Saturday, November 1, 2008

Africa- Great Lakes Region-DRC-Congo- Goma Violence continues- claims of looting of refugee camps, and torching of these surface!

(Social Justice South Africa; c.f. CNN (Secular) 31/10/08- thanks to a friend for pointing this out to me; IHT (Secular) 21/11/06; BBC World News 29/10/08)

CNN, like other news services is reporting on the harsh situation in the Kivu region around Goma. They have mentioned that there are reports being investigated, of camps being burnt. They note of 1 000 000 people who have fled Congo's violence.

We have already noted in previous articles, that even before this- camps had reached capacity- and many, even thousands- of the desperate refugees were having to find shelter elsewhere. Recently, when food aid was once again given out- a fence was scrambled over, and those being aided almost stampeded in a quest for the food. Catholic Relief Services, and many others have been forced to withdraw from the immediate area, to safer areas in the Congo. They (CRS) will still be supplying aid in Goma, but via the structures of Caritas Internationalis. Organizations such as Caritas Internationalis- are still doing a large portion of the work on the ground- via use of locals to distribute food to thousands, and also by tactical distribution of other products to ensure life- such as hygiene products, and blankets.

Rwanda, who the BBC (See one of our previous articles for c.f. or see link to BBC above), noted that the UN have reported to have been implicated somewhat in violence:

Rwandan troops shot at UN attack forces- at a helicopter, deny claims of being instrumental in this violence, or of responsibility for it. The fighting seems shockingly to involve the same two tribal groups who were involved in the Rwandan Genocide- the Rebels in Congo are of the tribe which was attacked in the Genocide, they claim to be protecting their tribe against "Rwandan Rebels" they claim are in the area. The conflict however is not ethnic, people of every group are dying or starving or fleeing because of the actions of the rebels, and there is no real visible presence of any enemy which they claim to be fighting, except the Congolese army, and the United Nations. The Rwandan president has still refused to appear before a French court for the death of his predecessor, whose death is widely thought to have been the Catalyst for the Rwandan genocide. Instead, French is now no longer an official language in Rwanda.

The British Minister to Africa, believes that the world risks another Rwanda in the DRC, if correct actions are not guided into place. France wants to send in thousands of EU troops to aid the situation, but this requires co-operation in Europe.

Violence is taking place during crop planting season- this means there will not be crops planted in the affected areas this year- resulting in threats to food security. Many have lost everything in recent weeks, and soldiers on both sides have been accused of human rights violations, as the Congolese government gradually loses control of their troops. A barely holding peace treaty is barely maintaining peace in the region, with some fighting continuing after dark.

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