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What do you think of conflict in Africa?
It doesn't affect me. I couldn't care less. 15%  15%  [ 107 ]
I do business with Africa, so any instability in the region concerns me. 1%  1%  [ 8 ]
I have friends in Africa (missionairies; aid workers; residents) and I worry about their safety. 8%  8%  [ 57 ]
I live in Africa (state country and opinion). 0%  0%  [ 3 ]
Events in Africa are important as examples of the shit hitting the fan, and I can learn a lot from them. 42%  42%  [ 303 ]
It's a humanitarian crisis and I am concerned about about civilian suffering. 28%  28%  [ 201 ]
Other opinion (please state). 5%  5%  [ 34 ]
Total votes : 713
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:45 am 
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7839510.stm
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Rwandan soldiers enter DR Congo
Rwandan troops have entered eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for a joint operation with the Congolese against a Rwandan Hutu militia.

A UN spokesman told the BBC about 2,000 Rwandan troops had crossed the border.

DR Congo and Rwanda agreed last month to take joint action against the FDLR militia, whose leaders have been linked to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


more info at the link to the beeb

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:20 pm 
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Meh, job security.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:09 pm 
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Embedded in this story is the news that some of Nkunda's CNDP forces have split and joined the Rwandan regulars who have been invited in to go after the Hutu militias.

Quote:
CNDP commanders recently announced a split from their leader, General Laurent Nkunda, and have now joined the Rwandan-Congolese force pursuing the FDLR.

AFP news agency reported on Thursday that Congolese and Rwandan troops were heading towards the stronghold of Gen Nkunda in Bunangana, about 30km (20 miles) east of Rutshuru.


If they are supposed to be fighting Hutus, why are they heading for Nkunda? He is regarded as a criminal by the leadership in Kinshasa, so maybe the plan is to take him out and absorb his forces. Anybody have any insight into this?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:40 am 
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Nkunda Nkaptured!

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Rwanda arrests Congo rebel leader

Gen Laurent Nkunda, leader of the strongest rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has been arrested in Rwanda.

He crossed the border after resisting a joint Rwandan-Congolese operation to arrest him, both countries say. Correspondents say it is a startling about-turn by Rwanda, which had been accused of backing Gen Nkunda. Some 4,000 Rwandan troops this week entered DR Congo to help fight rebel forces in the area. Correspondents say Gen Nkunda's arrest removes one obstacle to peace but other rebel groups remain active. BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says Gen Nkunda has been caught in the rapidly changing diplomatic situation in Central Africa.

Gen Nkunda had been Rwanda's ally in eastern DR Congo - a Tutsi, like Rwanda's leaders, he guarded their Western flank against attacks from the Hutu forces who fled there after the Rwandan genocide of 1994. But in mid-November Rwanda shifted its position, announcing it would work with the Congolese to destroy the Hutu rebels.

Gen Nkunda did not back the new alliance and so became an impediment to Rwandan plans in the region, causing Rwanda to turn on him, our correspondent says. The decision earlier this month by a group of Gen Nkunda's top commanders to break away and join forces with government troops gave them their opportunity, he adds. Henry Boshoff, an analyst from South Africa's Institute for Security Studies, told the BBC that following intense diplomatic pressure in recent months, Rwanda was obliged to arrest Gen Nkunda.

The next step is for the joint Congolese-Rwandan force to tackle the FDLR Hutu rebels, some of whose leaders are accused of involvement in the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. But Mr Boshoff says this may not be easy, as they have resisted previous attempts to disarm them.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:47 am 
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That rates a big "Hummm"....

I wonder what the deal is? He just retiring? Joining the govt? Or did the govt feel he was too big and wanted to remove a threat before it threatened them?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:03 am 
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phil_in_cs wrote:
That rates a big "Hummm"....

I wonder what the deal is? He just retiring? Joining the govt? Or did the govt feel he was too big and wanted to remove a threat before it threatened them?


DRC has a warrant for his arrest, and it's unclear whether Rwanda will turn him over at this point. My guess is they won't. Maybe there will be a trial or court-martial in Rwanda, a wrist slap, and a nice retirement as a hero of the Tutsi people.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Deschain wrote:
dogbane wrote:
As the poll on this thread shows, a significant minority here at ZS don't care, because it doesn't affect them.


