The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is fast approaching the same level of crisis as the Rwanda genocide. Rwandan-backed Tutsi rebels have now closed on the Congo city of Goma. There are reports that there are now some 250 000 displaced persons in the Congo.
Once again it is the civilian population that is bearing the brunt of the civil war with tens of thousands fleeing the fighting, looting and raping that is being conducted on a widespread scale.
Tutsi rebels have now forced some 50 000 refugees from their refugee camps and burnt the camps to the ground.
United Nations peacekeepers have increasingly become irrelevant as the conflagration grows.
The civil war has come about because of the Congolese government’s inability/failure to disarm Hutu militants who fled Rwanda and took refuge in the forests of eastern Congo following the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Tutsi rebel leader is Laurent Nkunda, a former Congolese general who is fighting for Tutsi rights. The Rwandan government is backing the rebels.
The rebel leader is said to be an Evangelical Christian, yet he is a brutal warlord responsible for the same manner of atrocities as those of the government troops in Goma.
A truce had been reached in 2003 after some 5 million deaths and a war involving some 8 African countries, but this has now been destroyed with the latest round of fighting which began in August 2008. There has been a ceasefire in force since last Wednesday, but it is unsure if this will hold for much longer with government troops going on a rampage through Goma, raping, looting, burning and killing civilians. There is no reason to expect it will be any different should the rebel army move on Goma as well.