Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376
STRATEGY PAPER: An Uneasy Alliance in Eastern Congo
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The human cost of Operation Kimia II—the ongoing joint military offensive by the Congolese army and United Nations peacekeepers against Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo—outweighs its benefits, argues a new strategy paper from Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for American Progress.
Although Kimia II has led to gains in the fight against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, by forcing the rebels to abandon a number of the lucrative mining areas that help sustain their insurgency, efforts to protect civilians during this offensive have been woefully inadequate. Since military operations against the FDLR began in January 2009, 800,000 people have fled their homes—the highest number of newly displaced in any African conflict.
Enough’s strategy paper, “An Uneasy Alliance in Eastern Congo,” calls on the Congolese government to take two immediate steps. First, it should suspend new offensive operations and focus on consolidating control over those areas that have already been cleared of the FDLR. Second, it should work vigorously with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, or MONUC, and international donors to put in place a more effective counterinsurgency approach that combines military pressure on FDLR leadership with greater incentives for FDLR rank-and-file militia members to lay down their arms and repatriate to Rwanda.
“Kimia II has been the worst of both worlds for civilians: They face predatory behavior from Congo’s abusive and haphazardly integrated national army, yet are not protected from predictable and devastating reprisal attacks from the FDLR,” says Enough Policy Advisor and report co-author Colin Thomas-Jensen. “Reducing and ultimately ending crimes against humanity demands a revamped counterinsurgency approach and the resources to carry it out effectively.”
Congo-based field researchers Noel Atama and Olivia Caeymaex co-authored the strategy paper.
READ the strategy paper.
READ a related blog by Policy Advisor Colin Thomas-Jensen on The Huffington Post.
For additional information:
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The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, contact Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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