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Old 04-14-2007   #21
carl
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Speaking of water front property in Gombe...

Last year our company was looking for an additional residence to rent. One of the properties we looked at was on the river in Gombe. I am told it was a beautiful place with a large house and a pretty garden. It was also one of the less expensive places available because it was located right next door to the house of one of the vice-presidents.

We ddn't take it.
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Old 04-14-2007   #22
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Default Water Front Property ?

There was a time when the 80-plus mm mortars reduced property values along the water front facing Brazzaville, Congo. The automatic fire was also very impressive So much, that the shrink that came to help us (crossing in our Boston Whaler) never made it to Kin that day.

I remember the Ambassador's residence being sort of a fire control point with all the lights (generators running into the night, et al).

Probably better you folks didn't rent that area in Gombe
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Old 04-15-2007   #23
Tom Odom
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Default The Lights On the Water

Now Stan,

You have to admit the reflection of tracer rounds across the water did lend a certain ambience to the Gombe water front.

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Old 07-05-2007   #24
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ICG, 5 Jul 07: Congo: Consolidating the Peace
Quote:
....Congo has a window of only a few years during which the international community can be expected to remain committed to supporting consolidation of the peace process. By the end of 2007, the UN Mission (MONUC) will probably be under pressure to implement a significant drawdown, and donor support will likely be shifting to other post-conflict theatres. Without strong, clear signs of significant changes in governance, the window could close even more quickly. This report outlines the challenges that need to be addressed in the next two years....
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Old 08-02-2007   #25
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Default U.N. Evacuates Staff from Congo

Starting to sound very familar, all over again. Even with 18,000 peace keepers, we can't seem to keep a lid on K-town. Doesn't look like we've learned much in the last two decades...leaving military observers unarmed around the former Zäirois .

Quote:
KINSHASA, Congo -- The U.N. evacuated dozens of staff Wednesday from a remote east Congo town after mobs of stone-throwing protesters angry over the possible return of refugees from a minority ethnic group ransacked U.N. and other humanitarian agencies there, officials said.

The protesters, angry over rumors of the return of ethnic Congolese Tutsis, or Banyamulenge, looted a house used by the U.N. observers and wrecked the offices of the U.N. refugee agency and other aid groups, de Brosses said.

Despite the end of the mineral-rich country's wars in 2002, eastern Congo has remained a lawless and violent place where local militias hold sway far from the distant capital, Kinshasa.
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Old 08-02-2007   #26
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Damn took a while to even find Moba, Stan. It is south of Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika, which is funny because I don't recall this being the area where the Congolese Tutsis, or Banyamulenge,came from in the first place. I thought they were from further north. Then again you never really need a good reason to riot in the Congo...

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Old 08-02-2007   #27
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Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
Damn took a while to even find Moba, Stan. It is south of Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika, which is funny because I don't recall this being the area where the Congolese Tutsis, or Banyamulenge,came from in the first place. I thought they were from further north. Then again you never really need a good reason to riot in the Congo...

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If I recall correctly, the Banyamulenge (the French and Belg called them collectivité Barundi...it was far easier to pronounce in French ) began life as Burundi Tutsi immigrants and later in the 1900s sought work and settled in South Kivu. Later ethnic violence from Burundi's Hutu would drive more into Kivu (I'm guessing late 60s).

Our drivers often spoke about the Barundi stealing jobs from the Zäirois (as if the Zäirois were dying to get jobs or for that matter, work for a living).

All Africa reports: Calm Returns After Anti-Banyamulenge Demo.

Quote:
"After a day of looting, stone-throwing and break-ins into offices, the town is now calm and the last group of UN staff being evacuated is at the airport," Eusebe Hounsokou, the head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in DRC, said on 2 August from Lubumbashi, the provincial capital.
So Tom, What do ya think ? Nothing left to steal or drink
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Old 08-02-2007   #28
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So Tom, What do ya think ? Nothing left to steal or drink
At the JRTC we would call it a tactical freeze or pause--stop long enough to let them resupply and resume operations. Works in Louisiana, will work in the Congo

that is true on the 60's surge but there were earlier when the Tutsi King controlled much of this area. Dissident Tutsi family groups moved outward to get away from the King's power and stayed where they were after that power receded. We are talking the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Old 08-06-2007   #29
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Default Congo - Des milles collines ?

For Tutsis of Eastern Congo, Protector, Exploiter or Both?

By Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 6, 2007

Quote:
Villagers said that earlier this year Nkunda hoisted a flag and declared his mountain fiefdom a new country: Land of the Volcanoes.

KICHANGA, Congo -- On the way to the mountain headquarters of renegade Congolese Gen. Laurent Nkunda, there are villages patrolled by Laurent Nkunda's police and checkpoints where Nkunda's soldiers demand that truck drivers pay a tax to support their leader's cause.

Local residents can settle disputes these days in Nkunda's courts or attend church with a priest appointed by Nkunda, who is wanted on war crimes charges but lately has been wearing a button that reads "Rebels for Christ."
Video and more at the link...

