Friday, January 23, 2009

The Question Everyone's Asking

Michelle Faul is the AP's chief of African news and covered Congo from 1990 to 1995 and since 2006. Here's her take on the question everyone's asking:

Q. Will having Rwandan troops back in Congo help end the conflict?

A. Already the cooperation with Rwanda has led to the swift arrest of the biggest warlord in the region, Nkunda. Sadly, it is unlikely to end the intractable fighting in east Congo. If anything, the Rwandan presence could fuel conflict.

The joint operation with Ugandan and Sudanese troops in eastern Congo against rebels of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army has led the rebels to massacre hundreds of civilians since Christmas. Many Congolese still remember atrocities committed by Rwandan troops when they invaded in the '90s, with the tacit approval of the international community, to get rid of the Hutu militia. Instead, Rwandan troops started plundering Congo's minerals and refused to leave until they came under massive international pressure in 2002.

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