CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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June 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Tensions with Kigali continued to fester amid M23 rebel group’s offensive in eastern North Kivu province. In North Kivu province’s Rutshuru territory, M23 rebels 6 June shelled army position, leaving two dead, and around 13 June seized Bunagana town, forcing thousands of civilians to seek refuge in Uganda; clashes between military and M23 also reported 17 June in Jomba area. Fighting week of 20 June spread to neighbouring Nyiragongo territory, closer to provincial capital Goma. President Tshisekedi 5 June said there was “no doubt” that Rwanda supported M23, insisted he was seeking peaceful relations with neighbours. Military 9-10 June accused Rwanda of sending 500 special forces in Rutshuru and firing rockets into North Kivu killing two children. Kigali 10 June also accused DR Congo of firing rockets into Rwanda, next day said Kinshasa had handed over two Rwandan soldiers captured in May. Anti-Rwanda demonstrators 15 June marched from Goma city toward Rwanda and attempted to cross border; looting incidents reported. Congolese soldier 17 June stormed border, fired on Rwandan troops before being killed. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 11-14 June launched attacks in Bambuba-Kisiki groupement, leaving at least 12 civilians dead; 25-26 June killed up to 24 people in and around Mamove locality; 28 June reportedly killed nine villagers in same area. In Ituri province, suspected ADF 5 June killed at least 18 people in raid on Otomabere village, Irumu territory; presumed CODECO rebels 14 June killed eight, kidnapped six others in two attacks in Djugu territory. CODECO 15 June vowed to cease hostilities and adhere to govt’s demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration program, but attacks attributed to CODECO factions continued. After East African Community 20 June agreed to deploy regional security force to eastern DR Congo, demonstrators opposed to deployment 25 June marched in capital Kinshasa. Ahead of 2023 general elections, National Assembly and Senate 3 and 13 June passed new electoral law, and Tshisekedi 15 June swore in three new judges of Constitutional Court. National Assembly same day excluded five MPs for unjustified absences from sessions; former President Kabila’s political bloc Common Front for Congo 16 June denounced move.

May 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Regional tensions rose as Kinshasa accused Rwanda of backing M23 militia in East, CODECO rebel group killed scores in Ituri province, and approval of new electoral law sparked tensions. In North Kivu province, clashes 19 April erupted between M23 and army in Rutshuru territory, 25 May spread to Kibumba area (Nyiragongo territory), 20km north of North Kivu’s capital Goma, with rebels occupying several areas; M23 next day attacked Rumangabo military camp in Rutshuru territory. Kinshasa 25 May accused Rwanda of supporting M23; 28 May suspended all flights of Rwandan national airline RwandAir to DR Congo, designated M23 as terrorist group and excluded it from Nairobi process talks, which President Tshisekedi and regional leaders late April had initiated with 18 armed groups active in east, following resumption of M23 attacks. In Ituri province, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebels launched several deadly attacks on civilians. Notably, CODECO 8 May killed about 60 civilians, mostly artisanal miners, near Mongwalu locality in gold-rich Banyali Kilo area, Djugu territory; next day attacked Loddha site for internally displaced persons near Fataki town, also Djugu, killing 15 people; 15 May also killed at least nine civilians at Kambi mine in Shaba village, Aru territory. Also in Ituri, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels around 11-12 May killed at least 30 civilians in Idohu village of Walese Vokutu chiefdom, Irumu territory. Uganda 17 May said troops deployed in eastern Congo in late 2021 to combat ADF would withdraw as planned on 31 May, later hinted at possible six-month extension; Kinshasa deemed retreat “premature” and called for talks, which reportedly started in late May. Meanwhile, former PM under President Kabila, Senator Augustin Matata Ponyo, 3 May announced presidential bid. Dieudonné Kaluba, president of Constitutional Court, which in late 2021 ruled it had no jurisdiction to try Matata over alleged embezzlement, relieved from duties same day. National Assembly, dominated by ruling Sacred Union coalition, 12 May adopted electoral law, rejecting multiple progressive reforms including guarantees against vote-buying and nepotism and measures to foster gender equality. Some opposition lawmakers, including from Kabila’s party, boycotted debates and vote.

