Tuesday, March 22, 2005

DR Congo: Some Justice?

DR Congo militia chief arrested

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they have arrested several senior members of militia groups active in the north-eastern Ituri region.

Among those seized was Thomas Lubanga of the main Hema militia group, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), according to sources in Kinshasa.

Hema and Lendu militias are vying for control of the mineral-rich province, the country's most volatile.
It was about time some action was taken. Whether it was the right action will be determined by what happens next. But Thomas Lubanga and other militias - Hema AND Lendu - are just the latest of opportunistic warlords, that have understood that in Congo there are two ways to get in power: Be a loud enough political opponent that you cannot be ignored, and therefore you must be bought with a seat in the state institutions, or - more "efficiently" - take up arms, and massacre people, and carve yourself a territory that your troops control in this vast country. They, like many of our (if you haven't noticed, I am Congolese)over 600-people-strong leadership, have chosen the second option, hoping it would guarantee them a place at the table, and a piece of the very lucrative cake. They lucked out, and that is it, nothing more. They have done very little more than many of those we call our members of government. They just did it at the wrong time; they miscalculated, and now they will pay - as they should - at the hand of others who did the exact same thing. Somehow, it leaves me with a bittersweet taste. I wonder...

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