Tom, Looks like he forgot his Ray-bans, rappel seat and carabiner. But then, perhaps he's not airborne qualified

Last edited by Stan; 08-06-2007 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 08-06-2007   #30
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"Is it really Nkunda who is the problem?" asked Nkunda, who carries a gold-tipped baton and often refers to himself in the third person. "They want to keep me as the problem so that they can explain all the problems in Congo through Nkunda. . . . But I will protect myself, and I will protect these small number of Tutsis who are here."
Never a good sign referring to yourself in the 3rd person...I wonder what Tom Odom would think?

Quote:
"Rwanda cannot establish a relationship with such a person, but we can understand why Nkunda is Nkunda," Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande said in an interview. "We can understand his argument."

Armed with a sense of righteousness fortified by visiting American evangelical Christian groups, Nkunda has in recent months been carrying out attacks against village after village.
Charles, I know. He is quite adroit and when it comes to the international relations game, there is no one better. See this interview for an example.

One has to wonder which evangelicals have hooked up with Nkunda.

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Old 08-18-2007   #31
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Default Uganda, DRC Talk Over Interahamwe Threat

From The New Times, Rwanda's First Daily "The presence of Interahamwe militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was given much priority during talks between Kampala and Kinshasa early this week."

Strange, they've only been there for the greater part of 2 decades, but then...

Quote:
The development follows an attack in south western Uganda on August 9 by suspected Interahamwe. Three people were killed when machete-wielding armed men speaking a mixture of Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili attacked Butogota Trading Centre, according to government. The assault on Uganda was the third in less than two weeks.
Quote:
The DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda are members of the Tripartite. "Negative forces is the key thing on the agenda in September," Kiyonga said soon after meeting MPs on the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee at Parliament. But he said their strength "is of a nuisance level" that would not threaten to overrun any establishment in the region. Most of the negative forces including the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (or Interahamwe/ex-FAR) and NALU have been blacklisted by the Fusion Cell in Congo that brings together members of the Tripartite Plus Commission and the United States.
Greater details at the link...
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Old 08-18-2007   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
Damn took a while to even find Moba, Stan. It is south of Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika
I knew a Congolese woman from Moba. Her family had a cattle farm in the area before they were all run out in the late wars. We picked her up in Lubumbashi and landed in Bujumbura on the way back to Kin. She was very nervous in Bujumbura and said if she left the airport she was afraid they would kill her.

She told me that when she was a girl she had to run for her life twice. Both times a neighbor came and told them the soldiers were coming so her mother took her into the bush and they stayed there for months. They went into the bush with the clothes they were wearing and what they had in their pockets. She said they slept on the ground drank from streams, ate what they could find and what people from villages would give them.

I never realized until talking with that woman how all those millions of displaced Congolese died.


"Rwanda cannot establish a relationship with such a person, but we can understand why Nkunda is Nkunda," Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande said in an interview. "We can understand his argument."

In Kinshasa, the conventional wisdom was that Nkunda was Rwanda's man in the Congo.
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Old 08-22-2007   #33
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Default Congo-Kinshasa: New Democracy Must Build on Local Leaders

Free elections in the DRC ? I thought, naw, this must be yet another Congo drill - reel 'em in, eliminate one's opponent's, Commandre, and all of his forces

An intriguing article from All Africa, A bit long-winded covering history from the late 1800s, but they do finally get to the point on page two.

Quote:
With conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo cooling, and warriors aspiring to become democrats, the country’s new constitution is coming under increased scrutiny.

In a novel development for the DRC – where there is persistent worry that only a strong centre can hold the far-flung state together – power is split between national, provincial and even local institutions, write constitutional experts Olivier Kambala wa Kambala and Coel Kirkby. This is a development that should be welcomed, they say.

The new provinces will become operational in 2009. Each province is electing a provincial assembly, which in turn will elect a governor. The assembly will share power with the national legislature in many civil rights areas and can also draft its laws for a provincial development plan, regulate customary law, raise taxes and more. On paper, the Congolese provinces have similar powers to Nigerian states and South African provinces. This analogy inevitably invokes the dreaded “f”-word, federalism.

Right now the situation is different. First, Congolese citizens have participated in a few free and fair elections. Second, there is time to establish governing and administrative institutions before the new provinces are inaugurated. Last, poorer provinces have a constitutionally-assured share of national revenues. Nevertheless, this ambitious plan will face monumental challenges.
More at the link
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Old 08-23-2007   #34
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Default Congolese have fled into Uganda

Reuters reports - Ugandan army says 10,000 refugees flee Congo

Quote:
A Ugandan military spokesman said the refugees feared renewed clashes between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) troops and forces loyal to General Laurent Nkunda after Nkunda organised an anti-U.N. demonstration that turned into a riot.

"Approximately 10,000 people have come from the Congolese side fearing renewed violence ... local district authorities and aid organisations are trying to help them," said Uganda's army spokesman for western Uganda, Lieutenant Tabaro Kiconco.

