News roundup

Apologies for the long absence. In the meantime, a few things have happened:

  • The new CNDP President Philippe Gafishi met with President Kabila, but he has yet to inform people in Goma – including, apparently, members of his own party – of the conclusions of their meeting.
  • Several new armed groups have been reported in the Kivus, including one that attacked the Nyaleke military camp in North Kivu and another in Shabunda territory in South Kivu. Another, small group led by self-proclaimed Colonel Tsheka in Walikale territory has also attacked the Mubi mining center, killing several people.
  • Further north, close to the border with Sudan, the Lord’s Resistance Army is reported to have killed another 100 civilians in February this year, according to the UN. That is in addition to the 321 they killed in December last year. The response from the Congolese army and MONUC has been minimal so far, with only a few battalions deployed against the LRA, compared with 18 operational against the FDLR in the Kivus. That is supposed to change: according to some press reports, President Kabila is sending more troops to Province Orientale.
  • MPs from Ituri protested this week, claiming that according to the constitution, their district should have been elevated to become a province by now (that much appears to be true) and that they will unilaterally declare Ituri a province. There is mounting pressure, especially in rich areas such as Ituri, for Kabila to finally decentralize the financial management of the country, as provided by the 2005 constitution.
  • The NGO PAREC, which is run by Kabila confidante Daniel Mulunda Ngoy, has done what the Congolese government tabled a long time ago in the 2008 Nairobi Agreement it signed with Rwanda: That it would relocate FDLR who didn’t want to go back to Rwanda to other parts of the country, far from the border. This week, PAREC is taking 54 FDLR from the “Soki” splinter group to Katanga province. As it is not done either by the Congolese government or MONUC, it is unlikely that there will be much follow-up.