Below is a non-exhaustive digest of recent events in Congo.
- FARDC reportedly sustained 217 deaths and 444 wounded when fighting ADF, who allegedly lost at least 516 cbts.
- Despite Morgan’s death (for more see here), his group continues to be active. On 9 May, they attacked the army in Orientale Province (Muchacha, Bandegaido, Mambasa). They reportedly killed 1 soldier and wounded 3 others.
Mai Mai Yakutumba:
- As of 8 May, the army (1004th regiment) continued to fight MM Yakutumba in South Kivu (Fizi territory, Ngandja).
A new rebel group:
- MONUSCO reports the birth of a new armed group, the PPH (Protection of Hutu People). They’re composed of FDLR-FOCA, FDLR-RUD, and Nyatura elements. They are reportedly based in southern Lubero territory (120 km north of Goma), Masisi, and Rutshuru. We’ll inquire further.
- IRIN News with a feature on the availability of weapons in Congo.
- Here’s an excellent infographic of a who-is-who in Congolese politics.
- Spokesperson of the GoDRC repelled criticism of the Minova verdict, arguing that “nobody has a right to judge our lawyers.”
- China on Sunday signed a deal to build a $3.8-billion rail link between Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa and Nairobi, the first stage of a line that will eventually link Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
- WWF reported to authorities today that staff members have received death threats linked to the organization’s opposition to oil exploration in Virunga National Park.
- “In Rwanda, finding echoes of Germany” by NYT’s Nicholas Kulish.
- Uganda expects the bulk of its commercial oil production to start by the end of 2017 as it awaits a pipeline to export crude oil and a refinery to be built, the minister of energy and mineral development said.
- 500 members of the political wing of the M-23 have unanimously agreed to seek asylum after the Congolese government promised them a safe passage to the country that if they denounced rebellion. Some of them who spoke to Press TV say they were encouraged by the recent agreement between Kinshasa, the UNHCR and Kampala to repatriate Congolese refugees, who’ve been trapped in Uganda for months.
- “The top priority is going after the F.D.L.R.,” Mr. Feingold said. “The planning has been done. But President Kabila needs to give the green light to say it is time to take them on militarily.”
- “The people of this country have a right to have their Constitution respected,” Mr. Feingold said. “The Constitution here provides for two terms.”
- Kerry said the United States would contribute $30 million to help Congo hold elections. Much of the money will be provided to NGOs, but some $2 million will probably be provided to the nation’s electoral commission.
- Full remarks with Congo’s FM Tshibanda.
- VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reported that Kerry urged Kabila not to seek a third term. But Information Minister Lambert Mende said there is no way Kerry could have made such a remark because Kabila has not indicated whether he will stand in the 2016 elections.
- A US official stated: “I can say categorically that we’re ready to support them,” the official said when asked if Washington was ready to back the government’s demobilisation plan. “We are looking in our own budget for where we can provide additional funding for DRC,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “And we’ve identified some additional funding that we hope to be able to share with them.”
- Rwanda’s government paid contract killers to assassinate opponents and critics of President Paul Kagame, according to the Globe and Mail.
- The government granted amnesty to another 100 people, incl. 25 rebels from Bakata Katanga, and five from M23. (See also Jeune Afrique‘s commentary).
- More than 4,000 people reportedly fled Walikale territory (Oninga, Rama, Pinga) to seek refuge in Lubero territory (Kasugho, Mabombi, Fatua).
- Following the launch of an investigation into Morgan’s death, authorities reportedly arrested FARDC Major Enock Kinzambi, commander of the FARDC battalion in Mambasa, Orientale Province, on 29 April. He’s the first suspect. Radio France International reports he was arrested because he had lied that Morgan had been disarmed. For background and analysis of his death, see my earlier blog post.
- Two days ago, APCLS killed six FARDC soldiers, wounding another peacekeeper in Nyabondo in Masisi territory (45 miles north of Goma). For a good analysis of the attack and APCLS, see African Defense Review.
- Orland von Einsiedel – director of the new documentary about the Virunga National Park in eastern Congo – gave an interview to National Geographic, discussing his film, the park and activities by the British oil company SOCO.
- Global Post highlights the upcoming verdict in the Minova rape trials due May 5th.
- Uganda will begin repatriating as many as 184,000 DRC refugees after a large number of them asked to go home, a junior minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
- Governor of North Kivu calls on Sheka to surrender.
- New video about the circumstances about rebel leader Morgan. See also my earlier blog post on his death.
- Some ADF hostages reportedly returned to Beni town. TBC.
- Général Ramadhan Abdoul Kimweri is the new chief of FIB.
- ICGLR’s Joint Verification Mechanism faces financial difficulties. Let’s keep that in mind for our forthcoming AG research.
- Buffett, Tutu and Branson published an op-ed in the HPost “New Troubles at the Gates of Virunga.” When we hear of an outside investor claiming that this time will be different and “the people” will benefit from their country’s riches, forgive us if we disagree, especially as these explorations are illegal according to DRC and international law.
- The opposition has now collected 50,000 signatures for its petition to have the controversial chief of the electoral commission sacked.
- Main opposition leader Tshisekedi (UPDS) rejects the holding of local elections in its current contours.
- The UNSCR will adopt today the first stand-alone resolution on SSR.
- Energy experts from Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda are meeting in Kigali to fine-tune details in agreements that will see a mega joint hydro power project on River Rusizi start delivering 147MW of electricity in the next four years.
- New map of IDPs in Congo.
- Introspection by @MSF about the Rwandan genocide.
- Using Twitter as a means to gather defence intelligence in DRC.
25 April 2014
- Who will benefit from the amnesty law in Congo? Here’s a list of 271 lucky ones. More here.
- MONUSCO said it’s ready to assist with the return of grantees of amnesty.
- Op-ed by former head of ICTJ: “How to tackle the DRC’s complex anti-impunity agenda.”
- Goma-based think tank Pole Institute released a new report on DDR III (French only).
Armed groups, security:
- Security situation in Rutshuru territory remains fragile. Police commander admits inability to provide security, saying army needs to come back.
- The South Sudanese army entered DRC b/t 18-22 Apr in Orientale Province (Bitima, Dungu). They reportedly killed 2 Mbororo pastoralists and nearly thirty cows. Map here.
Regional Economic Integration:
- The World Bank approved $100 m grant for Burundi to fund 2 hydropower projects; will almost double electricity output.
- The Economist argues “Burundi shows how African countries can reduce their dependence on aid [via taxation].”
- On 29 April, the Human Rights Council’s in Geneva will examine human rights records of the GoDRC.
- WWF condemns Soco seismic testing in Virunga