Heavy fighting in northeast Congo as talks with militia falters
Heavy fighting took place in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday between the Congolese army and a rebel militia following a breakdown of talks, U.N. officials said.
Colonel Felix Basse, the military spokesman for the U.N. mission in Congo (MONUSCO) said fighters from the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Force (FRPI) advanced close to a U.N. camp but were repelled by peacekeeping troops.
Congolese troops – who sometimes fight alongside the U.N. force against various rebel groups – chased the fleeing rebels to the nearby town of Gety. They captured two rebel camps while sustaining a few minor injuries, he said.
UN Seeks to Minimize Risk to Civilians in Military Offensive
The UN aims to disarm Rwandan rebels in DRC. The rebels ignored an ultimatum and now face a military offensive. How can refugees, including rebels’ civilian dependents, be protected?
In a transit camp run by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in eastern DRC, some 40 women and children are being registered. Their names are noted, fingerprints and photos are taken. 31-year-old Godanze Nyasafari sits with her two small children waiting until it is her turn.
She tells DW that she has lived as a refugee in eastern DRC for more than 20 years. Originally she came from Rwanda and is a member of the Hutu ethnic group. Her husband is fighting for the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) which was formed in eastern DRC to fight against the Tutsi government in Rwanda. An ultimatum set by the UN for the rebels to surrender and hand over their weapons passed in early January. UN troops are now preparing to launch a military assault.
Nyasafari heard about the planned offensive from the radio. “We were very scared and my husband said I should take the children and seek refuge with the UN,” she says.
Kagame Says Rwanda Not Plundering DRC Coltan
President Paul Kagame has offered free visa and air ticket to anyone disputing Rwanda’s Coltan (tantalum) production capability to visit the country’s active mining sites.
“Rwanda has not only enough Coltan but of a very high quality. It is something that has been known for years,”Kagame said Thursday at a monthly Press Briefing at Village Urugwiro.
Kagame told KTPress that whoever is having confusion about Rwanda’s Coltan production, “we can even pay a ticket for them, we shall give them a visa and we shall take them to the mines. If only they won’t want to stay there and keep mining. For anybody with that confusion, there is a simple way and not so expensive to sort it out.”
In 2013, Rwanda attracted global attention when it exported 2,466,025kgs of Coltan- this accounted for 28% of total 8,807,232Kg of tantalum produced globally. Rwanda earned $134.5M in revenue from the Coltan.