Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rising stakes Six U.N. peacekeepers held by Congo militia-sources ::: 29/05/2006:

"KINSHASA, May 29 (Reuters) - Six Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers have been captured in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by militia fighters who are demanding a ransom for their release, U.N. and Congolese sources said on Monday.

The sources, who asked not be named, said the United Nations mission in Congo was in contact with the militia holding the Nepalese peacekeepers, who were seized during a U.N. military operation in violence-prone Ituri district on Sunday."
This is a perfect - albeit tragic - example of the rising tension around the elections. I have already addressed much of these issues in a previous post. For now, I would like to direct you to our friend 007 in Africa's article on the change in tensions that always seems to precede independance day in Congo - that is because independance day (June 30th) has recently been used as a deadline for EVERYTHING.

Speaking of rising tension, and upping the ante, the German Bundestag has FINALLY masively approved the sending of troops to the EU Congo force, which is technically designed to help ensure the electoral proceedings take place peacefully; I do not want to spit on the hand that purports to help me, but this force seems to be more for show than anything else. I guess that is what is meant by a dissuasive presence... most of the troops will be stationed between Libreville in Gabon, and in Germany. Go figure.

On an unrelated - but Congolese - topic, watch out for President Joseph Kabila's state wedding to Olive Lembe Di-Sita, normally this Sunday.


Black River Eagle said...

The German Parliament (Der Bundestag) fiercely debated this troop deployment and the only reason you will see any German forces in the DR Congo this July is due to the leadership of the new Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel.

The former Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schroeder repeatedly turned down UN requests to send military troops along with his then close political ally Jacques Chiraq to the eastern DRC, leaving France holding the bag for "Operation Artemis" a few years back. Chancellor Schroeder stated that German military forces "couldn't deal with mentality of Africans" or something similar to that phrase in national news interviews here at the time. It was clear to all that he would not intervene on behalf of the suffering people of the eastern DRC because it was not a priority and not in Germany's national interests aka his own political interests. Schroeder of course still has plenty of like-minded company all across the European Union and beyond (Russia), excluding perhaps the governments of Britain and France and Belgium.

The entire EU Security Mission for these upcoming elections in the DRC is a shameful farce and I've said so in comments at other people's blogs long before this post. In addition I was correct in stating that the deployment of EU military forces to Kinshasa was to create a security corridor from the capital's center to the airport in case an emergency evacuation of foreign nationals was needed. Period! My opinion was verified in writing just this week by certain politicians and government spokespeople here in Germany in an attempt to calm fears of the voting public that their precious sons and daughters might get caught up in a civil war breaking out in the "Heart of Darkness". That's how the state-sponsored AND independent news media here has hyped the EU Congo Mission from the very beginning___ this is not my choice of words to describe your country and its people.

But that's not why I'm here today.

You have "mail" over at my place re: the DR Congo and over at Lou's Telegraphe Congolais blog. Then you might think about leaving a comment for Jeff Koinange and Anderson Cooper of CNN over at the Anderson Cooper 360° blog re: their recent posts about the violence in Bukavu and the interview with President Joseph Kabila. I certainly am going to weigh-in on behalf of bloggers writing about the DR Congo and about the CNN news reports.

Finally, the DR Congo is "in the house" of mainstream international TV news media in a very big way. Indeed.

TheMalau said...

Bundeskanzlerin Merkel needed a show of force, and of determination in the Bundestag, and the mission to Congo was the ideal, bold action she needed. Not that I am not somewhat thankful - I guess - that the force will be coming (at least Europeans have finally mustered the guts to - even symbolically - come to help fix the mess they contributed to create), but I stand firm that this is for show, and for expatriates, and I know you wrote about that before BRE.

I also stand firm that, if the UN had a trained, equipped, human-rights savvy, and standing military force, we would not need this force AT ALL. But that is another story.

I have answered my "mail".

Black River Eagle said...

Merkel inherited this mission, she didn't create it for her own political purposes. Actually I think that it was the government of Belgium that really got the ball rolling several months ago within the EC/EU governing bodies.

U.S. military will most likely also be in the neighborhood this July-August on special maneuvers, but you won't be able to see them on TV unless somebody goofs up.

The U.N. should have what?? A standing army made up of personnel from a 175+ member nations??? Have you lost your mind!!!

Who would be in charge, the UN Security Council or the Secretary General? Actually, Carl the Pilot and I were commenting on proper training of the FARDC recently over at his blog.

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