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Monday, 30 July 2012

Hillary jets in to meet Museveni over the worsening security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: oh! Really


Fooling us about Uganda’s neutrality in the Congo Conflict!!! Militarizing the Congo to help USA and allies to rape Congo resources: DRC troops, civilians fleeing to Uganda after rebel clashes



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Hillary jets in to meet Museveni over DR Congo


Posted  Sunday, July 29  2012 at  01:00
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is expected in the country on Thursday, to discuss with President Museveni the worsening security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, highly-placed sources have confirmed.

A diplomat, who asked not to be named because the secretary’s planned trip is still being kept secret for security reasons, said the two leaders will also discuss the uncertainty surrounding political transition when mandate of the Sheikh Sheriff-led Transitional Federal Government lapses next month.

Ms Elise Crane, the acting public affairs officer at the US Mission in Kampala, said when contacted on Friday, “We have no comment at this point in time.”

There is growing unease, according to one senior Uganda government official, among international actors that Somalia could slip into deeper anarchy and AU peacekeepers’ (Amisom) gains on peace restoration reversed, if the expected transition is mismanaged.

The Ugandan military constitutes the largest contingent of Amisom’s 17, 000 troops that has flushed al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militants out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu and posted great battlefield successes on their chase in the countrywide.

The ungovernable DR Congo

By John Njoroge 

Posted  Sunday, July 29  2012 at  01:00

In Summary
There are about 15 known rebel groups and countless other outfits that are vying for a piece of the mineral rich but troubled country.

The ‘inexplicable silence’- the Silence of indecision; by leaders in the Great Lakes Region, over the recurrent mayhem in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), seems to reverberate a consensus few commentators have dared utter in public; that the DR Congo cannot be governed as one.

Not that these leaders fail to go verbose castigating and condemning unrest but as the saying goes; “actions speak louder than words.” This uncomfortable silence is not only restricted to the region, but the entire African continent. World condemnation of the violence, the human rights violations, the thieving and plundering witnessed in the last 50 years, although welcome, has done little to stop the re-emergence of violence.

For 50 plus years, the DRC has been unstable and ungovernable. The Belgian King Leopold was star struck by Congo’s beauty, riches and enormity; he greedily curved it out for himself. “Congo-Kinshasa” is the third largest country in Africa. At 2,345,410 square kilometers (905,563 square miles), it shares borders with the Central African Republic, the Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, the Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, Angola, and the Republic of the Congo Brazzaville. It also has a small coastline of 37 kilometers (23 miles) on the South Atlantic Ocean.

It’s endowed with all manner of mineral wealth, petroleum, timber, natural gas and agricultural potential no nation in the entire world can match. In one region alone, the Katanga region, all manner of mineral wealth can be found, in some cases so close to the surface of the earth.

And so it has been that the entire world has had an involuntary attraction to this “Eden”. The most powerful governments and persons on earth have a finger in the Congo, waiting for the opportune moment “to tap”.

Eastern DRC most especially has seen some of the worst episodes of rebellion, violence and plunder the country has had to endure. To-date is not easy to get a proper audit of the numerous armed groups roaming its vast forest plundering and thieving. Some are merely armed tribesmen fighting each other while others are organized crime syndicates, hired guns working for barons.

Some notable groups, in Eastern Congo especially, have shown direct challenge to the authority of the DRC government. The latest clash that has seen over 80,000 Congolese refugees streaming into Uganda has been between army mutineers calling themselves the M23.

Actively and on the surface led by Col. Sultan Makenga, a former deputy to Gen. Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP, the M23 is a manifestation of Gen Nkunda’s former CNDP. The name originates from a March 23rd 2009 memorandum with the Kinshasa administration.

Witnessed and facilitated by former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa and former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo the March 2009 agreement brought an end to the CNDP as politico-military movement.

Its members were to be immediately integrated into the Congolese National army and Congolese police. CNDP would then transform into a political party. Kinsasha would then release CNDP political prisoner and send them to their homes.

Electoral and political reforms were to be considered. Amnesty for past crimes by CNDP partisans was a subject to be tabled in parliament. Local tribunals were to be formed to resolve conflicts as government undertook to declare North and South Kivu disaster areas. It was also agreed that the Congolese government would immediately initiate the return of Congolese refugees and kick-start development project.

The memorandum hit a snag.

According to the M23 Political Coordinator Bishop Jean Marie Runinga, Kinshasa was adamant to live up to its side of the accord. Minority ethnic group that were now affiliated to the CNDP began to face persecution. At a barracks in Masisi, a punch-up ensued, ejecting Col Makenga and scores of other FARDC colonels into the bush. Several attempts at peace between Kinshasa and the mutineers have in the last three years hit a snag.

It’s once loyalist Gen Bosco Ntaganda, now wanted by the ICC for war crimes broke away from the group and formed his own splinter group comprising mainly of child soldiers. In the months that followed, Gen Ntaganda is said to have overseen the killing of several M23 loyalist, an act that has since infuriated his fellow mutineers.
In April the M23 unleashed terror, capturing strategic towns in Eastern DRC. By July, the group had taken over two Uganda-Congo border points and one Congo-Rwanda border point.

On July 11, the group unveiled its political wing and threatened to take over the town of Goma. The UN reacted by surrounding Goma and firing rockets in the Rumangabo hills, close to M23 frontlines. A recent UN report has accused neighbouring Rwanda of funning this conflict and supporting the M23. The United States subsequently slashed $200,000 in defense aid to the country and just a week later, its head of the US war crimes office Stephen Rapphas, warned Rwanda’s leaders, including President Paul Kagame, that they could face prosecution at the international criminal court for arming groups responsible for atrocities in the DRC.

Kigali has denied being complicit, saying the DRC has had its fair share of troubles over the decades. Rwanda’s incursion into Eastern DRC was, according to President Kagame, in search of the 1994 Rwanda genocidals, the FDLR who are hiding in the DRC.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) comprises of EX- Rwanda forces of the Habyarimana regime, mainly composed of Hutu extremists- the Intarahamwe. Under the commander as Gen. Sylvestre Mudacumura, FDLR has controlled numerous splinter groups operating far apart between the North and South Kivu provinces in eastern Congo.

In south Kivu remnants of FDLR can be found in areas of Bunyakili, Walungu, Shabunda, Katale, Kalehe and Nyabiondo. In North Kivu, they are prominent in the areas of Walikale, Masisi, Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Lubero among others.

FDLR have been fighting FARDC- the Congolese government forces that have been in most cases pursuing the rebels along with the Rwandan Defence forces (RDF). Ugandan rebel groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Allied Defence Force (ADF) have from time to time made the DRC their centres of operation. In the process, they have also plundered raped and killed innocent Congolese civilians.

The Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) has made several incursions into the Congo in pursuit of these rebels, only they too allegedly became involved in plunder of the Congo’s resources. The list of rebels in the DRC is endless. Some groups we may never know. The UN has however maintained a presence in the Congo in form of two peacekeeping forces- Monuc and Monusco. Their mandate is, however, peace keeping and not enforcement. They have been accused of standing by as human rights violations are committed.

Congo’s 11 neighbours recently resolved to form a neutral force that would police the Eastern Congo to rid it of all these rebel groups. It is still not clear how this force will be constituted and where its pay will come from.

Fighting has resumed between M23 and government forces. The UN has said it will intervene if attacked and if civilian lives are at risk. Arguably however, this is the Congo’s biggest test of endurance since the ousting of Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.