Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

Congo's conflict through the eyes of France 24 readers

Text by Lorena GALLIOT

Latest update : 2008-10-30

The recent upsurge in violence in the restive eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has sparked a vivid debate among FRANCE 24 readers. Some blame neighbouring Rwandan leader Paul Kagame, others Hutu extremists.

Watch our two-part Debate: 'Going to war in the Democratic Republic of Congo?'

 

 

Read France 24's special coverage of the long-term crisis in Eastern DRC

 

FRANCE 24’s coverage of the recent upsurge in violence in the restive eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has sparked a vivid debate between readers, as shown by the numerous comments posted on this website.

 

Some readers directly accuse rebel leader Laurent Nkunda of being no more than a Rwandan pawn, playing for the interests of President Paul Kagame, a fellow Tutsi. “Everyone knows that Tutsi general Nkunda is fighting against the elected Congolese government on behalf of the dictator Paul Kagame,” writes one anonymous contributor.

 

Others go even further. Louison Lesuka, writing from the British city of Manchester, claims that the conflict is “a well thought-out plan established by Rwandan President Paul Kagame to increase his country’s control over regions bordering with the DRC and seize our natural resources”.

 

A war over natural resources ?

 

The North Kivu region, where the most recent clashes between the Congolese military and Nkunda’s rebel militias have taken place, is home to some of Africa’s largest pewter and copper mine fields. Both the military and the country’s rebels are involved in the trade, which makes for plenty of tension.

 

Others, however, do not think that natural resources are really at the heart of the conflict. “Do I really need to remind you that Congo did not wait for Kagame to plunge into chaos?” writes an exasperated Patrick from the United States. “When did Congo’s immense resources ever benefit the Congolese people?” he asks.

 

“You are wrong in stating that the conflict is due to a resource battle over Congolese commodities. Indeed, fighting is taking place over these commodities (resulting in massive death and slavery), but it is not so much the source of the ongoing battle as a means of funding it,” writes Theophilus.

 

Both readers put forward the conflict’s historical origins. For Teophilus, “What is happening in Kivu right now is a direct result of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, after which extremist Hutu rebels went after Tutsis living in Congo.”

 

Operation Turquoise's hertiage

 

“The Congolese can thank France’s Operation Turquoise for the presence of Rwandan genocide perpetrators in Congo!” declares Patrick, referring to a French humanitarian mission in April 1994, in the last days of the Rwandan genocide. The French army is widely believed to have – deliberately or inadvertently – allowed extremist Hutu militias to escape to neighbouring Congo as civilian populations were evacuated. Some now claim that these extremists are fighting alongside the Congolese army and regularly attack the Tutsi population of the DRC.

 

“The disarmament [of these rebels] was at the centre of all the peace agreements signed during the DRC crisis,” writes Patrick. “Yet they are still here, armed, fed and actively collaborating with the Government! Nkunda would simply never have existed without them!”

 

The latest of these peace agreements was signed in Nairobi in 2007. It specifically requests the extradition of exiled Rwandan Hutu militias back to Rwanda. So far, the agreement has been widely violated, sparking Nkunda’s latest intervention. “One of Nkunda’s main purposes in fighting right now is supposedly to ensure the protection of the Tutsi population living in Congo,” explains Theophilus.

 

Many readers have called for direct international intervention in the conflict, giving greater powers to the 17,000-strong MONUC peacekeeping mission. “As long as the United Nations and the African Union do not get actively involved in the Great Lakes region, both politically and militarily, there can be no long-term stability in the DRC,” claims Sly, writing from the Ivory Coast.

 

All we can do, concludes Patrick is “wish peace for the poor people of Eastern DRC. They really don’t deserve this…”
 

Date created : 2008-10-30

COMMENT(S)