Congo Civil War
The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda's joint operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which had committed atrocities against civilians in eastern DRC, achieved military gains, but it was accompanied by a high humanitarian cost. In response to the Congolese-Rwandan actions, supported by the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC), the rebels carried out reprisal attacks against the population more brutally in areas where they had lost business partners. The FDLR also continued to resort to banditry, kidnapping and hit-and-run attacks, often looking for food and medicine.
The Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) had also committed human rights violations, including massacres, according to the UN Secretary-General. In light of such "egregious" violations, some rights organizations and components of the UN system had called for an end to the operation. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston, who had visited the DRC in October 2009, labelled the joint military operations as "catastrophic."
Military operations conducted in late 2009 by the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the support of MONUC, continued to dislodge foreign and residual Congolese armed groups from their strongholds and enabled the Government to extend its control into previously inaccessible areas, including a number of important economic zones. MONUC also supported efforts to extend State authority, including through the deployment of national police elements to areas, from which the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) had been dislodged.
The Kimia II operations led by FARDC against FDLR gained momentum during late 2009. In North Kivu, FARDC concentrated on dislodging FDLR from mining areas under its control in Walikale and southern Lubero territories. In South Kivu, the Kimia II operations progressively moved south towards Fizi territory. In response to the Kimia II operations, FDLR conducted a series of reprisal attacks against the population, as well as ambushes against FARDC positions, including in the Pinga, Rwindi, Kashebere, and Kikuku areas of North Kivu and near Hombo and Luliba, in South Kivu. FDLR also continued to resort to banditry, kidnapping and hit-and-run attacks, often looking for food and medicine. Patterns suggested that FDLR was retaliating more brutally against civilians in areas where they had lost local business partners or where their protection rackets had come to an end.
Rudia II, the operation led by FARDC against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), continued in late 2009, in cooperation with the Uganda People's Defence Forces and with logistical support from MONUC. Although there was an improvement in the security situation in parts of Orientale province, LRA attacks against civilians continued, including reported executions, abductions and sexual violence. Since September 2009, MONUC received reports that 83 civilians had been killed by LRA, and in October 2009 humanitarian partners reported 21 attacks in Haut and Bas Uélé. In addition, local authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported an increase in undisciplined behaviour by FARDC elements following the replacement of FARDC Republican Guard units with the newly integrated FARDC units in the context of the Rudia II operations.
However, on 3 November 2009, in a significant development, Colonel Charles Arop, who had commanded LRA operations in Haut Uélé at the time of the Christmas 2008 massacres committed by LRA, surrendered. An estimated 270,000 people were displaced in Haut and Bas Uélé at the end of 2009. Between September and October 2009, the displaced population increased from 15,800 to 26,600 in Ango territory, in Bas Uélé.
On 29 October 2009 in Equateur province, disputes between armed villagers of the Lobala community and other communities in the Dongo area, related to fishing rights, resulted in the killing of an estimated 47 police d'intervention rapide and the consequent displacement of some 36,000 people to the Republic of the Congo and approximately 14,000 within Kungu territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On 10 November 2009, the number of civilians who had been fleeing tribal violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into neighboring Republic of Congo since the previous week topped 21,800. Fighting first erupted in March 2009 between the Enyele and Munzaya tribes over disputes based on farming and fishing rights in the village of Dongo, in DRC's Equateur province. "Refugees have mostly stopped crossing the border amid reports that the DRC military forcefully intervened in Dongo to stop attacks by armed Enyele, who appeared to have organized into a militia," stated UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic.
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels killed at least 11 civilians and 8 troops during attacks in Orientale Province between 11 and 14 March 2010. This followed a reduction in LRA violence in February 2010, with 7 attacks recorded versus 26 attacks in January 2010. Rudia II, the FARDC-led operation against the LRA in cooperation with the Ugandan People's Defence Forces and with logistical support from MONUC, continued.
A 4 April 2010 attack by Enyele insurgents in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, led to the deaths of 10 Congolese security force members, 21 rebels, 2 civilians and 3 MONUC officers. Inter-communal clashes involving the Enyele over the control of fishing points in Dongo had led to the internal and cross-border (to the Republic of Congo) displacement of nearly 200,000 people since late October 2009.
On 9 April 2010 the leader of the Mai Mai Kifuafua rebels said a new rebel coalition comprised over 17 different armed groups would be unveiled in the eastern part of the country. Didier Bitaki said the various armed groups decided to join forces after President Joseph Kabila's government failed to fully implement several peace accords.
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