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DR Congo in better situation but still in aftermath of insecurity

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Xinhua - November 2, 2009
Mwando Simba

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entered into a decisive phase in the process of reconstruction and democratization, but the government still has much to do to get rid of insecurity.

In a recent press release, Congolese Defense Minister Charles Muando Nsimba announced the operation initiated by the armed forces FARDC and the UN mission MONUC to combat Rwandan rebels and other insurgents were on the right track with positive results.

The minister said the situation has much improved, especially in the once turbulent east, while acknowledging the government needs further efforts to boost security.

FARDC and MONUC were deployed to a great extent to neutralize these rebel forces which form the greatest obstacle to peace and economic reconstruction in the east of the country.

In Orientale province bordering Uganda and Sudan, the notorious Ugandan rebel LRA is still able to launch attacks on villages where cases of killing, looting, rape and child abduction were reported.

The LRA has waged one of the longest guerrilla wars in Africa since 1986, roaming between Uganda, Sudan, the DRC and Central African Republic. Its guerrilla-style warfare has left tens of thousands dead and 2 million homeless over years.

The three neighboring countries launched the anti-LRA operation on Dec. 14, declaring they had wiped out 80 percent of the rebel group at the end of the crackdown in March.

Although the joint military action dismantled the LRA's main base in the Garamba national park, its remnants killed more than 900 civilians in retaliation afterwards, sparking an outcry from human rights activists.

CONFRONTATION IN EQUATOR PROVINCE

Elsewhere in the central African country, clashes were reported in northern Equator province on Oct. 29, killing 47 people including police officers and civilians in dispute over fishponds.

Col. Joly Limengo, police inspector in the province, said police officers were attacked when they tried to intervene the dogfight between two villages over fishing rights.

Radio Okapi said hundreds of villagers crossed River Oubangi into the neighboring Republic of Congo in the aftermath of the confrontation, although the situation was brought under control.

Col. Limengo identified the disputing villages as Iyele and Muzala, respectively belonging to the tribes of Lobala and Boba.

The ethnic bloodshed adds to the complications in which the war-torn country is struggling out of the years of conflict in cooperation with neighboring countries and with the backing of the international community.

TENSION BETWEEN DRC AND ANGOLA

While the DRC has improved ties with its former neighboring foes Rwanda and Uganda in joint military actions, it recently witnessed tensions with the southern neighbor Angola over immigration.

In the southwestern province of Bas-Congo, the two countries exchanged the expulsion of nationals in the past months, chilling bilateral relations and deteriorating border security.

The worsening situation has led to an exodus of thousands of people from one part to another.

According to diplomatic sources, Angolan President Edouardo Dos Santos decided to boycott the recent summit of the Economic community of Central African states (CEEAC) hosted by Kinshasa to express his disappointments following the retaliatory action against the Angolan nationals living in the DRC.

The two neighbors, however, have no intention of seeing further deterioration. Both sides have agreed to set up a joint commission for border control while searching for a way-out of the standoff along their 4,300 km frontier.


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