In the defense of those who don't care either way, I am also watching and trying to learn. This doesn't affect me, really- there's probably dozens of smaller, equally ugly conflicts occurring that just aren't reported. Africa seems to be progressing steadily backwards without any western help- and often with tons of aid from the West, it's still going way downhill. The UN is toothless, so they can't be expected to resolve this. Both sides are equally brutal, vicious and cruel, and it can be argued that no matter who comes out ahead in these conflicts, the common people lose. There is no real winners here, just like in Liberia- just a lot of a losers and a lot of corpses.

Deschain

I don't care what is happening over there and I have no respect for the UN as an organization.
I am over 40 years old and I can't remember a time when Africa was not in the news over some issue and the billions the west has spent trying to fix it.
I also believe that the reason the West hasn't gone in their like they have done in the middle east is simply the fact that we need the oil from the middle east.
Developed nations have been pretty hypocritical on how and why they enter these areas of conflict.
I personally think we should scrap the UN as it is a sad joke, let these countries sort themselves out and look after our own problems first.

We can't fix the world so maybe we should try to fix our little corner of it first


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:14 pm 
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Lame. Nkunda seemed like a decent shot at stability and such. Ah, well, now he's being tortured to death and we'll never hear of him again.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:21 pm 
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coyotebc wrote:
I also believe that the reason the West hasn't gone in their like they have done in the middle east is simply the fact that we need the oil from the middle east.


TGC linked this on the previous page. It's about the presence in Eastern Congo of vital minerals used for high-tech communications equipment, the connections between Western comtech industries and militia-operated mines, and a cancelled Chinese infratructure contract with the DRC.

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Last edited by dogbane on Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:03 pm 
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Nkunda's spectacular fall

By Peter Greste
BBC News, Nairobi

By almost any measure, it has been a spectacular reversal of fortune for General Laurent Nkunda.

Two weeks ago, he was widely regarded as the key power-broker in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He had forced the Congolese government into direct negotiations after advancing his troops to the outskirts of the regional capital, Goma.

A seemingly endless conga-line of diplomats and envoys had passed through his headquarters in the town of Rutshuru, begging him to accept a permanent ceasefire and a lasting peace agreement.

When I last saw him, Gen Nkunda was on the veranda of his sprawling farmhouse headquarters, locked in an animated conversation with diplomats despatched by the UN secretary general's special envoy.

Meanwhile, a European Union delegation led by Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Louis Michele sipped tea in the lounge waiting for their turn with the uniformed commander.

Capable military leader

Now he is under arrest, captured by the Rwandan troops he once served; his own rebels under the command of the Congolese forces they'd been fighting only months earlier.

Gen Nkunda built his reputation as a loyal and capable military leader in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) - the rebel force which ended the genocide of 1994, and drove the ethnic Hutu Interahamwe militias out of Rwanda and into eastern Congo.

Gen Nkunda then joined rebels led by Laurent Kabila in the Congo (then Zaire) to topple President Mobutu Sese Seko from power.

But when Mr Kabila broke with his Rwandan allies, Laurent Nkunda became a commander in another rebel force, the Congolese Rally for Democracy.

That force eventually joined the coalition government and Laurent Nkunda was promoted to general in the Congolese Army.

But he never took up his post, instead forming his own militia, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), which he said was aimed at protecting eastern Congo from the remnants of the Interahamwe.

The coincidence of goals for both Gen Nkunda and Rwanda - targeting those responsible for the genocide - led many to assume he had the covert backing of his former comrades in the RPF.

That is also why his arrest by the Rwandans seems such a stunning turn-around.

Battle mistake?

His greatest mistake may have been the military offensive he launched last October, pushing his troops to the edge of Goma, and forcing more than a quarter of a million people from their homes in the process.

The attack humiliated the Congolese army, and appeared to trigger a cabinet reshuffle in Kinshasa where President Joseph Kabila (Laurent Kabila's son) scrambled to shore up his own political support.

That, and intense international pressure to end the conflict, opened the space for a new relationship between Kinshasa and Kigali.

The first signs of trouble for Gen Nkunda emerged earlier this month, when his chief-of-staff, Gen Bosco Ntaganda, announced that the group's leader had been relieved of his duties because "of a failure of political leadership".

Then Gen Ntaganda announced his forces would work with the Congolese army to fight the Hutu militias, and eventually integrate into the army.

And in a final blow, the Congolese government invited about 4,000 Rwandan troops to join them in their own bi-lateral push against the Hutu forces.

It is not entirely clear what will happen to Gen Nkunda now.

The Congolese government has indicted him for war crimes, and will almost certainly seek his extradition.

It's less clear whether the Rwandan authorities will be willing to hand him over to their former rivals and risk damaging revelations about their past relationship.

But either way, Gen Nkunda appears to be out of the way, and his forces effectively neutralised.

