March 28, 2007

Shocking news! More fighting in Kinshasa!

OK this is not so shocking news (given that there's always fighting in the capital of the DRC and that this news is a few days old); however, this particularly bout of fighting was particularly violent and deadly.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) -- Up to 600 people were killed in the Congolese capital last week in fighting between the army and a former rebel leader's forces which "seriously wounded" the democratic process, European Union ambassadors said on Tuesday.

The fighting erupted on Thursday after troops loyal to former presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba refused an order to disarm. Machine gun fire and mortars rocked the riverside capital for two days before Bemba's forces were routed.


It was the first fighting in Kinshasa since landmark presidential elections last year -- heavily financed by the international community and aimed at restoring peace to the mineral-rich central African state after a 1998-2003 war. […]

President Joseph Kabila's victory was overwhelmingly accepted as legitimate by national and international elections observers monitoring Congo's first democratic polls in more than four decades.

"This is not necessarily the death (of the democratic process), but the process is seriously wounded," said British Ambassador Andy Sparkes, one of around a dozen European envoys who spoke to journalists.

I feel extremely frustrated by this turn of event and feel like throwing my arms up in resignation – it seems like Congo will never have stability and peace. But mostly, I am worried for my old colleagues – the American ones that regaled me with tales of hiding in each other’s houses, having their children stuck under their desks at school for 48 hours, and needing to rescue their cats before they starved to death. But in am extremely worried for my Congolese colleagues who, though the live in the suburbs away from the city center, are often more vulnerable than American because they do not have stockpiles of food and not guards to defend them.

To catch up on blogs from people stuck in the midst of these events, visit these very interesting accounts at Congogirl, and Light in the Heart of Darkness,


Qalamana said...

The Spanish Embassy in Kinshasa war bombed last week: fortunately no one was injured...

Congratulations for your new job :)

Victoria said...

I know that this is selfsih but... I am SO glad you don't live there anymore!