November 27, 2012

In Focus: Rebel Attacks in Eastern Congo

For the past five months, a newly formed rebel group in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been attacking government forces and seizing small towns, and it just took control of the city of Goma a week ago. The movement, called the March 23 Movement (M23), is made up of former members of previous rebel groups and is largely a continuation of hostilities in the region that date back to the First Congo War in 1996. Amid a complicated web of proxy battles, political posturing, defections, and re-defections, M23 rebel forces (purportedly supported by Rwanda) have fought fierce battles against DR Congo government troops and local Mai-Mai militias, sending civilians fleeing for shelter. UN peacekeeping forces in the region have not resisted the advances of the rebels, claiming their duty is to protect civilians, not to act as a substitute national army. Several hundred rebels, soldiers, and civilians have reportedly been killed, and many more wounded, so far. At the moment, M23 refuses to leave Goma and has a stated intention of overthrowing the national government.

See more. [Images: Getty, Reuters, AP]

3:56pm
  
Filed under: Violence War Congo United Nations 
July 11, 2011
Is Your Cell Phone Fueling Civil War in Congo?

Pick up any household electronic — a phone, a remote, or a laptop — and it could contain minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where armed rebel groups connected with crimes of rape and murder profit from trade of these minerals.
Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold mined in the eastern part of the DRC are said to finance the armed rebel groups that contribute to the ongoing violence in the country.
Congo’s second war officially ended in 2003 when a transitional government took over after the signing of peace agreements between African nations. But the fighting still persists. The DRC army has launched several attacks on the civilian population and armed rebel groups have risen up to fight against them. Tensions between the two factions are perpetuated by the profits to be made from the mining industry.
According to a study released by the International Rescue Committee in 2008, the war in the DRC and its aftermath is the deadliest conflict since World War II. An estimated 5.4 million people have been killed in the country since 1998 and 45,000 deaths occur each month—a loss equivalent to the entire population of Colorado.

Read more at The Atlantic
This post was produced in part thanks to funds from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Follow them on Twitter @PulitzerCenter or on Tumblr.

Is Your Cell Phone Fueling Civil War in Congo?

Pick up any household electronic — a phone, a remote, or a laptop — and it could contain minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where armed rebel groups connected with crimes of rape and murder profit from trade of these minerals.

Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold mined in the eastern part of the DRC are said to finance the armed rebel groups that contribute to the ongoing violence in the country.

Congo’s second war officially ended in 2003 when a transitional government took over after the signing of peace agreements between African nations. But the fighting still persists. The DRC army has launched several attacks on the civilian population and armed rebel groups have risen up to fight against them. Tensions between the two factions are perpetuated by the profits to be made from the mining industry.

According to a study released by the International Rescue Committee in 2008, the war in the DRC and its aftermath is the deadliest conflict since World War II. An estimated 5.4 million people have been killed in the country since 1998 and 45,000 deaths occur each month—a loss equivalent to the entire population of Colorado.

Read more at The Atlantic

This post was produced in part thanks to funds from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Follow them on Twitter @PulitzerCenter or on Tumblr.

March 2, 2011
Who Tried to Kill Congo's President?

As the Democratic Republic of Congo’s fledgling democracy prepares for its second-ever set of presidential elections this November, an attempted assassination — or possibly coup — has brought instability to the capital city and heightened concerns about the fragility of the state and of its leader’s grasp on power. Though the attack failed, it has raised questions about how long President Joseph Kabila can hang on.

On Sunday afternoon, gunshots were heard in Kinshasa’s exclusive Gombe neighborhood. At least 14 men attempted to take control of the presidential palace there; others possibly attacked the nearby Kokolo military camp, although it’s still not clear what happened there. Congolese Minister of Information and Media Lambert Mende told UN-backed Radio Okapi that a “heavily armed group” had infiltrated the palace but was stopped after a shoot-out with Republican Guard members. “Six of the assailants fell, some were arrested, another group fled and was pursued by police and Republican Guard.” He added, “There is really no reason to panic.”

Read the rest at The Atlantic

12:32pm
  
Filed under: international congo 
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