Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What is Going On?

Two weeks into Operation Umoja Wetu, and we have yet to hear about any significant clashes between government and FDLR forces. We know that MONUC says it will be helping to plan and coordinate the mission; that Kabila went on TV on Saturday and promised that the Rwandan troops will be out by end of February; that a number of FDLR have voluntarily surrendered to MONUC; that the opposition in Kinshasa is divided, but deeply suspicious about the entrance of Rwandan forces on Congolese soil; and that Rwanda captured but has so far not repatriated Laurent Nkunda to Congo (as it may or may not have promised Kabila it would), or sent him on to the ICC, as HRW and others have demanded. We have also heard about a scattering of skirmishes and displacements: in the Makobola area south of the South Kivu regional center of Uvira; near Walikale and Kalehe; and elsewhere.

But what the Rwandan troops are doing on a day-to-day basis; whether there are serious clashes taking place below our radar screens; how the Mai-Mai are reacting; who's taking control of the multitude of artisanal mines that dot the region; and how the Rwandans hope to finish mopping up the FDLR before the end of February--all these are largely mysteries. We need much more on-the-ground reporting.

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