Saturday, September 6, 2008

Has Third Congo War Begun?

Government troops struck rebel forces this week in Rutshuru district as tensions continue to escalate in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In events that could have been taken from my novel Heart of Diamonds, a large, as yet uncounted, number of civilians were forced to flee the village of Ntamugenga and the surrounding area as the DRC army retook the village from renegade general Laurent Nkunda, who leads the Rwanda-backed CNDP.

MONUC Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich reported that there was also some fighting in the Rugari region. MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force in the country, has repeatedly called on both the government and rebel forces to stand down and honor the January agreement known as the Goma Accords, but tension continues to build.

On the same day as the fighting in Ntamugenga, at least one person was wounded and a MONUC vehicle was destroyed during a demonstration against the peacekeepers in the town of Rutshuru. One witness said the town's residents wanted the UN to repel Nkunda's forces rather than simply maintain a buffer zone between the two sides.

In another regional hot spot, the DRC closed Bunagana, the country's border post with Uganda, after Nkunda's forces captured immigration officials there. Hundreds of trucks and passengers service vehicles backed up on the Ugandan side of the border, as uncertainty loomed. It is believed that the Congolese governement in Kinshasa closed the border point to deny food supplies to Nkunda's troops from Ugandan traders in Kisoro.

The Goma Accords were intended to create a "cooling down" period so that the 20-some-odd groups that signed them could resolve differences without violence. The two largest groups, the DRC Army (the FARDC) and Nkunda's breakaway force (CNDP), seem to have discarded the agreement and resumed maneuvers that will lead to a resumption of full-fledged war.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

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1 comment:

kimmirich said...

Hi Dave,
...another Kunati author here, just stopping by to wish you the best!