Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rebels in the mist

Alex has another good blog up today on developments in the Congo and he points us to an unlikely place to get military intelligence

"Yesterday we received news that the Eastern Sector of the Park has come under FDLR control.  This is very worrying, because our relationship with the FDLR is not good.  The FDLR are a violent militia group from Rwanda largely made up of combatants considered to be responsible for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.  Most of the our 12 rangers who were killed last year were killed during attacks on our positions by the FDLR."

These guys are wildlife rangers not soldiers.

" The military advances by the M23 in the past few days has caused the Congolese military to withdraw, but the M23 have not advanced as much as the military have fled, and the empty ground in between is being filled by militia groups.  Many of those areas are in the park, and park rangers have remained to protect it.  We currently have 40 rangers at Lulimbi, which is on the border with Uganda, and protects the Ishasha Valley.  It’s a tremendously important area for elephant migrations with Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, as well as for its hippo and other large mammal populations.  We can’t afford to abandon this area, but the rangers are now cut off because the FDLR occupy the nearby fishing settlement of Nyakakoma.  They’re low on ammunition and rations.  Yesterday morning we received news that a column of FDLR were advancing to attack our rangers at Lulimbi."

There can be little doubt that Rwanda is behind this and it is good to see aid money being withheld but more needs to be done.

"Fortunately, we have an airfield at Lulimbi, and we’ve been able to transfer 100 kg of rations and 8 cases of ammunition as well as two machine guns.  20 more rangers are crossing Lake Edward from the north to support them.  Today, we’ll be going back to further strengthen defences, and improve our communications onsite.  Many thanks to those of you who, two years ago, helped us to buy our Cessna 182 aircraft for the park.  It has saved many lives."

Sort of  beggars  belief though.


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