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

10.28.2008

congo watch

Committee Member #2 sent me an email last night, titled "sure glad you're not 'in the field' right now." Me, too. From what I understand, all four MONUC compounds in Goma were attacked yesterday, and most expats are holed up at home. The CNDP rebels are headed straight for the city, and you can hear small arms fire in Katindo, which are the northeastern "suburbs" of Goma.

Usually when these things happen, the Rwandans close the border. I don't think anybody's getting out anytime soon. Including the poor guy who's reporting for NPR. Listen to his report here. They can hear the gunfire there, which is scary, scary, scary. The MONUC compound is kindof a fortress. (It's hard to get into unless your skin is white and your passport is western, in which case it's no trick at all.) It's situated directly across the street from the entrance to the airport.

My guess is that MONUC will send in as many troops as possible to defend the city. They cannot let Goma fall; when Bukavu fell for a week in 2004, it was a major embarassment for the operation. Problem is, the only group that can really stop Nkunda for good is the government of Rwanda.

In other news, the commander of MONUC forces resigned today citing family reasons. He'd only been on the job for seven weeks. The timing could not be worse.

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