"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

1.19.2007

congo watch

Some reports say that dissident rebel Laurent Nkunda has apparently agreed to go into exile, although he denies it. Contingent upon getting paid and being supplied with uniforms, his troops will be integrated into the national army, despite the fact that they are known for raping and looting and causing all sorts of trouble. It is a mixed blessing, I guess. If Nkunda really leaves (and is exiled somewhere far enough away that he won't be able to cause trouble - my guess is France or Switzerland), there will be more stability in the region, at least for now. If his troops don't fully integrate into the army, someone else will rise to leadership and they'll continue to cause problems.

Reports of whether Nkunda will face justice vary. The MONUC (the UN peacekeeping mission) account of the asylum deal says that war crimes charges against Nkunda will be dropped in exchange for his departure from the DRC. (Then again, it also says that Sake is 60 kilometers north of Goma. It's more like 27km.) This is a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the thousands of displaced persons who lost their homes and everything they owned to Nkunda's militia. And for the thousands of women and girls who have been raped by Nkunda's forces. Knowing that the price of peace is that Nkunda will never face justice must be a terrible burden to bear.

Another UN agency, IRIN, says that according to a representative of the DRC government, the amnesty issue is still under discussion. It's not a good sign when the terms of the deal are unclear.

Kate has a good post on the general mood in Kinshasa right now.

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