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Seven rebels killed in DRC, or “Sometimes peacekeepers do shoot people.”

October 4, 2009

In catching up on events that happened in the world while I was traveling from one part of it to another, I hit a Reuters report that the United Nations killed seven FDLR earlier this week (though not with guns, as my misleading headline implies. With rockets. Little ones, presumably.)

Here’s how it apparently went down: The Congolese army, the FARDC, left their camp to go get paid, which happens about once every five to seven years, or just before ‘democratic’ elections, and so they all left the camp pretty much at the same time. The FDLR, savvy little buggers that they are, joined up with their best bros the Mai Mai and attacked the emptied camp.

The Congolese army put the losses at 8:1, their one being a guy lost in an initial exchange of ground-based gunfire between the FARDC and the FDLR. (This is like golf, so FARDC wins!) The UN military spokesman had a little different read on things and told Reuters, “The (Congolese army) asked us for aerial assistance. Our attack helicopters fired five rockets, killing seven elements.” (Technocratic translation: Elements = people.)

Kicker? The Mai Mai are in the Congolese army! In the euphoric “peace” that broke out after Rwanda gently nudged its troops across the border earlier this year, more than 20 militia groups were “integrated” into the FARDC. Of course, in late September, 20 of those groups said, “Game off.” Why? Cuz the government wasn’t paying them! Maybe the Mai Mai should’ve just followed the FARDC to the payday window instead of attacking them…

But here’s the bigger point: The United Nations called out a strike against a rebel group in an ongoing conflict. This not my momma’s UN DPKO, the one that treated all parties to a conflict as if they had equal grievance and wrote neutrality into their mandates. This is Peacekeeping 2.0 (er, well, probably 3.0), where “neutrality” doesn’t get in the way of doing the job. File this one under “Rwanda, Lessons from.” But the ROEs on the 3.0 mandates have their own issues…and if I get a chance, I’ll whip up a post on that in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, watch this — and that — space.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 11:46 am

    Amazing post, did not thought reading this would be so interesting when I saw the url.

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