Democratic Republic of the Congo 2006

Yearbook 2006

Congo. In February, the UN, the EU, the Red Cross and other organizations appealed to the world’s countries for about SEK 5 billion. in humanitarian aid to Democratic Republic of the Congo. The situation in the disintegrated and poor country is disastrous. Millions lack decent human housing, the sanitary conditions are terrible, there is severe food shortages and almost all health care is eliminated. Yet after six months, only a third of the requested sum had flown in, and aid organizations spoke bitterly that 1,000 civilians died unnecessarily every day.

Although the war officially ended in 2003, battles continued periodically in parts of the country. In Shaba (Katanga) in the southeast, over 100,000 people were displaced during the first months of the year due to fighting between the army and militia. Towards the end of the year, more than 10,000 fled to Uganda, away from fighting between the army and the forces of a local warlord. However, one of the worst militia leaders from the Ituri region in the northeast, Thomas Lubanga, was arrested and sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, where he was indicted on three counts for war crimes involving forced recruitment of children. Deputy President and Candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba was reported to the ICC by a court in the Central African Republic, where his militia was accused of assaulting civilians in helping it defeat a coup attempt in 2002.

According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Democratic Republic of Congo include Independence Day (June 30) and New Year (January 1). A large part of the year was marked by Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first democratic elections since 1960. The UN gave the EU clear sign of sending an elite force of about 1,500 men, including a smaller group of Swedes, to be prepared for the elections. The electoral movement became extremely dirty. The candidates were criticized for gross, unfounded allegations against each other and a complete lack of ethics and corporate social responsibility. Several elections were disturbed by violence and clashes. But election observers also urged the police to respect the freedom of assembly, since several campaign meetings were dissolved by force of order. However, the July 30 elections themselves were conducted under mostly peaceful forms. Transitional regime president Joseph Kabila received the most votes in the first round of the presidential election, but was forced to a decisive round against Jean-Pierre Bemba. Severe unrest erupted in the capital Kinshasa between the boats’ supporters and private militia when the result was announced and about twenty people were killed. In the parliamentary elections, Kabila’s party received the PPRD most mandate, almost before Bemba’s MLC, and as expected it became necessary to form a coalition government. Prior to the second round, Kabila was supported by the two most prominent candidates, including 81-year-old former Deputy Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga, who was close associate of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s legendary first leader Patrice Lumumba. In the decisive election, Kabila received just over 58% of the vote against just under 42% for Bemba. The latter appealed, but the protest was rejected by the Supreme Court and he then admitted defeated. On December 6, 35-year-old Joseph Kabila could be formally and officially installed as Africa’s youngest president in the presence of a number of other heads of state from the continent. He appointed Antoine Gizenga a few weeks later as prime minister.

September

WHO investigates allegations against aid workers

September 29

The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching an investigation into allegations that sex workers were sexually abused by WHO staff during the Ebola epidemic in eastern Congo-Kinshasa. The WHO emphasizes that the organization has zero tolerance for “sexual exploitation”. The investigation begins after the New Humanitarian Foundation reported that about 50 women have accused aid workers from the WHO, but also established voluntary organizations for sexual exploitation. Among other things, this has meant that women have been offered employment in exchange for sex. Representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) later said they would also investigate allegations against their staff. In October, the Congolese government also announced that it would conduct its own investigation.

Separatists attack Lubumbashi

September 26

During the night, separatists from the militia group Bakata Katanga enter central Lubumbashi in Katanga, where they hoist the flag of the Republic of Katanga. Two policemen are beheaded and a soldier is shot dead, before the security forces drive back the rebels. Several are killed, wounded or captured. A similar flag operation took place in 2015, but then the rebels handed themselves over to the UN. They were later disarmed, and were able to return to civilian life. The rebels now believe that the latter were abandoned by the authorities after a short training period.

Tshisekedi appeals to the UN for debt relief

September 23

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, President Félix Tshisekedi appeals for debt relief and other assistance to Congo-Kinshasa and other developing countries to make it easier for them to deal with the consequences of the ongoing pandemic. At the same time, he says that the countries also need support to fight the virus disease.

Conflicts over land are leading to unrest in Kasai

September 23

New unrest is reported from the Kasai region. At least 11 people are killed, more than 900 homes set on fire and about 10,000 people forced to flee. The violence that, according to the authorities, broke out on 5 September is about the conflicts over agricultural land.

Militia groups promise a ceasefire in South Kivu

16 September

About 70 militia groups in the eastern province of South Kivu say they have stopped all hostilities. It says a civilian representative of the militias after a three-day meeting in Murhesa, near the provincial capital Bukavu, partly organized by a US conflict resolution group, Search for Common Ground. The Deputy Minister of Defense Sylvain Mutombo also attended the meeting. After a similar meeting at the end of 2019, 32 groups made a similar promise, but according to an observer organization Kivu Security Tracker (KST), various militia groups have killed 139 people in South Kivu since the turn of the year.

58 killed in new violence in Ituri

September 10

58 people are killed in new acts of violence in a forest area called Tshabi in the eastern province of Ituri. Another number of people are feared to have been abducted, according to eyewitnesses. Many residents have also fled the area. The militant ADF guerrillas, a Muslim group with roots in Uganda, are suspected of being behind the act.

Demonstrations in support of Mukwege

September 4

Hundreds of people gather in Bukavu in North Kivu to show their support for the doctor Denis Mukwege, who has recently received several death threats (see August 2020). They demand his protection, and that Rwanda’s new ambassador to the country be expelled, accusing him of trying to rewrite the history of Rwandan involvement in massacres in eastern Congo-Kinshasa during the civil wars. Later, the UN says that security for Mukwege will be strengthened again.

Soldiers and police are convicted of rape

September 4

21 soldiers and a police officer are convicted of raping a military court in South Kivu. The abuses are said to have been committed in Ruziz, a plain between Bukavu and Uvira. Among the 23 victims are a nine-year-old girl and a young boy, according to information from the Panzi Foundation, led by Denis Mukwege, who in 2018 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with raped women.

UN chief: Rebels should not be granted amnesty by peace agreement

2 September

Leila Zerrougui, head of the UN force Monusco, says she does not believe that rebels who commit serious abuses should be granted amnesty in a possible peace agreement. If you were to give them an amnesty, it is as if some facts would not exist, and refer to the acts of violence perpetrated by groups such as the ADF and Codeco in North Kivu and Ituri in the eastern part of the country.

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