Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Kabila’

KINSHASA, Jan 3 (Reuters) – More than 150 people were killed last week in fighting between government troops and armed groups in the Equateur province of Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.N. mission in the central African country said on Sunday. U.N.-backed Radio Okapi said 157 insurgents and one soldier from the Congolese army, known as the FARDC, were killed in and around the town of Inyele between Dec. 31 and Jan 1.

Inyele is 65 km (40 miles) from Dongo, in the northwest of the country, where ethnic violence erupted in late October.

That conflict began as a dispute over fishing rights between the Enyele and Monzaya communities. Since then, a number of groups have posted statements on the Internet saying they were launching a rebellion from Equateur against President Joseph Kabila’s government in Kinshasa.

“Information received from peacekeepers indicate fierce fighting between FARDC and armed elements,” Lt Col Jean-Paul Dietrich, military spokesman for U.N. force MONUC told Reuters.

“It was reported that 157 armed elements were killed. FARDC reportedly suffered several casualties,” he said, adding the Congolese army had taken control of Inyele.

Last week, the United Nations said it had extended the mandate of its peacekeeping forces in the country for only five months instead of a full year.

The shortened extension will allow the United Nations to work with Kinshasa on a revised mandate for the forces that will focus on training the Congolese army ahead of withdrawal.

read the full report via More than 150 killed in Congo attacks this week-UN | News by Country | Reuters.

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