Posts tagged Democratic Republic of Congo
Posts tagged Democratic Republic of Congo
The rebels’ truck rounded the corner at breakneck speed and skidded onto the wrong side of a pitted bush road, with several dozen fighters swaying on the back. Two weeks after seizing the eastern Congolese city of Goma, the M23 rebels were withdrawing Saturday, leaving behind an uneasy city.
They snaked along the road north, riding in looted government cars, trucks piled high with mattresses and a minibus stolen from the state television and radio agency. One M23 spokesman stood by his fancy SUV, which had broken down in the road, trying to make a call. Others trudged on foot, carrying boxes of ammunition and bundles of food and clothing on their heads.
M23 fighters, backed by neighboring Rwanda, caused a geopolitical crisis with their surprise capture of Goma nearly two weeks ago. They embarrassed Congolese President Joseph Kabila, whose troops gave up the city without a fight. They exposed Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whose persistent military interference in one of the world’s most troubled regions was widely condemned. And they triggered criticism of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission, with Congolese complaining that the world body’s troops should have repelled the rebels, even as government forces retreated.
M23, accused of myriad human rights abuses, is the latest in a string of militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s troubled east with strong ethnic and military links to the Kagame government, always denied by Rwandan authorities. A recent United Nations report on the conflict offered strong evidence of Rwanda’s military support for the rebels.
Congo’s east has seen years of conflict, much of it linked to internecine struggles to control minerals and other wealth, with regional and ethnic tension complicating the picture.
Pictured: M23 rebels wait on a truck before their departure rom the city of Goma in eastern Congo. (Phil Moore / AFP/Getty Images / December 1, 2012)
A child stands near the body of a dead Congolese government soldier in Nyaruchinga, near Goma, on Nov. 22. Congolese troops were fighting back on Thursday against rebels who rejected calls from African leaders to leave the eastern city of Goma. Thousands of people fled the area of clashes around the town of Sake, as M23 rebel fighters rushed from Goma to reinforce their positions there against a counter-offensive by the army. More…
Photo by James Akena/Reuters
Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, following fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo town on November 22, 2012. The rebel militia M23 – widely believed to be backed by Rwanda – holds the major city of Goma but was taken by surprise on Thursday in the village of Sake, 26km away, when government soldiers launched a counter-offensive, opening fire from surrounding hills. A humanitarian crisis is looming in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, aid agencies have warned, after another day of fighting sent thousands of people fleeing for safety.
[Credit : Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images]
Gisenyi, Rwanda: A Congolese refugee boy inside his tent provided by the UN at the Nkamira transit camp. Over 7,000 Congolese refugees fleeing the fighting have crossed the border and arrived at the camp.
Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA
Over the past three years, MSF teams have witnessed a rather astonishing rise in the number of malaria cases in Democratic Republic of Congo. For its part, MSF is now responding to outbreaks in six separate provinces in the east and north of the country, but a wider, more concerted effort is urgently needed to battle this potentially fatal disease that traditionally afflicts the young and the infirm. Learn more.
Infographic by will owen
Push by 5,400 DRC troops into remote areas targets Rwandan Hutu rebel group and remnants of Joseph Kony’s LRA
UN peacekeeping troops are backing a Congolese army drive against jungle-based rebel groups that is expected to displace at least 100,000 people and trigger a new wave of instability and human rights abuses across war-ravaged eastern Congo, aid workers and independent analysts have warned.
The new offensive by 5,400 troops of the Democratic Republic of Congo army (FARDC), largely unreported until now, began in South Kivu province, bordering Rwanda and Burundi, on 15 February and is being extended into North Kivu, bordering Uganda, this month.
The push into remote areas in the west and north of the two provinces is targeting the Rwandan Hutu rebel group the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), local armed groups known as mai-mai, and remnants of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, sources said.
Fears are growing that civilians will be caught up in the offensive, dubbed Operation Perfect Peace, and that the fragile calm of the past year, when the FARDC withdrew many of its regiments for reorganisation and retraining, will be shattered.
“The international community is struggling to keep a lid on eastern Congo,” said Anais Lafite, Oxfam’s provincial co-ordinator for South Kivu, based in Bukavu. “They are trying to maintain the status quo for fear that worse might follow … About 100,000 people have already been displaced since last October. It’s estimated the current operation could displace a further 100,000.”
Pictured: Supporters of Joseph Kabila in Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Kabila has not been seen in public for two months and a new government has yet to be formed. Photograph: AFP
Court convicts former Congolese warlord of using child soldiers
REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — The International Criminal Court in the Hague on Wednesday found former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of using children as soldiers, the first verdict in the panel’s 10-year history. He could face life imprisonment.
After a three-year trial, the court convicted Lubanga of recruiting boys and girls as soldiers during a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003.
The verdict was seen as a major breakthrough in forcing warlords and politicians to be accountable for atrocities and crimes against humanity, sending a message that international justice eventually would catch up with them.
Three victims gave evidence during the trial, while others participated indirectly, such as by making submissions to the court. The evidence said girls forcibly recruited by Lubanga were used as sex slaves, while videos aired in court showed Lubanga surrounded by child combatants.
The verdict sent a clear message that recruiting and using children as combatants or sex slaves is a crime against humanity. Tens of thousands of children continue to be used in wars across the continent, according to humanitarian agencies.
Pictured: Photo: Former Congolese rebel commander Thomas Lubanga, center, sits in a courtroom at the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Wednesday. Credit: Evert-Jan Daniels / EPA
By one estimate, more than 1,000 women are assaulted every day. One of the few places women can turn is HEAL Africa, where women work to shake off atrocities they have faced and deal with their traumatic injuries.
Police stood guard in central Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Friday after incumbent Joseph Kabila was declared winner of the country’s Nov. 28 presidential election. Hours later, an opposition leader told French TV that he considers himself to be the president.
[Credit : Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images]
The Democratic Republic of Congo country now embarks on “two very tense weeks” as ballots are counted in the second democratic elections since a bloody war involving eight African nations from 1998 to 2003.
These are the first run by the government and not the international community.
(Photo: Congolese queue to vote at a polling station in Goma during the presidential and legislative elections on November 28, 2011. SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)