolese Army unit allegedly attacked the Hutus and killed 62 civilians. The rebel FDLR militia is a predominantly Rwandan Hutu force and the Congolese Army has been attacking the FDLR.