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In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) peacekeepers are trapped in the middle of the fight. Checkpoints are all over the North Kivu province and the UN personnel are not exempt from interrogation. The UN peacekeepers are forced to live with a precarious relationship with the various warring factions in the DRC, including the government army. The DRC's current government army is just a conglomerate of merged rebel armies and so there does not exist a common identity. You never know who you may have to deal with at a checkpoint. Recently a rebel leader in North Kivu surrendered to the UN forces. Kabila has given the green light to loyal troops to engage and disarm rebel General Nkundu. The recent fighting between government forces and rebels probably caused the small rebel group of about 30 to surrender. The resurgence of fighting has also brough with it human rights abuses. From 2005 - 2007, over 258 cases of rape were recorded along with 14,200 cases of sexual violence. Less than one percent of these made it to court. The UN Independent Expert on human rights has called for an end to the impunity of sexual violence cases and urged Kabila to take up a 'zero-tolerance' policy.
The conflict in the DRC is nothing new to the region. I would argue that the conflict began well before the assassination of the democratically elected leader, Lumumba, in 1961 and has only grown from there. After Lumumba was assassinated Mobutu Sese Seko gained power and ruled terribly for the next 32 years. He was overthrown by rebellion in 1997 by Laurent Kabila, who leader of the prominent rebel group. Unable to bring peace, Kabila faced his own rebel opposition until he was assassinated in 2001. Intense turmoil resumed in the DRC following Kabila's assassination, sparking a six country war including Rwanda and Uganda. In 2002 a peace deal was signed to officially end the DRC conflict, 17,000 UN troops were deployed and yet the conflict continues. In 2006 Laurent's son Joseph Kabila was elected in a tense, yet democratic and free election. Joseph Kabila faces opposition from his father's rule (as well as support from his father's popularity), calls that he is not Congolese - that his mother was Rwandan and he is not from the DRC, along with calls of corruption in his administration. When Joseph was born in Eastern Congo he was sent to live in hiding pretending to be part of a Tanzanian ethnic group. Later he recieved military training in China, which helps in the exploitation of the DRC's vast resources. J. Kabila has been able to broker a written peace, but how well can he create peace in reality?
From: !Enough: the project to abolish genocide + mass atrocities -
Dissident Congolese Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda's more than 3,000 loyal forces have carved out control of parts of North Kivu Province. The Congolese government has responded by realigning itself with the FDLR -- a militia composed of more than 6,000 Rwandan Hutu rebels, many with links to the 1994 genocide in their home country -- to fight Nkunda's more effective force. This threatens to draw Rwanda back into Congo's conflict, which would lead to rapid escalation and potentially plunge Congo back into regional war.
As I sat at the conference table waiting for the theorists to arrive, I tried to understand the causes for the Rwandan intervention into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1998. After some time passed I realized that no theorist was coming to confer their knowledge upon me, so I decided to seek them out myself. But before analyzing theories and dissecting Rwanda's intervention in the DRC in 1998 (Second Congolese War), one must note that there were preceding events during the 1996 intervention that triggered the second intervention. Rwanda intervened in the DRC in 1996 because it's newly empowered Tutsi regime realized that the DRC's leader, Mobutu Sese Seko, was in support of the Hutu refugees and ex-FAR/Interhamwe, groups who had perpetrated the 1994 genocide of Rwandan Tutsis (Curtis 3). With Mobutu's support and the foreign aid flowing into the Hutu refugee camps (from aid agencies and bureaucracies) located in the DRC the ex-FAR/ Interhamwe was regaining strength and re-organizing. The ex-FAR/ Interhamwe, with the encouragement of Mobutu and the Hutu government began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Congolese Tutsi. The Rwandan forces then intervened in 1996 in support of the rebel Congolese Tutsi units. The Rwandan forces had many victories and eventually the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo/DRC (ADFL) was formed with the Rwandan forces, Congolese Tutsis, and anti-Mobutu groups in the DRC.