Παρασκευή, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2008

DR Congo .. again..



http://garizo.blogspot.com/2008/10/mambo-jumbo-congo-dr-congo-rebels.html
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The rebel general NKUNDA has called a ceasefire in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, stopping short of seizing Goma, one of the largest towns in the region. Some 20,000 people have fled the advance of Gen Laurent Nkunda's troops. They join an estimated one million already displaced in the region, raising fears of another humanitarian disaster.
What is the conflict about?
For years fighting in DR Congo has been fuelled the country's vast mineral wealth.
DR Congo is about the size of western Europe, but with no road or rail links from one side of the country to the other. A five-year war - sometimes termed "Africa's world war" as it drew in Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda - ended in 2003 with the formation of a transitional government and the subsequent holding of elections.
Gen Nkunda's forces started fighting again in August 2008, after a lull following a peace deal signed in January.
Why has the fighting broken out again?
Gen Nkunda has always said he is fighting to protect his Tutsi community from attack by Rwandan Hutu rebels, some of whom are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide. The Congolese government has often promised to stop the Hutu forces from using its territory, but has not done so.
The latest deadline was apparently the end of August - just when the fighting blew up again.
After declaring his current ceasefire, Gen Nkunda told the Associated Press that he wanted to talk to the government about his objections to a $5bn (£3.1bn) deal that gives China access to the region's mineral resources - such as gold and coltan, which is used to make mobile phones.
Does Gen Nkunda have sponsors?
The Congolese government has accused Rwanda of backing Gen Nkunda, with troops and heavy artillery. Rwanda denies the claims but it has twice invaded its much larger neighbour in recent years. Rwanda's president is Paul Kagame - a former Tutsi rebel who ended the genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The Congolese army has been accused of working with the Hutu rebels both on the battlefield and in exploiting the region's mines. So it is plausible that Rwanda could be using Gen Nkunda's forces to put pressure on DR Congo to finally live up to its promises to disarm the Hutu militias.
What is the UN doing?
The UN has 17,000 peacekeepers in DR Congo - its largest mission in the world.
Some Congolese accuse the UN of doing nothing - just being "tourists" - and have attacked their offices in Goma. But the UN mission has sent helicopter gunships to help stop the rebel advance on Goma and has asked for extra forces to help stop the fighting.

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http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/10/2008103132737789516.html
Laurent Nkunda, the leader of the rebel group that has been advancing on the Democratic Republic of Congo's city of Goma, has called for direct talks with the government.
The government has not yet responded to Nkunda's request, but direct talks could build upon a ceasefire, which has halted much of the fighting in the country's turbulent east. Meanwhile, the United States and the United Nations have sent envoys to help set up negotiations. Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera on Thursday, Nkunda said: "If the government can accept the call, we are ready to talk. We support the position of the international community [to stop fighting]. That's why we are in a ceasefire. "This was a way to show that we are not for fighting, but for peace."
But Nkunda said his National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) had some conditions for the government.
"We want them also to cease firing, because they are the ones attacking us. Second, we want them to respect humanitarian laws, because they are killing [people]. "And we want them to accept that we can have a mediator, so that we can really have peace talks."
Shaky ceasefire
In a letter to the UN mission in Kinshasa, DRC's capital, the rebels said that they were opening humanitarian corridors for refugees camped outside the city. Tens of thousands of residents, refugees and government troops have fled Goma, despite rebel forces declaring a ceasefire. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard on Thursday night in Goma, the provincial capital of eastern Congo, but the city was calm for much of the day.
Marie-Roger Biloa, editor of Africa International, a monthly news magazine, told Al Jazeera that the central government in the DRC is very weak."There really is not much that the government can do in this conflict," she said."Despite the international community expressing its support, the rebels clearly have the upper hand here, and it is ultimately dialogue that is needed, not further violence." The Kinshasa government accuses neighbouring Rwanda of supporting Nkunda, an ethnic Tutsi.
'Catastrophic' situation
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the humanitarian situation in Goma is "catastrophic," with two hospitals having been sacked by looters on Thursday.
Government forces were reported to have fled on Wednesday night, relocating their tanks to the south on the road to Bukavu, in Sud-Kivu province. However, fleeing government forces have been accused of carrying out violence, including theft and rape.
The UN said Congo was facing a "humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions" [AFP]UN tanks had been drawn into position around the peacekeeping force's headquarters near the airport to the north of Goma. Madnodje Mounoubai, a UN spokesman, said that peacekeepers were also deployed at other strategic points.Alain Le Roy, the head of UN peacekeeping operations, said an estimated 800 troops from the UN mission in DRC (Monuc) were currently patrolling Goma.
"We are trying to bring additional troops to protect the civilians in Goma in the coming three to seven days," he said. The reinforcements would be sent from other parts of DR Congo where Monuc has about 17,000 troops. People carrying whatever they could carry streamed out of Goma on Wednesday, while another 45,000 refugees fled a makeshift camp in the nearby village of Kibati. The camp, just north of Goma, had seen an influx of 30,000 people over the past three days joining the 15,000 already there, after the CNDP launched a major offensive in the North Kivu region.Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has warned that the conflict was "creating a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions, and threatens dire consequences on a regional scale".
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SA: Another top ANC member resigns
Is Mbeki the cause of resignations?
A top member of South Africa`s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has resigned. The former Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) president Willy Madisha becomes the latest to deepen the woes of the ANC.
Addressing a group of hawkers and some disgruntled ANC members at Burgersfort in Limpopo, the trade union president said his resignation letter was ready and that he would send it to the party soon.An Sabcnews.com report on Thursday said about 200 community members mainly women hawkers came to listen to Madisha. It added that the majority of them complained about lack of service delivery in their area. Madisha follows other renowned people like former minister Monsoiur Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa who already resigned and are determined to form a new party.The ANC has faced troubles since former president Thabo Mbeki announced his resignation before Kgalema Motlanthe took over. Jacob Zuma is the ANC president and is determined to become South Africa’s next president next year.

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