Congo: Tribal Violence Proliferates

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December 2, 2016: The UN has taken the politically aggressive stance of trying to force the Congolese government to hold national elections. UN administrators appear to have no precise date in mind but “sooner rather than later” is the goal. “Sooner and practical” would be sometime in early 2017. President Kabila has already avoided the mandated election date and his term runs out December 19. UN rhetoric is still low key. Administrators are asking for “flexibility by stakeholders” in Congo’s political process. However, the muscles behind the administrators, the UN peacekeeping force and its logistical support services, are being prepared to provide ballots, protect polling places and provide security in key cities and towns. The preparation indicates the UN disagrees with Congo’s National Electoral Commission’s decision to postpone the presidential election until 2018. (Austin Bay)

November 29, 2016: In western Uganda (Rwenzori) the chief of the Rwenzururu tribe was arrested and accused of being responsible for separatist violence that had left nearly 150 dead. The most recent incident involved a battle between the chief’s bodyguards and the police which left 46 tribesmen and 16 police dead. Separatist tribes in this region, 340 kilometers from the capital, has been going on since early in the year.

November 27, 2016: In the east (North Kivu province) Nande tribesmen raided a Hutu village and killed 34 civilians. The Nande resent the many foreigners, including refugees, living in their midst. The local Kobo tribe, along with the Nande, contend that the Hutus in the area support the violent Hutu FDLR rebel group.

November 26, 2016: Several thousand demonstrators in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, protested UN officials who are investigating atrocities committed by the government.

November 25, 2016: UN officials accused militia groups in the Central African Republic of murdering 85 members of the Fulani tribe on November 21 in the town of Bria (northern CAR). The tribespeople were caught in fighting between the Union for Peace in Central Africa militia and the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the CAR (FPRC). Authorities said the FPRC was responsible for the murders of the Fulani.

November 23, 2016: In Congo the army freed 26 people who had been kidnapped by the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces rebel group in North Kivu province.

November 19, 2016: In Congo security forces stopped an opposition political rally in Kinshasa. An armed police force also prevented a UN political monitoring group from visiting the home of a prominent opposition leader.

November 15, 2016: A Twa (pygmy) tribe militia killed at least 30 members of the Luba tribe during an attack on Mushwaki (Tanganyika province). The Twa militiamen were armed with bows and poison-tipped arrows. The Twa accuse the Luba of stealing their land. Two UN peacekeepers who entered the area were wounded by Luba arrows.

November 14, 2016: In Congo the prime minister resigned. This waspart of a political deal to delay the presidential vote until April 2018. His resignation was part of the so-called October 18 political accord to delay the elections.

November 9, 2016: Congolese opposition political leaders warned President Kabila that he risks starting a civil war if he does not leave power when his term ends December 19. The opposition leaders belong to Rassemblement which has emerged as the main opposition umbrella group. The Roman Catholic Church supports Rassemblement’s decision to reject the so-called agreement to extend Kabila’s term in office.

November 8, 2016: Radio France International (RFI) and Radio Okapi (a UN-funded station operating in Congo) report that from November 5 to today their signals have been jammed. They did not make official statements, but it’s fairly certain the Congolese government did the jamming. Both radio stations oppose President Kabila’s attempt to retain power. RFI and Okapi are the most popular radio stations in Congo.

November 3, 2016: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called the Kabila government’s ban on protests in Kinshasa “unjustified.” The UN asked the government to end the ban on opposition political rallies.

 

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