Posts Tagged ‘Democratic republic of congo’

Les Roberts, Clinical Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has worked extensively in countries ranging from Zimbabwe to the Democratic Republic of Congo. For the last month he’s been coordinating a blog series for ONE on the Central African Republic. You can read the full series here.

His most recent post, on the impact of conflict on the Central African Republic, is below.

The impact of conflict on Central Africans is obscured if one only counts up the number of violent deaths or war-related causalities, each a tragedy in its own right. There is no doubt that the six organized rebel groups and the ever present threat of poachers and road bandits contribute to an insecurity that rarely escapes the minds of most of the rural population. But any active fighting is contained in small pockets of the country and the majority of the population lives in areas with little to no rebel or bandit activity.

It is conflict’s ability to prevent a population from accessing life’s basic services that cultivates disaster. CAR’s health system is in ruins, with even the most basic of services out of reach for many. People are dying because pharmacies aren’t stocked and the nation’s few trained doctors tend to remain in the capital, Bangui, due to the rest of the country’s insecurity, poor transportation links, and the inability to access any salary the government manages to pay them from rural areas.

In Mobaye we met a young man in agony three days after he had been in a devastating motorcycle accident. He wasn’t from the town and had no family nearby; he was traveling through there as an apprentice to a team running a trucking business. Their truck had broken down. He walked with a limp, leaning on a large stick, his shoulder and shattered right arm were supported with a sling made from a small strip of cloth and he wore a t-shirt draped over his head to hide the extensive damage to his face.

Read the full report via The Impact of Conflict in the Central African Republic | ONE.

Who was Bok Abudema?

Abudema hails from Alero-Lamogi in Amuru district. He worked as a sugarcane cutter in Jinja during the Obote II regime.

When President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986, he joined the UPDA, a rebel group composed of soldiers of the former Okello regime which fought to overthrow the new Government.

He joined the LRA in 1988 after Kony was attacked by Museveni’s NRA at Bwobo railways station in Alero Sub-county, Gulu District. He was one of the few remaining LRA fighters who had joined the rebel group voluntarily.

Abudema was involved in many massacres in northern Uganda. In 1998, he took part in the killing of 11 LRA fighters who were accused of practicing witchcraft in Jebelein, the LRA camp in Southern Sudan.

In December 1999, after the passing of the Amnesty Act by the Ugandan Parliament, he executed the then number two, Otti Lagony, in their camp in Sudan on Kony’s orders.

In 2002, Abudema commanded a raid in Agoro Sub-county in Kitgum district in which several civilians and UPDF soldiers died and at least 100 people were abducted. The trading centre was looted and the military barracks burnt down.

In April 2002, he took part in a massacre of about 800 civilians at Katire village in Southern Sudan.

In 2003, he was among the senior LRA commanders who crossed into the Teso region in eastern Uganda and carried out horrific massacres and massive abductions.

On October 2, 2007, he took part in the execution of Kony’s deputy, Vincent Otti, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abudema shouted the order ‘fire’ to the firing squad. Earlier, he had participated in arresting, torturing and humiliating Otti.

He was reportedly wounded during the December 14, 2008 air strikes on the LRA camps in eastern Congo under the joint offensive.

via Welcome To The Sunday Vision online: Uganda’s leading weekly.

22 October 2009: UN-supported military operations and FDLR reprisals lead to violations, abuses and displacement

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions has described military operations against the rebel FDLR militia as “catastrophic” from a human rights perspective. Since Operation Kimia II started March in North and South Kivu Provinces, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, thousands have been raped, hundreds of villages burnt to the ground, and at least 1,000 civilians killed. There are currently an estimated 980,000 IDPs in North Kivu Province alone. In October, over 80 Congolese and international NGOs denounced the humanitarian cost of operations against the FDLR and its reprisals against the population.

Meanwhile, the UN reported that in South Kivu Province, over 5,000 cases of rape against women had been reported in the first six months of 2009, 90 per cent of them allegedly committed by armed militias or by the Congolese army. Attacks against humanitarian workers have also increased in recent weeks in North Kivu, hampering access to IDPs and other vulnerable people. Between January and October, over 100 attacks were recorded in the province, involving murders, abductions, and thefts of assets. Fewer than ten per cent of attacks on humanitarians reported in 2008 have been formally investigated by police.

via: IDMC | Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) in the DR Congo.

By Didier Munsala

KINSHASA, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Congo hailed on Tuesday the U.N. decision to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping forces in the country by five months instead of a year as a step towards a full withdrawal.

The shortened extension will allow the United Nations to work with Kinshasa on a revised mandate for the forces, known as MONUC, that will focus on training the Congolese army to replace them ahead of withdrawal, a spokesman said.

“It conforms with the wishes clearly expressed by President Joseph Kabila to see the United Nations submit to our country a progressive schedule for withdrawing MONUC forces by June 30, 2010, at the latest,” Information Minister Lambert Mende said.

MONUC, which has grown into the biggest U.N. force in the world with approximately 20,000 uniformed personnel, has been in the mineral-rich central African nation since a 1998-2003 civil war in which millions of people are believed to have died.

Despite continued reports of murders and rapes by armed groups funded by illegal mineral exports in the country’s remote eastern provinces, Congo’s government wants an exit strategy for MONUC forces ahead of the 50th anniversary of its independence from former colonial master Belgium at the end of June.

The U.N. resolution, approved unanimously by the 15-member Security Council Dec. 23, asked U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a “strategic review of the situation” by April 1 to enable the body to decide the future of the force.

Human rights groups have accused MONUC of lending too much support to units of the Congolese army known to have committed abuses, and the United Nations last month suspended support for a brigade accused of killing more the 60 civilians.

U.N. Security Council diplomats have said that while Congo has made progress, MONUC is necessary to maintain peace and build up the army.

While Congo’s perennial violence in the rebel-infused eastern Kivu provinces remains the biggest concern, the country is also struggling to put down a flare-up in violence in the northern Equateur province.

That conflict, which erupted in October reportedly over tribal fishing access, has killed more than 187 civilians along with at least 28 anti-riot police and 10 Congolese soldiers, Mende said.

The army is receiving logistical support from MONUC to put down the insurrection, he said. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis)

Congo welcomes extension of UN peacekeeper mandate | News by Country | Reuters.

“will the exiting of MONUC be a good thing though? With violence still ongoing and areas still very unstable, to me its a lil “strange”.” Rebecca Fowler