An old woman had died. Before burying the her, the residents of the village of Obo — in southern Central African Republic, just north of the Congolese border — gathered around a campfire to eat, drink, cry and sing in celebration of the woman’s long life. It was a night in March 2008, just another beat in the slow rhythm of existence in this farming community of 13,000 people.
Archived posts from category ‘U.N. Peacekeeping’
Pete’s Africa Round-Up
Soldiers killed seven youths over the last few days. The incident occurred in Vavoua, some 450 kilometers away from Abidjan. As a young man tried to avoid a roadblock of the national army — which many Ivorians accuse of leveraging illegal taxes and tolls at such roadblocks — he was chased by soldiers and beaten to death. The next day, some hundred local youths marched towards an army camp, armed with clubs and rifles. In what authorities described as “losing control,” some of the soldiers started shooting and killed six further young men.
Congo in Comics
Fresh off my collaboration with artist Ryan Alexander-Tanner on “Boom!”, my true story of getting blown up in Afghanistan, I’m now hard at work with artist Tim Hamilton on a book-length comic about the war in Congo.
Voice of America: Somalia Famine
Famine-stricken areas of Somalia dominated by Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab have limited access for international aid groups.
Pete’s Africa Round-Up
Côte d’Ivoire / Liberia
More than one month after former president Laurent Gbagbo was ousted after a tense post-election standoff that involved U.N. and French forces, the situation has stabilized but is still far from peaceful. The Liberian government has found an arms cache believed to belong to Liberian mercenaries who fought for Gbagbo. Also, there are still thousands of Ivorian refugees in Liberia, which itself is recuperating from a civil war.
Fresh Fighting Closes Congo Clinic
In 2008, the town of Rutshuru in Congo’s North Kivu region, was a battleground between the Congolese army and the CNDP rebel group. As late as May this year, The Christian Science Monitor was calling Rutshuru “more stable.”
It’s hot. It’s humid. And after a long morning escorting a lumbering U.N. World Food Program convoy 50 miles between Dungu and Ngilima on one of the muddy, rutted glorified animal trails that passes for roads here, the Moroccan infantrymen are tired. They lounge in the shade in a razor-wire ringed encampment while the WFP drivers park their trucks under an impressive, slowly rotting European-style brick edifice that is one of the only reminders of long-departed Belgian colonizers.
A smoldering civil conflict flared up in West Africa’s cocoa-rich Cote d’Ivoire following a disputed Nov. 28 presidential election. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, representing the country’s south, contested the U.N.-certified victory of Alassane Ouattara, from the rebellious north. In 2002 and 2003, northern rebels and southern loyalists — also divided along ethnic lines — waged a bloody civil war, spurring the deployment of a currently 9,000-man U.N. peacekeeping force and lapsing into a tenuous peace.
DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — A truck carrying Indian U.N. peacekeepers trundles along the red dirt roads of Luvungi, a small town in a remote part of eastern Congo, on a routine patrol in late summer. The town seems quiet, and seeing and hearing nothing unusual, the soldiers quickly pass through back to their company operating base in nearby Kibua.
DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — When the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, attacked the town of Duru in eastern Congo two years ago, it took a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian workers 10 days by road to reach the devastated town. Representatives of the U.N. high commissioner for refugees found Duru residents in “urgent need of assistance.”