Reporting on a recent trip to the Masisi region of North Kivu province in eastern Congo, Enough field researcher Olivia Caeymaex challenges the impression given by the Congolese government and the United Nations that the situation this war-torn region of Congo is improving.
While the Congolese government recently signed a peace agreement with the CNDP, a rival group previously led by disposed renegade general Laurent Nkunda, this public show of good will doesn’t seem to have tempered the underlying tensions in this hotly contested territory.
Here’s a glimpse:
Despite the CNDP’s peace agreement with the Congolese government, the movement continues to operate their own government structures throughout much of Masisi, including lucrative tax collection and control over security services. This operation is based out of the town of Mushake. Following a meeting between the CNDP and the Congolese government on December 21, the CNDP agreed to close down the parallel administration. But the CNDP continues to argue it first needs to be politically integrated at the national level before stopping their tax system and parallel administration. This is another worrying sign of strains in the relationship between the Congolese government and the CNDP, despite the move by the government to take charge of CNDP’s war-wounded around Christmas time last year.
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This is the first of two field dispatches in a series from Olivia’s recent trip. Part II coming soon.