War not over

All this is, of course, good news for the civilians who have suffered terribly from the fighting. But it doesn't mean the war is over.

In fact UN diplomats have warned that it could even deteriorate in the short term.

The new joint Congolese-Rwandan force is yet to take on the Hutu militias every bit as ruthless as the Lord's Resistance Army which has killed at least 600 civilians in reprisals for a similar multi-national offensive further to the north.

And eastern Congo is - still - a bewildering patchwork of warlords who will scramble to fill the vacuum.

Gen Nkunda's arrest takes one element out of the problem, but it by no means solves it.


Spectacular fall, indeed. I'm fairly astonished at the sudden turnover that took place. Whatever happens to him, so long as some peace comes to that region and the Hutu militias are crushed, I'll be satisfied with the turn of events.

In other Congo news:

Quote:
Former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga goes on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday over the use of child soldiers.

Mr Lubanga faces six charges of recruiting and using children to fight during the DR Congo's brutal five-year conflict that ended in 2003.

Prosecutors say child soldiers were used to kill members of a rival ethnic group, or as Mr Lubanga's bodyguards.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7850397.stm

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:16 pm 
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This story makes me think of the regular pipeline explosions in Nigeria caused by people tapping into the line. The temptation to grant Darwin awards is dampened by the understanding of how desperate some of these people are.

Quote:
Scores killed in Kenya petrol fire

At least 111 people have died in Kenya after an overturned petrol tanker caught fire on a highway and exploded.

Reports say the fire broke out after hundreds of people gathered to collect spilled fuel.

About 200 people have also been injured in the blaze, in the town of Molo. Officials say the death toll may rise.

The cause of the fire is not clear. Some reports said it was caused by a lit cigarette, but others said it had been started deliberately.

One woman at the scene said her two sons were among the several hundred people who had run to collect petrol after the tanker crashed and she had not been able to find them.

"I tried to stop them but they did not listen, they told me everyone is going there for the free fuel," she told Reuters.

A survivor of the fire said he had rushed to the scene to collect fuel when he had heard of the accident.

"I had taken the first jerrycan back to my home and when I came back for the second, I heard an explosion and it was like we all caught fire, I don't even know how I got here," Michael Kerich told AFP news agency at a hospital in Nakuru.

Interior Minister George Saitoti said 111 people had died so far and 34 with serious injuries had been airlifted to Nairobi.

He said four policemen were among those killed.

Rift Valley police provincial commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan warned the toll could rise, and said he had ordered 150 body bags to be delivered to Molo.

'Slow response'

It is not clear exactly how the fire broke out.

Kenya Red Cross spokesman Titus Mung'ou told Reuters news agency it could have been started by someone dropping a cigarette.

But Mr Hassan said the fire may have been lit by people whom the police were trying to keep away from the petrol.

"We don't exactly know how the fire started because the allegation is that somebody got annoyed with the way they were being chased away from the place by security personnel and lit the fire, others are saying the fire started accidentally," he said.

"But, however, in the process there was an explosion, there was fire everywhere and we have bodies littered all over this place."

The Nation newspaper has criticised what it said was a slow official response to the fire, which was still reported to be burning several hours later.

"The Nakuru Municipal Council's fire engine arrived at the scene more than an hour after the explosion," said the newspaper, adding that Molo itself has no fire engine.

The BBC's Peter Greste, in Nairobi, says Kenya's emergency services have a poor record for public safety standards.

The incident comes just days after a devastating fire at a supermarket in the Kenyan capital Nairobi killed at least 25 people.

Kenyan media also criticised the emergency response to that disaster, calling it slow and inadequate.


In other news, the ongoing war crimes trial of DR Congo warlord Thomas Lubanga. This is the first trial in the international war crimes court. The other day, a witness against Lubanga recanted in the afternoon his morning testimony after a break. Apparently, though the witness was behind a screen so the media couldn't see him, Lubanga could see him clearly and glared at the witness throughout the morning testimony. After the recantation, Lubanga smiled warmly at the witness.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:52 pm 
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mrdbeau wrote:
Africa is very much like America before Europeans started settling it. The American Indians over here were pretty much constantly engaged in wars and territorial disputes and seemed to really have fun killing each other. The only reason that stopped is because Europeans moved over here and they had a common enemy to fight. Plus there weren't nearly as many of them left after the smallpox and various diseases wiped out most of them.


Your understanding of Indian history is incredibly lacking.

That's the best way I can put it without being a dick.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:40 am 
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ista_hota wrote:
Your understanding of Indian history is incredibly lacking.

