Monday, June 29, 2009

Kimia II Assailed and Defended

From OCHA, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, comes a long post worth reading in its entirety on Kimia II, the joint DRC-Monuc operation to clean out ex-genocidaires in eastern Congo. Oxfam, ICG, and the Catholic Bishops oppose it. Oxfam argues that although “a solution is needed to halt appalling levels of human rights abuses committed by armed rebels, the answer cannot be action that knowingly increases levels of human suffering.” But Alan Doss defends Kimia, and says it must continue: “If we do nothing I think that there will never be lasting peace in the Kivus as long as one group or another remains out of the control of the state.”

Since the beginning of the year, some 800,000 people in the Kivus have fled their homes, even as rape and reprisal killings mount.

Le Phare reports that at the press conference releasing the report, OCHA representatives gave examples of recent violence committed by both sides in the war. The FDLR attacked the town of Mianda during the night of June 20-21, burned 121 homes and destroyed a health clinic. It's not known if they killed anyone, but several villagers drowned trying to escape. In Rutshuru, on the other hand, it is the Congolese army that is committing atrocities.

Relief workers worry because ongoing violence prevents them from operating in areas in Masisi and South Lubero, although refugees there are reputed to be in desperate need of food.

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