Congo. A closer relationship took place in 2009 between
the governments of the Congo and neighboring Rwanda after
many years of tense relations. In January, around 4,000
Rwandan army soldiers were released into the Congo to
participate in the hunt for the Rwandan hutumilis Democratic
Forces Liberation Rwanda (FDLR), which terrorized the people
of eastern parts of the country. According to
countryaah, the UN force MONUC
contributed indirectly to the offensive through transport
assistance and medical care. However, the offensive
performance was limited.
When the Rwandans left the country after a few weeks and
the Congo army was withdrawn, the rebels returned from their
hiding places in the jungle and exposed the civilian
population to even worse plagues. In March, a quarter of a
million people were reported to be fleeing the FDLR. The
reinforcement of 3,000 men that the UN Security Council had
promised at the end of 2008 failed. MONUC's ability to
intervene was also limited.
It was not only the Huturebeles who committed grave abuse
on the civilians. According to a UN report, in April, army
soldiers in search of rebels had killed 50 civilian hut
refugees from Rwanda and robbed and raped and killed about
40 Rwandan women. The army leadership promised to stop the
abuse but nothing happened. MONUC was put under pressure
from the outside world to both review its cooperation with
the army and to intensify its efforts against FDLR.
However, another conflict in the eastern parts of the
country seemed to end. The National Tutsimilis National
Congress of the People's Defense (CNDP), which in the autumn
of 2008 threatened to take control of large areas, put down
its weapons and signed a peace agreement after leader
Laurent Nkunda was arrested on Rwandan land. The government
granted amnesty to all former rebels except for Nkunda and
other leaders with personal responsibility for war crimes.
In August, the presidents of Congo and Rwanda promised
each other to work for enhanced economic and military
cooperation between the countries. They also sent
ambassadors to their respective capitals.
A whole new conflict forced 150,000 people to flee in
northwestern Congo in the autumn, some of them into
neighboring Congo (Brazzaville). Hundreds of people were
killed when rival ethnic militias clashed over fishing
In The Hague, the Netherlands, the International Criminal
Court (ICC) began its activities seriously. The first trials
involved militia leaders from the Ituri region in
northeastern Congo. Thomas Lubanga was charged with
recruiting child soldiers, Germain Katanga and Mathieu
Ngudjolo Chui for a massacre of 200 villagers. Prosecutions
were also filed in June against former militia leader and
Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba for abuse his soldiers must
have committed in 2002–03 in the Central African Republic,
where they were sent to help defeat a coup attempt.
The Congo government was upset in July by a Swiss court's
decision to allow the Mobutu family access to the equivalent
of over SEK 50 million that the former dictator placed in
Swiss banks. The government, and most political analysts,
considered that the money was misappropriated from the
In October, Chinese companies signed a $ 6 billion loan
with Congo to develop the country's infrastructure. The
money is intended for roads, railways, schools and
hospitals. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had warned
of the loan, which, according to the Fund, risks making the
country's debt situation more difficult.
The government terminated 57 percent of all forest
harvesting contracts after a long review of planned and
ongoing projects. The purpose of the review, which was done
with the support of the World Bank, was to reveal projects
that were created by corruption or which were
environmentally inferior. The decision meant that harvesting
had to be interrupted on almost 13 million hectares; an area
about the size of Greece.
Two Norwegians were sentenced in September to death by a
court in the city of Kisangani. They were accused of
murdering their driver during a trip in northeastern Congo.
The circumstances surrounding their visit were unclear.
Among the speculations were that they were mercenaries or
had plans to start a security company here. Norwegian
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr StÝre said he had received
guarantees that they would not be executed. The men were
also convicted of espionage on behalf of Norway, and the
Norwegian state was required to pay $ 60 million in damages.
Norway denied the accusations of espionage and rejected the