November 12, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- After 19 years of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, diplomats and envoys gathered for the signing of a deal to seal the defeat of the Congolese rebel group, M23. But the Congolese government and M23 couldn't even agree to get into the same room in Uganda late Monday. The deal, which appeared to offer the first glimmer of hope for peace in years, went unsigned. The hitch? Whether the document was to be called an “agreement” or a “declaration.” The agreement, understanding, deal or declaration was supposed to lay down the process for the disarming and demobilization of M23. Under its terms, lower-ranking soldiers were to be integrated into the Congolese army.
October 30, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Congolese troops backed by a U.N. force on Wednesday drove insurgents from the M23 group from the eastern border town of Bunagana, the rebels' headquarters and last stronghold. The action raised the possibility that the Congolese government might defeat the rebels and begin to bring some stability to the troubled area. Bertrand Bisimwa, a civilian leader with the M23 rebels, reportedly fled across the border into Uganda, with Congolese officials calling on authorities there to hand him over.
September 9, 2013 |
It was 1961 and the Cold War battle for influence in newly independent African states was sharply focused on the Congo. The first elected leader, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by a military junta earlier in the year. With the anarchic new state falling under the sway of the Soviet Union, Katanga politician Moise Tshombe cleaved his province and its wealth of uranium, copper and cobalt mines into a separate state supported and protected by former Belgian colonial masters.
March 26, 2013 |
Standing before the International Criminal Court on Tuesday for the first time, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda denied he was guilty of a long list of wartime crimes. Ntaganda faces charges of forcing children to fight as soldiers and indirectly perpetrating murder, rape, attacks on civilians and other crimes against humanity. He was officially informed of the charges against him at the hearing Tuesday in the Hague. The warlord said he was not guilty before a judge interrupted and told him he did not yet need to enter a plea.
March 19, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- In his seven years on the run from international justice, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda became a symbol of the International Criminal Court's impotence. Now the court, which lacks a police force to arrest those it has indicted, will have an unexpected opportunity to demonstrate its relevance in Ntaganda's case. The warlord-turned-general-turned-warlord, who launched last year's rebellion in Eastern Congo, shocked everyone when he walked into the U.S. embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Monday and asked to be handed over to the ICC to stand trial.
March 5, 2013 |
A decade ago, Canadian writer-director Kim Nguyen started working on the script that would become "War Witch," a film about a girl in sub-Saharan Africa who is kidnapped by rebels, conscripted as a child soldier and forced to commit horrific acts of violence. Around the same time, Rachel Mwanza was abandoned by her parents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at age 6, living with her grandmother for a time and then fending for herself on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital. Nguyen was finally able to put his film into production in 2011 and cast Mwanza in the title role.