Conflict & Justice

Renewed fighting in Congo

(Now the fighting is localized in the east of the country. Who's involved and what are they fighting for?) There are numerous armed troops fighting here, more than 22 fighting with the Congolese and against the Congolese government. The most important group is one run by a renegade general who is heading up a strong insurgency against the government. (Tell me a bit more about the people being affected by the fighting.) The situation is horrific, many people forced to flee from their homes and now living in makeshift camps and receiving no humanitarian assistance. I've been working in eastern Congo for a decade and this suffering is something I've never seen. The people are desperate. (I mentioned this dire warning from the French Foreign Minister who's worried this fighting could lead to massacres. There have been outbreaks of fighting but there's greater concern that this could escalate more now. What's different now?) there are two things: 1) heavy weapons are being used and collateral damage is increasing. The second thing is we're noticing an increased tension against the minority group and this is what makes the situation in eastern Congo so volatile because it could bring in Rwanda, the neighboring country. (The rebel leader is an ethnic Tutsi and Congo accused the Rwandan government of helping the rebel leader. Is there any strong evidence of this?) The Congolese government has brought in some evidence but it's difficult to know whether that's good enough to indicate a large presence of Rwandan troops. We know the renegade rebel has been recruiting in Rwanda, so there's at least tacit support coming across the border.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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