That's the best way I can put it without being a dick.


I'd be interested in what you've learned in history classes vs. what I've done a fair bit of reading on. PM me.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:19 am 
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mrdbeau wrote:
ista_hota wrote:
Your understanding of Indian history is incredibly lacking.

That's the best way I can put it without being a dick.


I'd be interested in what you've learned in history classes vs. what I've done a fair bit of reading on. PM me.


Look, sorry if the tone of my post came off snippy but I kinda found it personally insulting. You may not have intended it to come across this way, but I read it as saying "Indian people were totally embroiled in savagery and warfare until the kind Europeans came along and have them something worth fighting for."

There are NUMEROUS examples of highly developed and civilized Indian peoples and democracies existing the entire length of U.S history and before the settlers even even came. John Locke himself quipped "If those savages to the north can form a near perfect union, then why cannot we?" referring to the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Alliances between plains tribes were around plenty of time before whites ever set foot on the great plains. Using the Lakota and Cheyenne example - our people didn't just suddenly band together to whoop Custer's ass - they were already camped together peacefully - in fact many Lakota villages featured a separate, honorary lodge circle just for visiting Cheyenne - who were pretty much a permanent fixture.

Now, that aside - to give you an example of the 'savagery' of Indian on Indian warfare - my own people afforded HIGHER accolade and honor for successfully NOT killing your enemy in battle, seeing fighting to the death as a last resort and gross unpleasantry - hence the archetype of 'counting coup'.

My grandmother used to tell me stories passed down from her grandfather about how even with all the fury of the United States Army chasing us around, our people would go out and fight with the Crow and Snake as kind of a VACATION from the savagery of warring with the U.S. Because raiding eachother for trophies, horses or accolade - where you might lose a man here and there but everyone knew where to draw the line and was afforded courtesy... was a hell of a lot more civilized than anything the U.S could offer on the field of battle.

Now again, I'm sorry if I took offense to your post comparing Indian peoples with the kinds of genocidal and inhumane behaviors witnessed in Africa in recent generations - particularly the Huti/Tutsi issues - but I'm afraid that I find it personally insulting to the honor and integrity of my own people to compare us warring over horses, camp sites and who can hit who with a stick, to one group of people starving, raping and generally ethnically cleansing another.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:55 am 
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Well-said, ista_hota. Pilamiya.

I should add that Africa is in a state of collapse in many places after a long period of foreign exploitation and domestic corruption.

North America after contact went through significant changes--even the collapse of the Mississippian chiefdoms--but by the 18th Century the indigenous cultures had achieved a kind of equilibrium again, with the functioning societies ista_hota describes, which were then, again, thrown into chaos by the expansionism of the Anglo-American state.

The comparison of historic Native America and contemporary Africa does not work on any significant level.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:34 am 
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I don't think there's anywhere that has an analouge to Africa. South America maybe (mix of primitive and civillised cultures (no prejudice assosiated with either term, civillised just means lives in cities), along with lots of indigineous on indigineous warfare, followed by Us Lot charging in, playing one off against the other.

Of Early socities, cultures to live in, If I had to choose one that wasn't now (because face it, now is the awesomest time), and I didn't get to pick which social status I was, it's be one of the Northern American Native Cultures (as we don't know enough about our own Norther European neaolithic cultures). Especially if I didn't know wether I'd be a bloke or not.

Back On topic, and so this isn't turned into: 'I wants to be Hiawatha'


That said, uniting against a common enemy is a good thing, and the fact that tribal politics and power struggles exist often across borders created by us lot because the lines looked pretty on the map, is one of the reasons why africa SHTF, The Idea of unity as a nation is often lacking (it has no good reason to exist), and the military is often politically involved. I went to school with the Daughter of a prominent Nigerian Politician, and maybe thats biased my views towards the leadership of most african nations, but the only one that seems to be doing halfway decent is Botswana, which is odd, because on the face of it, you'd think, that like most other african nations, each tribe would vote for it's own representative, instead, it seems to have a good and working goverment (and an apolitical, well trained military).

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:00 am 
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Now it's Madagascar.

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Deadly power struggle lays Madagascar low

Madagascar's opposition, which had seemed to be running out of steam, is likely to be given fresh impetus by the shooting dead of 28 of its supporters on Saturday.

The government now has blood on its hands.

Such bloodshed is not unheard of in Madagascar but it is rare.

People had hoped that the political crisis in 2002 which brought Marc Ravalomanana to office represented the last rites of the bad old days. Stability and growth would follow.

