The Race Against Peace: diplomacy in the DRC
The war in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which never makes world headlines, is by far the worst crisis in numbers of people killed and uprooted, before Syria, Yemen and other severely war-torn areas in the XXI century. It is one of three countries in the world declared a level three emergency by the United Nations.
The recent surge of extreme violence which began in the fall of 2014 in Beni, North Kivu, a oil and mineral-rich region in the eastern part of the country bordering Uganda, is part of this on-going war which has plagued the area since 1996, causing the death of around one million Hutu Rwandan refugees and over 10 million Congolese.
In September 2016, following the gruesome Rwangoma massacres of 13 August in Beni territory which killed 127 people in a single day, the region’s plight hit world-headlines for a moment, as Pope Francis called for an end to the shameful silence on the part of the international community. Since then the massacres have continued and no end is foreseen.
According to Beni’s civil society organization at least 3,575 civilians have been killed and 3,877 kidnapped since October 2014 in the region.[i] North Kivu Province remains the most war-affected area in the DRC accounting for over 1.1 million displaced persons out of a total population of six million people, according to the UN agency OCHA.[ii]
Mainstream media as well as expert reports attribute the escalating violence to an aged Ugandan rebellion, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), often stating that the ADF has international Jihadist links. Lyon University law graduate and member of the geostrategic research think tank DESC-WONDO, Boniface Musavuli in his forthcoming book Congo’s Beni massacres, Fake Islamists, Rwandan Unending Occupation[iii] sheds light on the historical processes since 1996 which led to Congo having “an army within the army,” as well as the unending Rwandan occupation in eastern Congo via proxy rebellions as major destabilizing factors in the region, rather than the ADF.
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