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Archive for the ‘Dem. Rep. of Congo’ Category

Who replaced Laurent Nkunda?

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The perks of being granted a natural monopoly.

Then, in September 2010, came President Kabila’s ban of mineral exports from the eastern Congo. It now appears that Kabila has been trying to secure large, industrial investments in the Kivus mining sector, which has hitherto brought little revenue to Kinshasa actors. (This strategy may have brought fruit this past week, with Malaysia Smelting Corporation announcing large investments in the region). Mining exports came to a standstill throughout much of the province. Minerals, however, continued to flow out of the region, albeit in much reduced volume. According to diplomats working in Goma, Kinshasa and Kigali, these smuggled goods needed military protection to muscle their way through border crossings or across Lake Kivu. Bosco, who commands many of the units controlling these crossings, was the go-to man for many of these operations. According to the same officials, most of these exports passed through Rwanda.

Bosco was becoming increasingly wealthy and powerful. He managed to woo back some of the disaffected CNDP officers, united with Nkunda loyalists to resist redeployment outside of the Kivus.

Bosco’s importance and stature as local military strongman was made even clearer during his involvement in a multi-million dollar gold swindle that took place in February this year. Although the details are still murky, a bunch of international investors was trying to buy gold from Congolese businessmen. The investors – some of whom had dubious reputations themselves – appear to have been swindled out of at least $10 million. Once again, Bosco provided some of the muscle for the operation, although his precise role remains unclear.

From the ever illuminating Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa. I am looking forward to picking up a copy of Streans’s Dancing in the Glory of Monsters.

Written by Niall

May 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Soul Power

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This documentary looks awesome:

Zaire ’74 almost didn’t happen. The festival was “a fool’s mission” from the start, said Stewart Levine…When Mr. Levine heard about the boxing match in Zaire, he said by telephone from Los Angeles, “it just hit me — how about a music festival?”

…The government of Zaire subsidized the boxing match; Zaire’s dictator,Mobutu Sese Seko, wanted to burnish his country’s image. But Zaire would not finance the festival. So Mr. Levine rounded up backing from bankers in Liberia…

…With contacts at ABC, Mr. Levine said, he prevailed on the sportscaster Howard Cosell to hold back for 24 hours the news that the fight had been postponed, lest the American musicians stay home. He was also lucky, he said, that it was Rosh Hashanah, and many of the performers’ managers were observing the holiday.

…Many of the performers and Mr. Ali himself are shown as starry-eyed about Africa. Mr. Withers, who was well-traveled after nine years in the Navy, was more levelheaded. “I felt like a very privileged person in an unprivileged setting,” he said. “This Mobutu guy, this dictator — that didn’t cheer me up, the disparity in the wealth. There seemed to be a large gap between the chosen people that were around him and everybody else.”

Seems like a must see.

Written by Niall

July 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

Background to DRC

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Good audio backgrounder on the DRC.

HT: Chris Blattman

Written by Niall

November 7, 2008 at 7:38 am

Posted in Africa, Dem. Rep. of Congo

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Eastern Congo – Road to trouble?

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Any peace there was or could have been in eastern Congo looks to be in perilous jeopardy.

The Economist provided this recent comment from French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner:

We fear that huge, frightening massacres could start again in the eastern area and in Kivu.

Today’s news suggests that that prediction may be closer to coming true than hoped. From the Mail & Guardian:

A new bout of heavy fighting erupted between government and rebel forces on Wednesday in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)…The fighting was centred in an area about 30km from Goma, where thousands of civilians have been forced to flee amid the advance by Tutsi rebels.

As reported in serveal places, this is by no means a domestic stuggle. Suspicion and contempt runs wild across the borders of the Lakes Region. In many respects, this is as much a Rwandan civil war being waged on Congolese turf as it is a conflict between the Congo and rebel forces. 

UPDATE: Chaos seems to be the word of the day in Kivu. Jeffery Gettleman is reeling off some good copy on the unfolding events in Kivu. Here’s the quote that speaks the most volume:

“What can we do?”‘ said Kikaya Bin Karubi, a member of Congo’s Parliament. “We don’t have a national army. Our so-called army is a combination of different rebel militias, with a 100 from this group, a 100 from that group, and so on. They haven’t even trained together for a year. How do they stand a chance?”

Samantha at gorilla.cd provides and answer to the honorable MP’s question:

It’s total chaos in Goma. I am being told, through various phone calls and text messages, that the army have now laid down their weapons at Kibumba, 12 miles north of Goma, and are fleeing the rebels. In other words they have totally given up.

Written by Niall

October 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Africa, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Rwanda

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