That will seem a fairytale in the wake of these killings.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:28 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:34 pm 
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Fantastic.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:39 am 
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Hutu rebels killed in Congo raid

At least 40 Rwandan Hutu rebels have been killed in air strikes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to military officials.

The air raids, in the east of the country, came during a joint offensive by the Congolese and Rwandan armies.

A rebel commander, Edmond Ngarambe, is reported to have surrendered along with other rebel fighters.

The Congolese government has allowed Rwandan troops into its territory to pursue Rwandan rebels based there.

The numbers killed in the air raids - 75km west of the provincial capital Goma - make them the deadliest since the arrival of Rwandan forces in January.

One air strike was directed specifically at a meeting of rebel commanders belonging to the Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), some of whose leaders are accused of involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.


Hutu rebels are also accused of killing over 100 civilians, abducting some as human shields and hacking others to death. It's good to see this concerted effort to wipe out the FDLR.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:09 pm 
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There's some hope for Zimbabwe at long last. There's a unity government, Morgan Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister and they've given up on the Zimbabwe dollar in favour of the US dollar and ZA rand.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7884307.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7888516.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7885343.stm

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:30 pm 
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The headline in the world news section of the Saturday edition of The West Australian reads...

Brutal rebel Goliaths come up against a town full of Davids

It could just have easily read...

Lords' Humongous says "Just walk away" to Bangadi

or

Seven Samurai fail to show - So defiant township mounts own defence

I can't find an online version of the article in the west australian so here's a quick synopsis and two links to other articles on the same story.

Quote:
The town of Bangadi, 1675km north east of the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, Kinshasa, got a terrifying warning from Ugandan rebels known as the Lord's Resistance Army. They sent torture victims - including a man whose back was sliced with a machette- to warn the people they would be next.
The town's three policemen fled and there was no response from the military and United Nations peacekeepers to the increasingly panicked pleas for help. That's when residents realised they were on thier own.

"We were sending warnings and begging for help practically every day for two weeks. And nothing happened," said community leader Nicolas Akoyo Efudha. "We finally understood that we were abandoned - in danger and without protection."

So Akoyo called a town meeting and told everyone to bring whatever weapons they had: pre-World War II rifles, homemade shotguns, lances, swords, machetes, hunting knives, bows with sheaths of poisoned arrows.

The women came armed with kitchen knives and log-sized wooden pestles used to pound yams into flour.

The townspeople have so far successfully driven off two attacks by the ugandan rebels.

I nominate Community leader Nicolas Akoya Efuda for the Man of War 2009 "William Wallace" award.

Watch this space.


Links...

http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,,2-11-1447_2469291,00.html

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gTOMiCuUL0EqCjU5lokrQe6TdEdQD96AABG80

And some NGO background...

http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/invoke.cfm?objectid=1785E23D-15C5-F00A-25A49A88FDC3464E&component=toolkit.article&method=full_html
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:41 am 
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damm good for them.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:35 am 
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Bangadi update:
http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa ... st_rebels/
Quote:
News of Bangadi's success - and the lack of military protection - have spurred hundreds of villages to form self-defense groups, according to Avril Benoit, a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders. The ragtag groups are filling a security vacuum as Congo tries to recover from back-to-back civil wars that devastated the Central African nation over nearly a decade. Aid workers and human rights activists are watching the phenomenon with trepidation. In a part of Congo with dozens of militias and rebels, they fear these self-defense groups could transform into a menacing force.

Before dawn on Oct. 19, Bangadi became the rebels' target. They descended first on the former abbey on the outskirts of town, killing its residents. But as the fighters tried to advance, they were surprised by more than a half-dozen ambushes by residents armed with makeshift weapons, some hiding in ditches. Before the rebels reached the central market, they had been defeated and took flight. Akoyo said residents counted 43 rebels who came into town. Seven got away and the rest were killed, he said. The civilian toll was 16 dead.

Today, the abbey is abandoned. Survivors, along with thousands of people from surrounding villages, are camped in Bangadi; its population has exploded from 15,000 to 35,000. About 20 miles outside Bangadi lies evidence of what happens when there is no one to resist an attack by the Lord's Resistance Army: More than a mile of huts along a dirt track have been burned to the ground.

On Jan. 24, the army finally sent troops to Bangadi: 175 soldiers came. Their presence is more of a worry than a reassurance, said Akoyo, because the soldiers' rations have run out and they haven't been paid.

"This is a dangerous situation," Akoyo said. "They haven't started yet, but soon, if they don't get provisioned, they'll start requisitioning the little food we have."

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