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 with tag ‘U.N.’
Voice of America: Congo Rapes
In eastern Congo, some 15,000 women and girls are raped every year when they venture into the forest to collect firewood. The United Nations is trying to provide protection.
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.
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.
In eastern Congo, warring rebels and rogue government troops have displaced some 2 million people in a decade of fighting. The region’s vast size, thick forests and lack of infrastructure complicate humanitarian efforts. In all of Congo, there are just 300 miles of roads that amount to more than footpaths. A U.N. peacekeeping force is trying to change that.
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.”
Axe in Congo: Convoy!
Moroccan troops escorted a World Food Program convoy through rough terrain from Dungu to Ngilima in northeastern Congo on September 21. Lord’s Resistance Army rebels were spotted in Ngilima just before and during the movement. The LRA’s presence forces people from their fields to the safety of the town center, rendering them unable to feed themselves and thus reliant on WFP. The roughly 25-mile trip took nearly three hours owing to kiddie-pool-size potholes in the dirt road.
Axe in Congo: Photos
I’ve begun uploading Congo photos to my Flickr stream. Check them out.
Congo wants the U.N. peacekeepers out. Eleven years after one the world’s biggest peacekeeping forces deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in a bid to tamp down on insurgent violence and oversee the resolution of a bloody civil war, DRC President Joseph Kabila has grown uncomfortable with the sometimes corrupt and ineffective blue-helmeted troops. “Don’t do anything for us,” Lambert Mende, Kabila’s information minister, told the U.N. “We will do it ourselves.”
Correspondent: Chad “Not Quiet”
Weeks following a potentially region-changing peace deal between Chad and Sudan, the former country remains on the brink of its own, internal crises. Shifting rains plus massive displacement resulting from years of fighting have combined to disrupt agriculture. “More than two million Chadians will be affected by hunger” this year, says Mahamat Tahir Issa, War Is Boring’s Chad correspondent.