In the North Kivu region of eastern DR Congo, troops loyal to General Laurent Nkunda are thought to be largely responsible for an increase in violence, according to a recent BBC News report . Since February, approximately 160,000 people have been displaced and UN officials estimate another 280,000 may flee their homes in the next six months. The ramifications of such an influx of internally displaced persons and refugees are grave for the Great Lakes Region and are particularly disheartening in light of local and international attempts at quelling the violence. HIV and AIDS have become widespread in eastern DRC, and villagers continue to fear looting, killing, and raping of their communities.

The rise in instability is caused by Congolese troops such as those under General Nkunda as well as Rwandan rebels who seek to prevent ethnic Hutus from regrouping and taking root on foreign soil. General Nkunda is a Tutsi and has been supported by Rwanda as a means of stopping Hutu extremism. Unfortunately, the Hutu Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) is also said to be regrouping and the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continue to play a role in the instability of eastern DRC. In an effort to halt insurgencies, regional military chiefs have decided to meet in the Rwandan capital of Kigali to discuss combining operations against the FDLR. Also due to violence, the UN mission in the DR Congo (MONUC) remains stationed in the east, despite last year’s elections and the hope that peace would finally come for DRC. Sadly, little has been done, and humanitarian agencies warn of a continued catastrophe. AFJN encourages you to join us in advocating for an end to the conflict in DRC and we invite you to attend the Congo Global Action Lobby Days , coming this November 11-13, 2007.