Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

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Sentenza
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Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

Unread post by Sentenza » October 29th, 2008, 11:21 am

By Yves Boussen and Hez Holland

GOMA, Congo, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Congolese rebel forces advanced on the eastern city of Goma on Wednesday, threatening to overwhelm government troops and a 17,000-strong U.N. force deployed to halt a return to all-out war.

Most civilian staff evacuated the U.N. headquarters north of the lakeside town for a compound on the shore of Lake Kivu nearer the Rwandan border and accessible by boat, staff said.

Four days of fighting since Tutsi rebels launched a new offensive on Sunday have displaced tens of thousands of civilians in North Kivu province, racked by continuous violence despite the end of Congo's 1998-2003 regional war.

Neighbouring Rwanda, whose 1994 genocide is intricately tied up in years of ethnic bloodshed in eastern Congo, accused Congolese forces of shooting across the nearby border.

"There was an incursion at the border when Congolese forces of FARDC (army) fired into Rwanda," Rwandan Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali told Reuters in Rwanda's capital Kigali.

Rwandan troops did not pursue the Congolese troops, she said.

However, FARDC Colonel Jonas Padiri told a Reuters reporter at Kibati, at the entrance to Congo's Virunga National Park around 10 km (6 miles) north of Goma, that his forces had been targeted by incoming fire from the Rwandan side of the border.

"It started during the night and continued until just now. I have no orders to fire," Padiri said, as blasts and flashes of weaponry could be heard and seen coming from the border area.

"Well, you can see for yourself that it's coming from the Rwandan side," Padiri said.

The Reuters reporter could not verify which side of the border the blasts were coming from.

The U.N. peacekeeping force MONUC has been backing Congolese troops in operations against rebel Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP).

The CNDP accuses Congo's army of collaborating with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes Hutu militias and former Rwandan soldiers responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

RETREAT TOWARDS GOMA

Congolese army troops pulled back to Kibati early on Wednesday after being attacked from the north and east, a day after rebels entered Rutshuru, 70 km (45 miles) to the north.

"Nkunda keeps saying that he is going to take Goma. All that stands between him and Goma are the Indians, and some of the Indian commanders are not interested in fighting," said a Western diplomat, referring to MONUC's Indian contingent.

The head of MONUC said it was "stretched to the limit".

"I obviously hope we can get some additional support as quickly as possible, so that we can move this process back on the right track," MONUC chief Alan Doss said late on Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council expressed "grave concern" and called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties.

MONUC confirmed that CNDP fighters were present in Rutshuru on Tuesday but a spokesman for the mission said peacekeepers had not withdrawn from the town.

MONUC has pledged to defend Rutshuru and Goma, as well as the towns of Sake and Masisi, from attack.

But government soldiers retreating in chaos from Rutshuru turned on the peacekeepers on Tuesday night, attacking a MONUC base 35 km northwest of the town, wounding at least two peacekeepers, MONUC sources told Reuters.

Around 250,000 civilians have fled their homes in North Kivu since a January peace deal collapsed in August. Nearly 850,000 had been displaced in the previous two years, the United Nations says. Congo's 1998-2003 war and the resulting humanitarian crisis have killed an estimated 5.4 million people.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LT81590.htm


Same shit different day. And Uganda is participating too hoping to be able to exploit some of Congos mineral ressources.

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Re: Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

Unread post by Sentenza » October 29th, 2008, 11:22 am

The Congo wars: a residue of Rwanda’s genocide

Tormented by protracted war, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entered a new wave of violence. Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda's rebel fighters are close to entering Goma, the regions main city. Some 30,000 civilians left their homes, while Rwandan troops have entered Congo once again. The Congo wars are driven by ethnic strife but everyone wants to share in its mineral riches as well.

Laurent Nkunda, who heads several thousand rebel soldiers, has been fighting Hutu militias for years but has turned the gun at the Congolese authorities as well, accusing them of discriminating against the country's Tutsi minority. In the past three days, his self-proclaimed ‘national liberation movement' National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) has seized several strategic positions from the army on the road to Goma, despite a January ceasefire. Kinshasa says Rwanda backs Nkunda.

