Violence in DRC is useful for the powers that be

re posted from                                           Presstv

Mon Feb 8, 2016 6:2PM
A file photo taken on March 11, 2014 shows Democratic Republic of Congo government troops working in an area taken from FDLR rebels near Tongo, north of Goma. ©AFP
A file photo taken on March 11, 2014 shows Democratic Republic of Congo government troops working in an area taken from FDLR rebels near Tongo, north of Goma. ©AFP

More than a dozen people have lost their lives in clashes between armed groups in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where ethnic tensions have surged in recent weeks.

Local authorities in DR Congo said some 15 people were killed after an ethnic Nande militia group attacked the village of Mukeberwa in North Kivu Province on Monday.

Clashes then erupted between the assailants and the Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, who are in control of the village.

“According to information that I have, between 15 and 30 people have been killed,” said Bokele Joy, the administrator of North Kivu, adding that he could not be more precise as there are no army troops or national police in the area.

The developments come as the UN peacekeeping mission to the DR Congo has reported of a rise in inter-ethnic tensions since early-January killings at the Nande village that claimed some 17 lives.

A picture taken on January 7, 2016 shows Miriki, 110 kilometers (65 miles) north of Goma, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where 15 people died overnight in an attack by Hutu rebels. ©AFP

The FDLR includes Rwandan Hutus, who are thought to have taken part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of at least 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority.

A large number of the Hutu rebels fled to the neighboring DRC in fear of retaliation by Tutsi people when Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda, ended the genocide in July 1994, and rose to power.

The rebels are also accused of carrying out attacks in DR Congo and committing serious human rights violations, including recruiting child soldiers and rape.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and has left over 5.5 million people dead.

One thought on “Violence in DRC is useful for the powers that be

  1. we could have built a decent Congolese army with the $1,4 biiolln we spend each year on MONUC I wonder what makes you think that this is the case-as far as I know there is no empirical evidence that pouring massive amounts of funding in one part of an overall malfunctioning state apparatus will make it work. In fact, I think there is precious little evidence that donor-induced state-building in general actually works’, even when there is more financial and political commitment, like (recently) in Afghanistan.May be it would be good to let go of the makeability idea that we (who are we anyway?) can build armies, democracies, even whole states. May be it is time to recognize that limited support to the internal forces in a society striving for positive change, while reducing the damage done by external ones (i.e.multinationals), is more in line with the idea of do no harm’. As regards the FARDC, I think it is time to manage expectations. There is a notable absence of motivation to works towards real military reform at all levels: international, as evidenced by the continuous lack of coherence and coordination among donors and the failure to exert real political pressure to move forward on certain difficult dossiers like the Garde Pre9sidentielle and the presence of notorious human rights violators at command positions; national, as evidenced by for example the refusal to be more transparent in the field of arms procurement and stockpile management or the unwillingness to end impunity for higher level officers; and sub-national, as demonstrated by for example the ongoing support of the higher echelons of the regional military hierarchy for non-state armed groups or their protection of militarized mining, from which they reap substantial profits. The current efforts at training, equipping and infrastructure building will not be sustainable as long as problems that are at heart political are not treated as such. I personally have the sense that SSR is increasingly becoming a cure-all, a magic bullet not only supposed to restore the state’s monopoly on violence and to remedy insecurity, but also to end the illicit exploitation of natural resources or to foster development. Above all, SSR has become the foremost exit strategy for peacekeeping operations, which have traditionally struggled with defining success’.While recognizing the importance of limiting the damage the FARDC is currently doing and the potential role that external forces can play in accomplishing this, I wonder at times if, by pinning all hopes on SSR, international donors are not betting on the wrong horse. After all, as it is currently practiced, this seems to be an enterprise with very little returns on investment, at least as regards improving the every-day security of the majority of DRC citizens. Furthermore, the attention to SSR seems to be distracting attention from other, often local, drivers of insecurity, like the issues of land access and ownership and the citizenship question. In the absence of realistic prospects of having a well-oiled, well-disciplined, well-trained, professional military apparatus respecting civilians and their property within the next twenty years (if ever), why not invest more in addressing other causes of insecurity?

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