Planet Watch
drc displaced

UN: record 100 million people displaced worldwide

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose to 90 million by the end of 2021, propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Burma, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2022, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country and forced some 6 million to flee the country as refugees. This has pushed the total displaced to over 100 million for the first time. (Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN News)

Africa
FNL

Olive branch as Burundi war spreads to DRC?

Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye announced that he is prepared to negotiate with the country’s two main rebel groups, should they reach out to his government. But it’s unclear if the rebels will do that, given ongoing operations against them. The National Liberation Forces (FNL) and the Resistance Movement for Rule of Law in Burundi (RED-Tabara) both have bases in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The latter, the stronger of the two, has conducted a string of attacks in Burundi since 2015—the year disputed elections triggered waves of political violence. Reports suggest significant numbers of Burundian troops have crossed into the DRC in recent months to track down RED-Tabara fighters. The group is one of a number of foreign rebel movements in DRC, where nearly three million people were displaced last year. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians, meanwhile, are still living in refugee camps, afraid to return to a country where the killing and torture of ruling party opponents is rife. (Image: Wikipedia)

Africa
Africa mining

Artisanal gold miners massacred in DRC

At least 35 people were killed when armed men raided a gold mining camp in Ituri province, in the conflicted northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Local authorities at the rural commune of Mungwalu blamed the attack on the CODECO rebel militia. A four-month-old baby was among the dead. The militiamen also looted and torched homes at Camp Blanquette, and seized quantities of extracted gold. Informal mines in the eastern DRC provide much of the country’s output of gold, cobalt and other minerals used in the global electronics industry. The minerals, extracted under dangerous and oppressive conditions, continue to be a goad to internal warfare by rival armed factions. (Photo via Africa Up Close)

Africa
congo

Confused DRC peace dialogue in Kenya

The first round of talks between armed groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo concluded in Nairobi. The Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wasn’t invited, however, while the Ituri-based CODECO was approached but didn’t attend. M23 representatives were meanwhile ordered out after their forces resumed clashes with the DRC military. The talks followed an East African Community summit in which heads of state agreed to set up a regional military force to fight rebels unwilling to lay down their arms. A UN peacekeeping mission operates in the DRC but is making drawdown plans. The Ugandan army is also intervening in the country, while martial law has been declared in the volatile eastern provinces for a year. Rebel attacks and abuses by soldiers continue, and nearly three million people were displaced last year alone. (Image: Pixabay)

Africa
kivu

DR Congo: M23 rebels stage bloody comeback

Thousands have been displaced after new fighting broke out between M23 rebels and the army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province. A UN helicopter was shot down (for which both sides blamed each other), and the fighting has sparked regional tensions as Kinshasa accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels (a charge Kigali denies). M23 was responsible for the last major rebellion in eastern DRC, seizing large chunks of territory 10 years ago before a joint UN-government offensive forced its fighters into Uganda and Rwanda. Efforts to demobilize the group stalled and a cluster of combatants have re-entered the DRC. The strength of the group remains unclear, as are its objectives. M23 is but one of over 100 armed groups active in eastern DRC. (Photo: Guy Hubbard/UNICEF)

Africa
DRC

ICJ: Uganda must pay conflict reparations to DRC

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Uganda must pay $325 million in reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for its involvement in the Ituri conflict two decades ago. The ruling is based on a 2005 ICJ finding that Uganda violated international law by engaging in military activities in the DRC after occupying the latter’s northeastern Ituri province. Uganda was held responsible for the killing and torture of civilians, destruction of entire villages, conscripting child soldiers, inciting ethnic conflict, and plundering of natural resources. The ICJ moved to determine the quantum of reparations after the two parties failed to come to terms. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
uganda

Uganda-DRC joint offensive against ISIS franchise

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are continuing to pursue a joint military offensive launched late last month against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group that is now said to be integrated into the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP). The ironically named ADF has carried out a string of recent attacks in Uganda, and has for years been terrorizing the DRC’s North Kivu province. The Ugandan and DRC militaries say they have captured some 35 fighters and “neutralized” four rebel camps. The campaign has included air raids and artillery strikes. (Photo via Africa Institute for Security Studies)

Africa
DRC

Martial law fails to stop killings in DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Senate once again extended martial law in two of the country’s eastern provinces, despite increasing criticism of the measure, which has done nothing to stem decades of violence. Since May, civilian officials in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been replaced by police and military figures. The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo has thrown its weight behind the measure, even as local rights groups accuse authorities of using the “state of siege” to curtail civil liberties. And attacks by armed groups have continued at the same rate as before, with at least 1,000 civilians killed since May, according to the Kivu Security Tracker. More than one million people have been internally displaced in eastern Congo so far this year. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
kampala

ISIS claims Uganda bomb attacks

A suicide bomber killed himself and injured several others on a bus as it travelled to the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The blast, on the road from the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed a bomb attack in a Kampala café two days earlier that killed a worker and injured three others. The police described the devices as “crude.” Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State in Central Africa, which is said to be operating in both Uganda and Congo through the former Uganda-based opposition group, the Allied Democratic Forces, although exact links are uncertain. (Photo: Travel Aficionado via Flickr)

North Africa
Haftar

Libya: Blackwater CEO trafficked arms to Russia-backed warlord

Erik Prince, former CEO of the notorious private military company Blackwater, violated the UN arms embargo on Libya with a clandestine pipeline to a rebel warlord, according to a confidential report to the Security Council obtained by the New York Times. The report found that in 2019 Prince deployed a force of foreign mercenaries and weapons to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, who has been fighting to depose the UN-recognized Libyan government—and is also being aggressively backed by Russia. (Photo via ISS Africa)