#Article (Archive)

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Sep 12, 2008, 6:29 AM

There are once again troubling reports emanating for The Democratic Republic of Congo. It is now believed that the army is collaborating with rebels to mine gold and tin, instead of fighting them. This information has been released to the public by the lobby group Global Witness.

Its researchers found that the two groups operated their own mines and even traded with each other.

The army, with the UN, is supposed to be undertaking a huge operation against the FDLR rebels, accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. For too long this kind of corrupt practice and unrestrained avarice has been destroying the lives of the people of that mineral rich nation. If the vast resources were properly used and disbursed then poverty in that nation could be eradicated for once and for all.

Rwanda has twice sent troops into DR Congo, saying it wants to stop FDLR attacks on its territory.

The DR Congo government has promised to wipe them out, in conjunction with UN peacekeepers.

But Global Witness says there are frequent reports of Congolese soldiers selling weapons and uniforms to the mainly Hutu FDLR. This must be tackled and tackled at once. If the situation is allowed to continue it will only deteriorate and the country will slip back into the grip of a viscous war. As usual the main casualties of that war will be the innocent, women and children. Unfortunately this situation seems to be coming about already.

There has recently been renewed fighting in certain areas between the army and the renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda.

Gen Nkunda has previously refused to disarm, accusing the army of working with the FDLR against Tutsis who live in the region.

Last month, US and European Union diplomats warned that the situation in eastern DR Congo was becoming increasingly tense and that all sides were rearming.

Human rights groups said that tens of thousands of people were fleeing as the situation in the area deteriorated. The UN has 17,000 peacekeepers in DR Congo, supposed to monitor a 2003 peace-deal to end a conflict that drew in at least eight other African countries. The crisis is once again unfolding before our eyes. If the number of UN peacekeepers needs to be increased then it should be. If more direct intervention from the African Union is required then it should intervene more directly. Whatever needs to be done must be done because it is always easier to prevent a war then to stop one.