Security, peace and ceasefire continue to be the center of concern in the eastern D.R.Congo. Friday December 14, 2007 the Congolese army fought for five hours in Kazuba locality with Nkunda’s military support from Rwanda descending to Masisi via Runyonyi causing the people in the surrounding villages to run toward Rumangabo, Rubare and Rutshuru. Although the Congolese army conquered Nkunda’s headquarters of Muhake and several surrounding areas early in December, Nkunda was able to take them back shortly after. Nkunda stopped at the door of Goma, the capital of North Kivu because the United Nations peacekeeping forces in DR. Congo (MONUC ) vowed to fire back if Nkunda’s forces were to advance into Goma.
Unfortunately, negotiations and peace talks have not been able to meet Nkunda’s demands. On Thursday, December 13th, alone four security related events occured in eastern Congo. First, the Congolese minister of defense, Chikez Diemu, the chef state major general of the Congolese national army, Dieudonne Kayuma and their delegation visited Goma to find ways to deal with the recent defeat of the national army against Nkunda. Second, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, called Nkunda from the UN climate change meeting in Bali and instructed him to disarm. Third, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. António Guterres arrived in Nkinshassa with a plan to visit the east to evaluate the situation of the internally displaced. And fourth, at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Conference , in Kampala, Uganda, the D.R.Congo-Uganda Senior Diplomats Mixed Commission began its 5th session by seeking way to restore their broken relationship since Ugandan involvement in the D.R.Congo war in 1996.
Since the violence broke out again in August 2007, a UN report estimates that there are about 400,000 people displaced in the Goma region in addition to those who fled to Kanyaboyonga in the Rubero and Rutshuru territories. The world is sitting idly by as Congolese lose their lives, women are raped, children are recruited by force by Nkunda and people’s livelihoods continue to be destroyed. With the election of the president and provincial government last year, the Congolese people in the east hoped to move from war to peace, but they only moved from a transitional government to an elected one with very little change in security. Below is what the Congolese President Joseph Kabila had to say on security issues in his first state of the nation address on December 6th, 2007: (my translation from French)
”Considering where we were a year ago, I am delighted to report this day that nearly the totality of the nation has been pacified. Yesterday, North-Katanga, then Ituri, were the prey of inhuman violence. Today, they are joined again with the peace and safety that is so necessary for agricultural and pastoral activities. Thus, on the 145 territories which comprise the Democratic Republic of Congo, only the territories of Rutshuru and Masisi, in North-Kivu, still count in their center some hot spots of tension. In these two territories, a deposed general continues to sow death and desolation among the innocent population, obliged to leave fields and villages and to take refuge in camps, exposing women and children with the insecurity and precariousness. This situation is more complicated by the presence, in the same territories, of the residual elements of uncontrolled, national and foreign armed groups. The ones like the others behave as torturers of our populations. Our brothers and sisters of North and South-Kivu have suffered too much, victims of rapes, fights, assassinations and various exactions. We imperatively must and urgently put an end to these sufferings. It will be soon done no matter the cost.
While waiting, we owe them protection, assistance and solidarity. The government is determined to supply materials to restore, quickly and durably, peace and safety in the two still disturbed territories of North-Kivu. I count therefore on the bravery of the Armed forces of the Democratic republic of Congo. Under extremely difficult conditions, they achieve their mission honorably. I would like to seize this occasion, once more, to salute the courage of our men and women in the armed forces, these often anonymous heroes, and to renew to them the gratitude of the nation for their deprivation and sacrifice for more than a decade. I would also consequently like to take this occasion to exhort the Congolese people to support without reserve its young army hardly formed, but daily tested. In my capacity as supreme commander, I ask the Congolese people in the name of the later, to agree to excuse the regrettable offenses of some of its uncontrolled elements. Military justice was instructed to identify them and to punish them severely. ”