The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has emerged battered and torn from a civil war which lasted almost five years and which eventually involved seven other neighboring nations (Background Report). But they have managed to cobble together an interim government comprised of the former national government, rival political groups, and several rebel army groups. It is an extraordinary amalgam of parties who have been largely hostile to one another for many years but who are now sitting at the same table and maintaining civility while they plan for the rebuilding of their country. The Congolese have achieved this political miracle almost entirely with their own initiative although they have enjoyed the benefit of foreign peacekeeping troops who have largely maintained the peace and provided the breathing room for talks and comprises to take place.
But even as DRC moves forward, fighting is continuing in small pockets. As recently as four days ago, an uncertain number of the Hema ethnic group were kidnapped near the DRC-Uganda border and at least 29 bodies have now been recovered. Reports from the region are not attributing any blame for this event although the main rival of the Hema is known to be the Lendu. Large numbers of DRC refugees who had fled from ethnic fighting in the northeastern province of Ituri earlier this year have started to move away from their Lake Albert camps and toward the Ugandan capital of Kampala out of fear of new violence.
Meanwhile, accusations and counter-accusations are flying back and forth between DRC and its neighbors over who is doing what in the region. Amnesty International has just released a report which accuses Uganda and Rwanda of continuing to provide support for warring factions within DRC although Ugandan president Museveni denies this. The same report also exonerated DRC and laid the blame for this intervention squarely at the feet of Uganda and Rwanda. In separate reports prepared by the United Nations, there is confirmation of Amnesty's allegations and Mbusa Nyamwisi, the minister for regional cooperation in DRC's transitional government confirms the government is aware that Ugandan troops remain in northeastern DRC. Again, Uganda denies this.
As of this writing, Rwanda has not responded publicly to the Amnesty report although they have accused DRC of providing support for Rwandan rebels who have taken up hiding places on the DRC side of their joint border.
It is uncertain at this time if any of these accusations are true and, if true, what impact they might have on DRC's fragile peace.
YellowTimes.org correspondent Paul Harris drafted this report.