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The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the heart of Black Africa. Millions of Congolese have been murdered, massacred, enslaved, robbed of their resources and driven from their homes since the Berlin Conference gave the “Congo Free State” to Belgium’s King Leopold II as his personal property in 1885. I spoke to Jean-Claude Maswana about the latest waves of aggression under current Congolese President Joseph Kabila.
The Congo crisis is now one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the world and the most underreported. An average of 5,500 people a day flee violence and insecurity, even more than in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Unlike Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, however, the Congo wars are undeclared and there’s no front line. There are instead many wars over many concentrations of resource wealth in this immensely resource-rich country, especially in the eastern provinces.
On Nov. 18, Rwandan President Paul Kagame inducted seven thieves without borders and one medical doctor into his “National Order of Outstanding Friendship,” presenting them with medals for “exemplary service” to the nation, meaning himself and his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Kagame is a modern day exemplar of French King Louis XIV’s theory of government: “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”).
A video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared online and in a few news reports last week. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014. I asked Boniface Musavuli, a native of Beni and author of “The Massacres of Beni: Kabila, Rwanda, and the Fake Islamists” to help contextualize the so-called news.
In accordance with President Obama’s Congo bill, the U.S. should withhold aid to Rwanda and Uganda and impose sanctions on its presidents and other government and military officials, whose culpability for cross border wars of aggression and illegal resource extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have long since been documented.
A widely feared and anticipated military attack by U.N. and Congolese troops on the FDLR has not materialized, despite U.N. Special Envoy Russ Feingold’s repeated urgings. Instead, this week, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo rose up in the streets to demand that their Parliament not pass legislation allowing Congolese President Joseph Kabila to extend his stay in office beyond constitutional term limits. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
Potentially catastrophic military operations, authorized by the U.N. Security Council, may lie ahead soon for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. Security Council has urged the Congolese army to join U.N. combat troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in hunting down the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Rwandan refugee militia commonly known as the FDLR.
Rwanda and Uganda are threatening to send troops across their borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo yet again to, they say, eliminate the Hutu refugee militia known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR. Going after the Hutu refugee militia has been Rwanda and Uganda’s excuse for crossing into Congo for the past 18 years, since the outset of the First Congo War in 1996.
The Congolese woman in eastern Congo – the rape capital of the world – has gotten tired of being gang-raped, of being mutilated, of having 3-to-5-foot wooden sticks shoved through her genitals after being gang-raped, then being killed or buried alive. So she has taken up a weapon now in order to defend her baby, her own body, her humanity, her village, her community and her country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Congolese army, with the help of the UN Force Intervention Brigade, decisively defeated the M23 militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Kivu Provinces this week, but many Congolese, Rwandans, and Ugandans, are asking why the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now engaged in peace talks with the M23, and not with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
This week the Congolese army, backed by the U.N. Force Intervention Brigade, was widely reported to be driving the last of Rwanda’s M23 militia from their positions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most war ravaged province, North Kivu, on eastern Congo’s border with Rwanda. At the same time, Western elites stepped forward to tell the world what’s best for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo now.
Yesterday the Southern Africa Development Community, a regional body, issued a statement of concern about the deployment of Rwandan troops along Rwanda’s common border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressing the hope that Rwanda will not invade and is not thinking about invading. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
The Congolese army has pushed Rwanda’s M23 back by about four miles in recent days, and U.N. envoy says that their success makes this a good time to negotiate. Jean-Mobert N’senga, an activist lawyer in Goma, and his group, Fight for Change, agree but say the Democratic Republic of the Congo needs to negotiate with Rwanda, not M23.
On Wednesday, July 17, Nick Long reported for the Voice of America that the Congolese army’s recent successes at driving the M23 militia from their positions in eastern Congo have caused euphoria amongst Congolese, particularly in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province on Congo’s border with Rwanda. Here’s that Voice of America radio report:
Late last week, the Security Council approved the creation of what it called its first-ever “offensive” combat force, with a mandate to carry out targeted operations to “neutralize and disarm” the notorious March 23 or M23 militia, as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Until now, U.N. peacekeeping forces’ only explicit mandate has been the protection of civilians.
On Monday, March 18, major news outlets all over the world reported East African warlord Gen. Bosco Ntaganda had crossed the border from DR Congo into Rwanda and “surrendered” at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali. Rwandan American law professor Charles Kambanda spoke to KPFA about Ntaganda and why the story of his surrender is thoroughly implausible.
A U.N. report says that the USA’s conflict minerals legislation, Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is increasing rather than decreasing criminality and conflict in the Congo and that Bosco Ntaganda is now in control of minerals smuggling from the Congo into Rwanda.