The Rwanda connection
The former psychology student Laurent Nkunda Batware (1967) was born in Congo. He is one of the sons of thousands of Rwanda's Tutsi's who fled the country's first wave of ethnic killings in the aftermath Rwanda's independence in 1962. After the Hutu take-over, many Tutsi's sought refuge in Uganda and Congo which led to the formation of a large Tutsi Diaspora in the Great Lakes Region.

When current President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) started its rebellion against the Hutu regime in 1990, many youngsters from the Diaspora fought along, including Nkunda who joined the rebels in 1993. After four years of civil war, Rwandan Hutu extremists saw only one way out: genocide. In merely a hundred days some 800,000 Tutsi's and moderate Hutu's were slaughtered. Nkunda was a witness to the bloodbath.

Kagame's fighters eventually won the war and chased Rwandan army and government officials, as well as militias who fled into Congo. Rwanda invaded Congo twice in an effort to rout the Rwandan Hutu extremists, first in a 1996-1997 war, and again in a 1998-2002 war. Nkunda was amongst the Rwandan Tutsi fighters but soon joined Congolese rebels, headed by Laurent-Desire Kabila, the father of the current President Joseph Kabila who in 1997 overthrew the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko with the help of the Rwanda.

In 1998, after the senior Kabila broke off ties with his former Rwandan allies, Nkunda became one of the commanders of the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) backed by Kigali during the regional conflict which shook ex-Zaire until 2003.

After the war, in 2004, when the RCD joined the coalition government in Kinshasa, Nkunda was promoted to general. A position he refused, saying the reform of the army was unreliable and would not provide for the promised national reconciliation. He retreated with hundreds of his former troops to the forests of Masisi in North Kivu where he still lingers.

Protecting Tutsi's and wealth
Nkunda claims to be protecting Congolese Tutsis, known as the Banyamulenge, from genocide. He accuses the Congolese army of supporting Rwandan Hutu rebels, who were involved in the 1994 genocide, and are now based in the east of the DRC. Nkunda and Rwanda have been fighting the Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), which is composed of ethnic Hutus, opposed to Tutsi rule and influence in the region. The group's military forces had dropped significant in the past few years.

But Rwandan Tutsi's, it seems, are leaving the overpopulated Rwanda and are settling in Congo. It is said that Rwanda uses Nkunda's rebels to safe keep Rwanda's interests. The rebel leader receives military material and other support from Rwandan officials and civilians. His rebels control the mineral rich area around the small town of Masisi, from where Rwandans export Congo's minerals. Nkunda has always denied receiving support from Kigali, even though his men, estimated at 5,000 by the United Nations, wear Rwandan uniforms and are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment.

The conflict, however, is not only fuelled by ethnic strife. Nkunda's rebellion roots in other interests as well. Kivu is a fruitful region and its soil holds a real treasure in minerals: gold, coltan and diamonds. There is valuable tropical wood too. Kivu's minerals constitute an economy worth billions. But there are no rules. Rwandan, Ugandan, Congolese governments and rebels all seek a piece of the pie, regardless of human life.

Atrocities
Although Nkunda fought in both the Rwandan and Congolese conflicts, he first came to widespread notice when he led the brutal repression of an attempted mutiny in Kisangani in 2002, where more than 160 persons were summarily executed. Two years later, Nkunda and troops loyal to him took control of the South Kivu town of Bukavu, claiming to stop genocide of Congolese Tutsi. During the fighting, Nkunda's troops are alleged of carrying out war crimes, killing and raping civilians and looting their property.

In September 2005 the government issued an international arrest warrant for Nkunda. Since then he has remained at large even though provincial government authorities, the Congolese army and UN peacekeeping forces knew of his whereabouts. Local journalists and civil society sources reported his frequent visits to Goma, seat of the North Kivu provincial government, and a major operations centre for Congolese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers.

http://www.rnw.nl/internationaljustice/ ... 1029-congo

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Re: Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

Unread post by Sentenza » October 31st, 2008, 7:22 am

Seriously, i think Africa would need some strong, non corrupt leaders that clean up the whole mess.

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Re: Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

Unread post by $outhPhillypuppet » October 31st, 2008, 8:22 am

thats not gonna happen anytime soon.

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Re: Congo rebels advance on Goma, Rwanda border tense

Unread post by Sentenza » October 31st, 2008, 8:27 am

$outhPhillypuppet wrote:thats not gonna happen anytime soon.

Yea, too much corruption & tribal warfare going on and too few people who can see through the bs.

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