Chaos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By: Mohammed B Mohammed I

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been plagued by decades of violence. Millions have been displaced or have died as a result of the conflict between the Congelese Government and various groups of rebels. 5.4 million lives have been lost since 1998. 2.4 million people have become displaced and 1,152 women were raped daily (2012). The DRC is truly a modern day hell.The history of this story begins in 2008 when the violence intensified and a new rebel group, M23, formed.[Map of the conflict areas]April 2008 was supposed to finally be an end to decades of violence. However, the much sought after peace accord came to a turbulent end when the rebels accused President Kabila of not adhering to his peace agreement. As a result, fighting broke out again when government troops clashed with rebels from Rwanda. By October 2008, the rebels had captured the city of Rumangabo.In 2009, President Kabila tried to end the fighting once again with a new peace agreement that promised amnesty for the rebels and opportunities to integrate themselves into the Congelese Army on the condition that the rebels ceased all violence. This peace agreement held briefly until accusations arose that President Kabila was not keeping his promises. Fighting within the Kivu provinces escalated as thousands fled to escape the violence.DRC’s troubles are further complicated by the 2011 presidential election. Mistrust of the government has grown as it is widely suspected that Kabila rigged the election through interference with the vote count. The election was widely condemned internationally.Adding to DRC’s state of affairs are its troubles with its neighbors, Uganda and Rwanda. The DRC holds Rwanda responsible for the upsurge of violence that began in 2008, blaming it for funding the anti-Kabila rebels. The United Nations Security Council voted in 2011 to implement sanctions against Rwanda and Uganda, because the two countries were accused of providing financial resources, military training, and armaments to the rebels. However, these sanctions have not been effective.The UN Peacekeeping effort has also had troubles of its own. DRC is the world’s largest peacekeeper effort and the most expensive. 19,000 peacekeepers work in the DRC with a budget of $1.4 billion. However, it is a situation that is struggling to maintain order. Medecin Sans Frontieres accused the UN of failing to provide adequate safety to civilians displaced by the violence in 2009. The UN has also had issues with its security forces being accused of sexual abuse within the IDP camps.Who are the rebels causing the unrest? The dominant group leading the destabilizing efforts is called M23. Started in March 2012, this group is composed of Tutsis and former members of the CNDP ( National Congress for the Defence of the People). It formed after former rebels were dissatisfied with the conditions of Kabila’s Peace agreement in 2009. Rebels integrated into the Congelese army voiced complaints of inadequate food rations and pay. Rebels also accused Kabila of retracting his amnesty agreement when he cooperated with the International Criminal Court for the indictment of General Ntaganda for war crimes. Since April, M23 has taken the towns of Rutshuru, Bunagana, and the large city of Goma. Unless M23 is defeated, The organization plans to take over the capital, Kinshasa, after dominating the East. It is estimated that the group is composed of 1,200 men.One of the main IDP camps in region is Mugunga III,run by the UN in North Kivu, a few kilometers west of the large city of Goma. 30,000 IDPs reside in the camp, with more coming in each day as they flee the violence. The camp’s demographics include thousands of rape victims, ex combatants, and former child soldiers. Conditions in Mugunga III are deplorable as rebels have broken into the camp several times, stealing the limited food rations that Mugunga III has.These are just some of the notable problems you will have to deal with in your adventure.THE ACTORS: PICK ONE TO BEGIN YOUR ADVENTUREUN Field Officer: You are the head of Mugunga III, responsible for reporting to UN headquarters in Kinshasa on the conditions at the camp. You have worked here since 2009 and you hope to finish your service on good terms. You are responsible for coordinating relief efforts between the various NGOs that work at the camp as well as ensuring that relations with the local government remain on good terms.Radio Okapi Journalist: You are responsible for writing stories from Mugunga III to broadcast on Radio Okapi. You are one of 200 staff of Radio Okapi, which is funded by the United Nations and Hirondelle, a Swiss news agency.
UN Field Officer 
Radio Okapi Journalist