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



Oh, you knew this was coming:
The UN was wrong to withdraw backing from government troops fighting rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo, the country's information minister says.

Lambert Mende Omalanga told the BBC he knew nothing about the alleged killing of 62 civilians by the army - the reason the UN gave for its move.
Of course His Excellency M. Omalanga doesn't know anything about the alleged killing of sixty-two innocent people by soldiers in his government's army. That's because nobody in his government actually controls what those particular units of the army do. You can't control a force you don't control.

I'm nearing the end of my rope when it comes to the continued implementation of failed security sector reform policies in the D.R. Congo. DDR, Kimia II, buying camcorders - all these ideas clearly won't work, but since nobody's had any better ideas, MONUC and the donor states keep pursuing them. Meanwhile civilian suffering continues to mount to an almost inconceivable degree.

But I am encouraged that lately there have been some better ideas for addressing the Kivu security crisis floating around out there. Jason Stearns proposes a few in this blog post, including the getting MONUC troops directly involved in planning and carrying out FARDC operations so MONUC can keep an eye on things, arresting FDLR supporters living outside of the region (many of whom finance the group's operations), and offering those FDLR officers who were not involved in the Rwandan genocide a peaceful way to leave the movement.

These are sensible ideas that could actually be implemented without much trouble, and they should be taken quite seriously by those of you who get to make these decisions. In the short term, suspending Kimia II and withdrawing logistical and other forms of support from Congolese army units are the best things MONUC could do to ensure that the civilian population is protected.


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