By Heba Girgis
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
KINSHASA, DR Congo—The Democratic Republic of Congo has already been struggling to stem unrest in its eastern region. Now another challenge arises. A newly formed armed rebel group has just announced its goal of seeking to topple President Kabila’s government regime.
This group claims to have the support of other civil society members as well as political figures from South Kivu and North Kivu. The group also claims to be striving for justice “for high treason” by the President. This group has entered a busy arena. DR Congo has already been trying to contain rebels from the M23 (Movement of March 23) group that have been fighting the DR Congo army since last May in a neighboring North Kivu province.
The new rebel group said that it wants the United Nations to help it organize “democratic elections and rapidly reinstate political order capable of reducing the misery of Congolese people, and build the foundations of a real republic with proper participatory democracy.”
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Franz Rauchenstein, noted that “many people have had to flee out of fear for their safety. Civilians have also suffered violence, looting and extortion,” he added.
Laetitia Courtois, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in the province, also commented on the violence: “Violence between armed groups is now on the rise again in South Kivu. The fighting is getting closer and closer to the city of Bukavu. At the same time, clashes are affecting remote areas, such as the Kahale territory to the north of Bukavy, and the Walungu and Shabunda territories to the southwest.
During the month of January, the ICRC has transferred dozens of people wounded in the fighting from Walungu to nearby hospitals in Bukavu. The ICRC has also moved six severely malnourished children from the Kabare territory to Bukavu.
Over the past few decades, the DR Congo has faced many problems including extreme poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east that has continued since 1998 and that has also left 5.5 million people dead.
In response to this violence, the United Nations have agreed to add another 2,000 soldiers to its already in place peace keeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This, what they call an “intervention brigade,” will help to tackle the armed group that have continued to prolong conflicts in the eastern part of the country.
For further information, please see:
The New Age – New Rebel Group Forms in DR Congo – 3 February 2013
PressTV – Humanitarian Situation Worsening in DRC – 3 February 2013
AllAfrica – Civilians Suffer Amid Shifting Centers of Violence – 1 February 2013
Political Analysis South Africa – UN Increases Commitment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo – 29 January 2013