War Against Women

CNN’s Anderson Cooper went to the Congo and filmed a documentary. Here is a part of that film:

War Against Women

It won’t let me embed the video but please click the link and watch. It’s about 12 minutes long. It will give you a deeper understanding of what’s going on.

Help us help them!

JG*

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Surge in fleeing Congo refugees

From The Daily Telegraph

THE number of people fleeing northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo to southern Sudan has surged to 15,000 amid more violence by Ugandan rebels, the UN refugee agency said today.

Last October, the United Nations estimated just a third of that number had arrived in southern Sudan.However, the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army has launched a fresh spate of attacks following a joint operation by Congolese, Ugandan and south Sudanese forces to flush out the rebels.”The LRA has reportedly splintered up into different groups, they are moving in a wide area of northern DR Congo in different groups, attacking civilians,” said Ron Redmond, spokesman for the United High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR.)

The Congolese town of Aba has been attacked by rebels several times since January. The latest attack on Aba occurred as recently as last week, leading many to flee to Lasu, a town in southern Sudan, said Mr Redmond. The refugee population in Lasu has now swelled from 2000 to 6000, he said. While the refugees are in good health, Mr Redmond said it was “critical” to move them away from border areas both for security reasons as well as to ease aid distribution. Unconfirmed reports from local residents indicated that the rebels were also active in southern Sudan, and had looted property and abducted 12 people from a town nine kilometres from Lasu, he said.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Congolese provinces of Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu, more Rwandan refugees desperate to flee violence have been seeking repatriation help from the UNHCR. In the first six weeks of this year, 3000 Rwandans returned to Rwanda, adding to the 8000 who returned in 2008, said Mr Redmond. “We expect the return of thousands more Rwandan civilians, some of whom fled to the DRC after the Rwandan genocide in 1994,” he said. Congolese refugees are also crossing from Nord-Kivu into Uganda, with some 47,000 having done so since a fresh round of fighting last August. Several conflicts are taking place at the same time in eastern DR Congo, leading to mass outflows of people seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Just another interesting article that focuses more on the now-growing situation in The Congo.

JG*

Rebels warn of fresh clashes in DRC

From Mail & Gaurdian Online

The leader of Rwandan Hutu rebels on Wednesday predicted that intense fighting would erupt within days in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid an expected assault by government forces on rebel positions.

“They have finished getting into position on the ground. We are expecting real clashes in the coming days,” said Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) chairperson Ignace Murwanashyaka.

The fighting would take place “not just on one front, there will be 20 or 30 fronts,” he told AFP by telephone from Germany, adding that his men were “permanently on the move”.

Rwanda and DRC launched a joint military operation on January 20 against the FDLR, which has been based in eastern Congo for more than a decade.

Elements of the FDLR, at the centre of years of instability in the region, are believed to have taken part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide of 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Murwanashyaka told AFP that sporadic clashes had taken place in eastern DRC’s Nord-Kivu province over the previous two days, but that his FDLR has not suffered any casualties.

He denied reports that some FDLR elements had begun to surrender as “completely false” and said the reports may refer to Hutu refugees preparing to flee the fighting.

Aid agencies have expressed concern about the humanitarian consequences of further fighting in eastern DRC, where more than one million people have been displaced.

UN peacekeepers to lend support
It was also reported on Wednesday that UN peacekeepers in the DRC will provide logistical support to the joint DRC-Rwanda operation against Rwandan Hutu rebels.

“Monuc [UN mission in the DRC] is going to give logistical support to the current operation.

“Our priority is to protect civilians, and Monuc cannot stay on the sidelines of this operation. We must be present,” said the UN mission’s spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich.

Dietrich said Monuc’s role in the operation would be to provide transport for troops and medical assistance.

“But we will not participate directly in the operation,” he said.

Monuc will also participate in the process of integrating members of another rebel movement of ethnic Tutsis who took control of parts of eastern DRC last year. 

The group’s leader, Laurent Nkunda, was arrested in Rwanda on January 22.

“The government has also asked us to help with identification, education and training” of fighters, Dietrich said.

However, a ceremony set to be held in the Rumangabo military camp to begin the week-long integration process was postponed at the last minute on Wednesday.

Diplomats, UN officials, army top brass and rebel commanders and their men were present at the camp, about 50km north of regional capital Goma.

It was postponed indefinitely for “logistical and technical reasons,” according to Captain Olivier Hamuli, a spokesperson for the DRC army.

Army commanders were meeting in Goma to discuss the issue, he added.

The ceremony had been expected to involve around 6 200 Tutsi fighters.

Earlier, Monuc said it had designated eight liaison officers “to improve communication and coordinate activities” of the joint operation.

Its civilian chief Alan Doss said the UN was insisting that the civilian population would be protected.

“We have reached a stage where the two countries have decided to put an end to the FDLR threat. We want to avoid any negative repercussions for the civilian population.”

Monuc was also engaged “in making all possible efforts” to convince FDLR elements to return voluntarily to Rwanda, he added.

In Kinshasa, the military spokesperson said Monuc forces would “deploy units westwards and northwards in order to protect the civilian populations near the FDLR zones.” — Sapa-AFP

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Well we know what this means. 

 

JG*