Kiconco said the refugees told officials in Uganda's Kisoro District that they expected more fighting after villagers, urged on by Nkunda's men, rioted on Tuesday in protest against U.N. troops they said failed to protect them from militias.
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Old 08-28-2007   #35
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Default More pressure is needed to flush out FRDL and ex-FAR insurgents

Rwanda's News Agency covers the abysmal results of talks held in April, where Rwandan officials thought they managed to get an agreement - telling the DRC to crack down on FDLR forces in hiding.

Quote:
As Tripartite Plus army chiefs map out strategies to do away with Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) guerrillas in D R Congo, political opposition parties in Europe have announced a plan to cooperate with the rebels, RNA reports.

Brussels based Paternariat Intwari of CNA-Ubumwe, FDRL-CMC and PDN of former Rwandan Defense Minister Gen. Ben Habyalimana and journalist Deo Mushayidi say they want to merge with the guerrillas to oust the Kigali government.

"Those people (FDLR) are fighting because they have a reason. So because we all have the same case we want to come together to solve the same cause", Mushayidi said yesterday on a BBC great lakes program.

The FDLR are Rwandans, the RPF are also Rwandans and all the parties you hear about are Rwandans as well - so all we are saying is that we have the right to meet, he said.

Army chiefs from the four-member countries under the tripartite plus commission framework are in Kigali for a two-day meet. The countries are Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo.
More at the link and also at Allafrica.com
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Old 09-10-2007   #36
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Default Nkunda Hands Over FDLR Rebels to UN

From All Africa via Kigali's New Times, "Congolese rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has handed over 50 war captives of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to the UN Mission in DR Congo, Monuc."

Quote:
We handed them over to MONUC because we want to prove to the UN that we are fighting FDLR who are being supported by DR Congo Government," Nkunda's spokesman Rene Munyarugerero said by telephone from North Kivu yesterday.
The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) urged "renegade troops fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo to integrate into the country's regular army. The call on Saturday came as the UN humanitarian chief told Al Jazeera that the Nord-Kivu province is suffering from a level of violence and brutality not seen anywhere else in the world".
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Old 09-11-2007   #37
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Prevalence of rape in East Congo described as worst in the world - Washington Post, 9 Sep.

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The prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern Congo are "almost unimaginable," the top U.N. humanitarian official said Saturday after visiting the country's most fragile region, where militia groups have preyed on the civilian population for years.

John Holmes, who coordinates U.N. emergency relief operations, said 4,500 cases of sexual violence have been reported in just one eastern province since January, though the actual number is surely much higher. Rape has become "almost a cultural phenomenon," he said.

"Violence and rape at the hands of these armed groups has become all too common," said Holmes, who spent four days in eastern Congo. "The intensity and frequency is worse than anywhere else in the world."

The chronic sexual violence is just one facet of a broader environment of insecurity that still defines eastern Congo after a decade-long war that killed an estimated 4 million people, mostly from hunger and other effects of being driven from their homes ...
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Old 09-11-2007   #38
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Even as far back as 1994, sexual violence in the eastern province was seen as an integral part of the war. The military forces involved in these acts were often rewarded by their leaders, government officials or powerful patrons.

In Rwanda, soldiers raped women as part of a general attack, while they killed and injured civilians and pillaged and destroyed property.

As long as such a sick climate exists with no form of punishment, females will continue to be targeted.
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Old 09-11-2007   #39
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Echoing Stan....

The only woman ever tried for crimes against humanity was the former Rwandan government's Minister for Women and Family Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. She organized rape gangs as part of the genocide and led them in the field. Some 250,000 women were raped and those that survived the genocide are still dying from AIDS.

All of this has particular import in a societal structure that has been stood on its head; Rwanda today is a society dominated by women because of the losses in males suffered in the genocide.

What got me the most in Goma was that this behavior continued in the camps against Hutu women; rapes were common and we saw the evidence as the refugees crossed the border.

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Old 09-11-2007   #40
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Default Glad you posted that, Tom

I read most of the articles in sincere disbelief...Yes, they were mostly bleeds, copy and paste.

Somewhere along all this Investigative Reporting, even the UN neglects to mention that a Minister's Wife (then) in her late 40's - That is a Female for the uninitiated - orchestrated global rape and death.

Granted, it was taking place well before her involvement, but certainly not at the alarming rate of today. It's as if two or even three generations of Hutu will have to die before Pauline's inexplicable actions will finally end.

Quote:
Moreover, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a former Rwandan Minister for Women and Family Affairs, is also the first woman ever charged with encouraging rape as an instrument of genocide. She is accused of being one of the most zealous organisers of the 1994 genocide. Her trial at the International Tribunal for Rwanda resumes this month in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. She had been a minister for two years when the killings started. Given the charges against her, and the ferocity with which she allegedly
urged the Interahamwe militia to slaughter Tutsi "cockroaches" - old
women and unborn babies included - she stands accused of working to eliminate part of the very section of society she was duty-bound to protect and help.
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