Adam Musa is a freelance journalist and community psychologist. The opinions expressed are his own.
A couple of days back, it was estimated between 600 and 800 soldiers belonging to Democratic Republic of Congo under the leadership of President Joseph Kabila escaped to Uganda to seek refuge after a serious battle with rebels of General BoscoNtaganda.
Unfortunately, when two elephants are fighting, it is the grass that suffers, meaning thousands of Congolese civilians are fleeing towards Uganda’s boarder to seek for refuge as a result of the intensified fighting between the Government forces and Rebels.
When the Late Laurent Desire Kabila launched an all-time offensive that led to the overthrow of Mobutu SeseSeko, finally around mid-1997, the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo formerly known as Zaire has never been the same in terms of sovereignty from national to regional security.
The Democratic Republic of Congo ever since, became a regional league for bullet exchanges among different war lords and the so called government forces.
Before the issue of the war lords emerges as a crucial factor in contributing to the ever growing escalating ethnic tensions in the population of DRC and boarder communities, let’s look at the different countries that have played a significant role in supporting these killing machineries in the name of Rebels and even government force.
Countries that have been involved in the DRC conflict by combat means since 1997
Zimbabwe sent troops in 1998 to help Kabila contain the situation in a country that is as huge as Western Europe from deteriorating in to further crisis when Rebels where advancing to undermine authority of the regime. Here the special air forces played a great role in stopping rebel advances towards the capital Kinshasa.
Angola also played a role by sending it is troops as a counter measure to deal with a situation of any would be threat from UNITA rebels back home. This was a necessary need, since the new DRC president would leave a power vacuum, that could lead Angola UNITA rebels have access to the rich diamond region of DRC for mining in exchange of weapons to cause instability in Angola.
Namibia was interested in sending it is troops as a strategy to sustain the Congo mining business empire of President Sam Nujoma and his family. Despite wide spread opposition by the Namibian Population that had limited national interest in the intervention.
Chad also sent it is troops after encouragement by their former colony French government which had intentions of exerting it is influence once again in the region though failed after misbehavior of it is troops during the early days of the mission in DRC.
Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda also played a significant role in the DRC conflict, though supporting different rebel groups trying to fill in the gaps of their respective sponsoring government interests.
Who are the foreign rebels and local rebels in DRC
Allied Democratic Forces are the Ugandan rebels, based in Rwenzori Mountains, North Kivu.National Liberation Forces are the Burundian rebels, mainly in South Kivu.
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda Contains some remnants of perpetrators of 1994 genocide in RwandaLord’s Resistance Army rebels led by Joseph Kony are masquadering around Garamba National Park.
According to United Nations Group of Experts, The local Congolese Rebels are many, namely, M23: Formed from soldiers who mutinied in April - many once members of the CNDP rebel group. UN says Rwandan-backed with different factions under control of Gen BoscoNtaganda and Col SultaniMakenga
Congo Defence Front, Fought FDLR rebels early this year, Patriotic Alliance for Free and Sovereign Congo Operates in Masisi area west of Goma, Patriotic Resistance Forces of Ituri Operates in Ituri Province near Uganda border
Mai Mai - term for armed community groups, Mai MaiRaiaMutomboki: Has fought both FDLR and FARDC.Mai Mai Gedeon: Allied to separatists in southern Katanga province.Mai Mai Yakutumba: Operates on shores of Lake Tanganyika.Mai Mai Sheka - also known as Nduma Defence of Congo, led by Gen ShekaNtaberi.
What next as Congolese refugees flock in to Uganda suddenly again
When the United States of America invaded Iraq in the year 2003, the United Nations condemned the action as violation of another countries sovereignty status but acknowledged the invasion as justifiable after a U.S. explanation.
Uganda, has occasionally intervened using direct combat in the Congolese boarder partly as a way to protect it is national security from the always hit and run rebels. This excuse was brushed off by the United Nations International Court of Justice ruling of 19th December 2005 that Democratic Republic of Congo sovereignty had been violated by Uganda.
This led to a claimed loss of billions U.S. dollars by DRC and of which it claimed compensation of 10 billion dollars. Uganda has never paid the asked compensation to date and has not shown any public signs of commitment whatsoever.
Despite all the aforementioned, the situation in Congo has never been stabilized to date, even after the arrest of war loads like Nkunda and Thomas Lubanga, there is no promise that the civil rebellion barked by external nations is soon nearing end.
Lord’s Resistance Army, Allied Democratic Forces and the so called National Rescue Front rebels who have for a long time established resistance against the government of Uganda, use Democratic Republic of Congo as part of their operational bases.
For now, this sudden twist of events that is leading to another humanitarian crisis must be a grand opportunity for Uganda to exert it is always ready appetite to penetrate Congolese boarder, so that it can deal with the insurgents contributing to both humanitarian disaster along it is boarder and insecurity by Uganda’s rebel groups hiding in Congo.
Uganda’s government must not despise it is experience by now of knowing, the only way to avert both humanitarian and military crisis in Eastern DRC, the methodology approach should, have the blanket cover of United Nations or African Union Mission to enforce peace if necessary unless otherwise.