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

3.23.2007

congo watch: plus calme?


The Kinshasa bloggers can tell you more about what's going on there today than anything I can. The following information comes from reports from Congogirl, Fred, and Kate, as well as the newswires.

  • Evacuations continue. The children are still stuck at the Belgian school, but are apparently okay.

  • Authorities in Brazzaville are getting ready for an influx of evacuees and refugees.

  • People stuck in the Grand Hotel carpark were evacuated in a convoy (I hope that my favorite Kin taxi driver, John, is safe and sound. John has a brother in Dallas and is a wonderful guy. He tracked down all my election souvenirs and sent them stateside with N last summer. Please keep him and his family in your prayers!).

  • There's still serious fighting near the beach, which is unfortunate since that's the evacuation route to Brazzaville. (When you evacuate Kinshasa, so long as the airport is closed, there's nowhere else to go but Brazzaville.)

  • UNICEF's compound was hit. They have evacuated to the Utexafrica (a giant textile/fabric company). This is surreal. I am wearing a skirt made of material purchased at Utexafrica today.

  • Most of Bemba's soldiers have been disarmed, but some street kids got ahold of weapons.

  • BBC has excellent pictures, including the one above, here.

  • DRC's oil reserves were bombed overnight.

  • Lots of people report seeing bodies in the streets. (I can't tell you how disturbing this is. The first time I saw such a site in the east, I just about went into shock.)

  • Reuters South Africa gives us a handy-dandy guide to Jean-Pierre Bemba. He was, apparently, "born with a silver spoon in his mouth."

  • My colleagues laugh when I tell them about this because apparently "bemba" is a very derogatory, racist term in Peru. Go fig.

  • I love MONUC updates, because they tell you so much, and yet so little. The "situation remains tense in Kinshasa." Thanks for that clarification.

  • My students couldn't care less about this, except they know that I'm concerned about my friends. Which is sweet. I have good students.

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