Africa
ICC

DRC files ICC complaint against Rwanda

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo filed an International Criminal Court (ICC) complaint against Rwanda over its alleged involvement in the theft of natural resources in the DRC. The minister charged that the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) have been collaborating with the M23 rebel group, which has taken control of areas in Northern Kivu province near the DRC’s border with Rwanda. The complaint accuses the “RDF-M23 coalition” of “systematic and large-scale plundering of…natural resources” in the rebels’ zone of control. There has been an open ICC investigation into eastern DRC since 2004. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)

Africa
DRC

Another intervention in eastern DR Congo?

Congolese President F√©lix Tshisekedi has threatened to terminate the mandate of an East African Community military force that deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year. The force was set up to contain an insurgency by the Rwanda-backed M23 rebel group, which has uprooted nearly a million people in the country’s¬†east. The EAC claims the rebels have pulled back from occupied areas thanks to their intervention, but Congolese officials say the group remains at large and accuse the EAC of inaction. The regional mission was unpopular from the outset among Congolese, who are mindful of the destructive role neighboring states have played in their country. Yet new military interventions are being prepared, with the Southern African Development Community (led by¬†South Africa¬†and Tanzania) announcing plans to deploy troops. (Photo:¬†MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
DRC

DRC: accused war criminal becomes defense chief

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi appointed former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba as defense minister and deputy prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Bemba, who served as vice president from 2003 to 2006, was convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2016 of crimes against humanity over atrocities allegedly committed by rebels under his command when they intervened in the conflict in the neighboring Central African Republic in 2002. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but the court overturned his sentence on appeal in 2018. However, five defendants were convicted on charges related to obstruction of justice in the Bemba case. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
DRC

Massacres mount in eastern DRC

Fighters from the ISIS-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the¬†CODECO¬†ethnic miitia¬†have¬†each carried out multiple massacres of villagers in Ituri and North Kivu provinces¬†of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the past weeks. The M23 rebel group, said to be backed by Rwanda, has meanwhile captured new territory in North Kivu, further closing the ring around¬†Goma, the largest city in the DRC’s east. Regional tensions rose after Rwanda fired on a Congolese fighter jet, claiming it had breached its airspace. Kinshasa denied the accusation and called the shooting “an act of war.” (Map: CIA)

Africa
Rift Valley

African dissent from biodiversity protocol

The UN Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, concluded¬†in Montreal¬†with what is being hailed as a landmark agreement to address the current¬†unprecedented loss of species, now termed the planet’s sixth mass extinction. The centerpiece of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, conceived as a match to the Paris Agreement on climate change, is the so-called “30×30” pledge‚ÄĒwith countries committing to protect 30% of their territory for habitat preservation by 2030. The deal earmarks $30 billion per year to flow from wealthy countries to poor ones to assist in conservation programs. But the financial commitments are not binding, and were assailed by countries in the developing world as inadequate. After an all-night session,¬†the gavel was brought down on the deal minutes after the delegation¬†from the Democratic Republic of Congo pressed outstanding criticisms. This was decried by the DRC, Uganda and other African delegations.¬†A representative from Cameroon protested: “What we saw was a force of hand.”¬†(Photo of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley via Pixabay)

Africa
DRC

Massacre claim overshadows DRC peace talks

A third round of peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo and rebel movements opened in Kenya. More than 50 armed and civil society groups are¬†present at the dialogue.¬†Rwanda, accused of backing the¬†M23 rebels, has also been invited to this round‚ÄĒbut not the M23 themselves. And the¬†talks are overshadowed by accusations of a massacre of 50 civilians by the M23 in the town of Kishishe, Noth Kivu province. In a statement, the M23 rejected the claims and accused the DRC government of preparing a “genocide” against Congolese Tutsi. The M23 meanwhile continue their advance on the provincial capital of Goma. (Map: CIA)

Africa
DRC

East African troops deploy against M23 in Congo

Kenya is set to deploy a battalion of soldiers to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a regional military response to advancing M23 rebels. Kenya will command the new East African force, which will include troops from Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. A notable absentee from this intervention will be Rwanda: Congo accuses Kigali of supporting M23, and tensions are soaring. In the past weeks, M23 has dramatically expanded the territory it controls, forcing UN peacekeepers to abandon a strategic base at Rumangabo, and closing in on the key city of Goma. In a region with a history of foreign meddling‚ÄĒin which more than 120 rebel groups operate‚ÄĒthe East African deployment is distrusted. Both Burundi and Uganda already have troops inside Congo pursuing their own interests. (Map: CIA)

Africa
Kivu

Mounting crisis, resource sale in DRC’s east

Two people were killed and several others injured when UN peacekeepers opened fire during an incident in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The incident, in Kasindi, North Kivu province, appears to have started in a confrontation between soldiers of the peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, and Congolese troops. It followed several days of anti-MONUSCO protests, in which some 20 people were killed, including three peacekeepers. Demonstrators attacked MONUSCO bases in Goma and other eastern cities, calling on the mission to leave the country, as it has failed to protect civilians amid a resurgence of fighting between security forces and the M23 rebels. The North Kivu violence comes just as the DRC government is auctioning off vast amounts of land in the country’s east in a push to become “the new destination for oil investments”‚ÄĒto the alarm of the country’s environmentalists. (Photo: Sylvain Liechti via UN News)

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 √Čvariste 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‚ÄĒthe 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)