Congo: Less Violent On The Eastern Front

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February 11, 2022: In eastern Congo and the nearby CAR (Central African Republic) there has been an increase in violence during the last few months. In Congo this is on purpose, as forces from Congo and Uganda make a joint effort to eliminate the Ugandan ADF Islamic terror group from its bases in the eastern Congo. The campaign against the ADF began at the end of November 2021 and continues. In CAR civil war continues, with more of the violence taking the form terrorist bombings.

February 8, 2022: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) Ugandan warplanes again bombed ADF rebel positions in a forest. This is part of an ongoing Congo-Ugandan operation against Ugandan rebels in Congo. ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) is from Uganda and has more Moslem radicals than rebels. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) considers the ADF to be ISCAP (ISILs Central African Province). ADF pledged allegiance to ISIL in 2019 and later described itself as ISCAP. The name changes nothing because ADF continues its terrorist operations, primarily in eastern Congo.

February 7, 2022: Foreign NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) are calling the trial of men accused of killing UN field investigators Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp a sham. At least one of the NGOs is actively involved in urging the UN and Congolese authorities to investigate the murders and conduct a fair trial. The two UN workers were murdered in 2017. At least two Congolese workers supporting them disappeared and have yet to be accounted for. The trial lasted four years in a military court. The NGOs claim the Congolese authorities and the court ignored evidence that tied to slayings to senior Congo government officials. The court verdict was given January 29.

February 5, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF attacked two villages, killing six and kidnapping several others. A week earlier the U.S. embassy warned that an attack could occur.”

February 4, 2022: In eastern Congo (South Kivu province) soldiers killed at least 33 militiamen belonging to a Mai Mai militia allied with the Burundian FNL rebels and RED-Tabara. The army said three militia leaders were killed in a “large scale operation” in the hills near Uvira. The area has several suspected Burundian rebel base camps.

February 2, 2022: Near the Congo capital (Kinshasa) a high-voltage power cable snapped and fell onto nearby houses and a market square, killing at least 26 people. A later report said that the market area had been inundated with rain and a live end of the cable fell into a water-filled ditch. Authorities said it was not clear what caused the cable to break. Congo’s national electrical authority said it believed lightning struck the cable.

February 1, 2022: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) Lendu tribesmen belonging to CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of the Congo) killed at least 62 members of the Hemas tribe who were living in the Plaine Savo refugee camp. Locals said CODECO rebels were responsible for the slaughter. CODECO is a Lendu tribal militia from Uganda that used to recruit both Lendu and Hemas in Uganda. In the late 1990s the Lendu began forcing Hemas out of CODECO, a process that created a lot of hostility between the two tribes. CODECO commits a substantial number of the attacks and atrocities in Ituri, as well as across the border in Uganda. The violence in eastern Congo is mainly in Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province. CODECO is predominantly a Lendu tribal organization, as are many of militias in eastern Congo.

January 31, 2022: Rwanda reopened its border with Uganda to truck traffic. For some three years the two nations have waged a war of nerves on the border, restricting trade, preventing civil transit (sometimes even returning Rwandan passport holders) and at times restricting trade. Covid-19 was one reason but also an excuse. The Rwandan government said that issues with Uganda must still be resolved. In 2019 Rwanda accused Uganda of supporting anti-Rwandan government rebels. Uganda claimed Rwanda had agents operating illegally in Uganda.

Congo president Felix Tshisekedi held a ceremony launching the construction of Congo’s first true deep-water port. The port will be located on Congo’s Atlantic Ocean coastline. The coastline is short, only 23 miles. There is already a small port facility located at Banana. However, the new port, Banana Port, will be much larger. It will cost an estimated $1.2 billion. Tshisekedi has received a lot of domestic criticism for supporting the port project, but his government believes it will aid Congolese exports. A UAE port construction company, DP World, has the contract. Matadi is currently Congo’s major sea port. It is on the Congo River, 93 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. 93 miles is the furthest point ocean-going vessels can travel on the river.

January 29, 2022: In Congo a military court sentenced 49 defendants to death. Some of the death sentences as in absentia. An army colonel was sentenced to ten years in prison for disobeying orders. Two defendants were acquitted. The court made the rulings in a mass trial of individuals accused of being involved in the March murders of UN investigators Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp. The murders were committed in Congo’s central Kasai region.

January 28, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) claimed responsibility for a raid on an army camp near the Uganda border. The ISIL forces belonged to the ADF militia and were seeking to free twenty of their members held prisoner in the camp. The attacks, which left three dead, succeeded in freeing the prisoners.

January 25, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) fighting outside the city of Goma continued into a second day. This forced several thousand people to flee their homes leaving at least 2,000 living in improvised shelters. There have been several clashes between soldiers and M23 rebels. It all began with a clash near Virunga National Park. Today another firefight near Goma left at least twenty soldiers dead. M23 now refers to itself as the “Revolutionary Army of Congo.”

January 22, 2022: Tanzania signed an agreement with Burundi to extend Tanzania’s standard gauge railroad to Gitega, which is located in central Burundi and is now the official capital of Burundi. The extension is 282 kilometers in length and cost an estimated $900 million. Tanzania will share the costs. The railroad connects to the Tanzanian port at Dar es Salaam. A Turkish, a Portuguese and two Chinese companies will handle construction.

January 21, 2022: In CAR the UN is investigating the alleged killing of at least 30 people near the town of Bria between January 16 and 17. CAR security forces and mercenaries working for the Russian Wagner Group were involved in the deaths.

January 18, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) police arrested two men in connection with the February 2021 murder of the Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio and two other people, a Carabiniere officer and a World Food Program driver. Police report that the killers intended to kidnap the ambassador and hold him for ransom.

January 12, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) Congo and Uganda issued a joint statement that ADF Islamic terrorists wearing Ugandan military uniforms have attacked Congolese villages. These attacks were apparently meant to sabotage current anti-ADF operations in the Virunga National Park and undermine the Congo-Uganda alliance to defeat the ADF.

January 10, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) locals tended to believe a recent ISIL claim of responsibility for the December 25, 2021 suicide bombing attacked in Beni that killed five people and injured 14 others. What this means is an ADF terrorist conducted the attack. ISIL’s claim adds an international political dimension to the ADF attack.

January 9. 2022: In CAR UN peacekeepers report that terrorist attacks are increasing there. Peacekeepers have particularly noticed an increase in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), especially in the CAR’s northwestern areas.

January 7, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) the military lunched another major operation against ADF Islamic terrorist bases in Virunga National Park. The new operation began with a series of airstrikes, likely provided by Uganda, on several ADF targets. The goal is catching the Islamist terrorists during Friday prayers. The fighting continued for over a week.

January 5, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) government authorities confirmed that security personnel have arrested a major ADF leader, Banza Madjaribu in the city of Goma on December 29, 2021. Banza Madjaribu is described as a key “recruiter” for the ADF and has masterminded terror bombing attacks. He is also the brother of the ADF’s senior commander, Imam Zakaria Banza Souleymane (nom de guerre Bonge La Chuma). Madjaribu is now in Kinshasa, being held at the military criminal intelligence prison (DEMIAP)

January 1, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) the army reports that the joint Congo-Uganda anti-ADF operation is entering phase two. Congo and Uganda estimate their forces have killed at least 100 ADF members since the operation started on November 30, 2021. Around 70 ADF fighters have surrendered. The initial phase struck six major ADF base camps. On December 24, 2021 the joint force occupied an ADF camp named Kambi Ya Yua.

 

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