April 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Amid ongoing violence from armed groups, regional leaders pledged to launch joint force to tackle M23 threat in country’s east. Violence continued to run high in east. Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) launched attacks in Irumu territory. Notably, alleged ADF 8 April killed eight in Pakulu village; ADF rebels 10-11 April killed at least 20 in Basili Chiefdom villages; alleged ADF 10 April killed nine in Shauri Moya locality, while four others found dead next day. Locals 11 April found 11 bodies in Mangusu village, 5km from Komanda locality where ADF reportedly killed at least 18 others same day. Four civilians died in alleged ADF attack in Otomabere village 16 April. In North Kivu province, ADF 4 April reportedly killed 29 people, including army captain, in Masambo village, Beni territory. Congolese operations continued as security forces alongside UN mission to DR Congo 19 April overtook key ADF base in Irumu’s Mont Oyo zone. Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebels 15 April decapitated five civilians in Ndjala village, Djugu territory. Following M23 rebels late-March offensive against army at border with Rwanda and Uganda, rebels 1 April, and again 10 April declared unilateral ceasefire; M23 rebels and army however accused each other of ongoing violence during month and heavy clashes 27 April resumed with army accusing rebels of provoking them. East African Community (EAC) representatives 21 April agreed to deploy joint military force to address threats from local armed groups in Eastern DRC; move follows DRC’s formal adhesion to EAC 8 April. State of siege 19 April renewed despite opposition from deputies from east. Deputies from parliamentary group Common Front for Congo (FCC), which is closely aligned with former President Kabila, 14 April boycotted National Assembly plenary session on reforms to new 2023 electoral law, prompting Assembly President Christophe Mboso to postpone plenary discussion to 20 April; debate on law 22 April resumed, albeit without FCC deputies. After Court of Cassation 11 April overturned Court of Appeal’s decision that sentenced Vital Kamerhe, Tshisekedi’s former chief of staff, to 13 years of hard labour for corruption and embezzlement, Kamerhe, 18 April returned to Kinshasa.

March 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

ADF rebels expanded further into Ituri province, leaving scores dead, while thousands fled to Uganda following clashes between army and M23 militia. Violence in east spread despite ongoing state of siege and presence of Ugandan army. Notably, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 8 March killed 18 civilians seeking refuge in Kilo-Mission catholic parish, Djugu territory in Ituri province; also continued to detain members of Tshisekedi’s Task Force who were kidnapped in Feb. Meanwhile, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and local Mai-Mai militiamen 9 March clashed in Irumu territory, leaving five people killed; ADF 13-14 March killed at least 52 civilians in four villages in Irumu, and 15 March killed seven civilians in Otomabere village, also in Irumu. In North Kivu province, ADF killed at least 20 civilians in Kikura village, 3km from Ugandan army’s base in Beni area; two ADF groups 12 March killed more than 30 people in Beni, 27 of them in Mambumembume village. A Ugandan military commander 6 March admitted that ADF had spread out into western Ituri, far from Ugandan border. Congolese army 28 March said M23 rebels attacked its positions in east, accusing Rwanda of supporting militia; Rwanda immediately denied accusations. About 6,000 civilians fled to neighbouring Uganda following clashes. Army claimed M23 downed UN helicopter 29 March, killing eight. Meanwhile, electoral preparations kicked off. Notably, President of Independent National Electoral Commission Denis Kadima 3 March published roadmap for upcoming presidential and legislative elections planned for Dec 2023; also scheduled municipal and local elections (which would make it first such elections in DR Congo’s history) in late 2023. Parliament 15 March reconvened, prioritising debate on electoral laws and reforms, including potential two rounds in presidential elections and new law on nationality (which would exclude presidential candidates without Congolese parents such as Moïse Katumbi, one of lead contenders). President Tshisekedi 17 March declared commitment to holding elections on time. François Beya, Tshisekedi’s former special adviser on security, continued to be held at National Intelligence Agency’s premises; local group “Free François Beya” 11 March submitted memorandum to National Commission for Human Rights calling for his trial or release.

February 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Authorities arrested President Félix Tshisekedi’s special security adviser while rebel attacks continued in east. National Intelligence Agency (ANR) 5 Feb arrested Tshisekedi’s special security adviser, François Beya, in capital Kinshasa; Beya had served last four presidents and had played instrumental role in 2018 election deal between Tshisekedi and former President Joseph Kabila. ANR 8 Feb said arrest related to attempted threat to national security, while many debated exact reasons. Tshisekedi 4 Feb extended state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu despite intensifying discontent. Police 8 Feb arrested National Deputy Josué Mufula after he criticised measure, next day released him. North Kivu provincial deputies 14 Feb asked for state of siege to be replaced with state of limited security emergency for hot zones like Beni and rehabilitation of democratic institutions. Civil society groups 16 Feb requested Ituri General Governor Johnny Luboya be replaced due to his inability to stop attacks. Militia attacks persisted in east. In Ituri, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) resumed and extended attacks near Djugu territory and toward Mungwalu gold-bearing areas. Most notably, CODECO 2 Feb attacked Djugu’s Plaine Savo camp for internally displaced persons, killing 62 people. CODECO militia faction linked to Lendu community 16 Feb took delegation of former Ituri warlords hostage in Gutsi locality, Djugu; ex-warlords tasked by Tshisekedi to conduct negotiations on disarmament with various militias active in Ituri. Militia set conditions for delegation’s release, including immediate ceasefire, release of Lendu prisoners, and end of Ituri state of siege; negotiations still under way by end of month. Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) continued to launch attacks. Notably, ADF 20 Feb killed three civilians in Irumu territory’s Biane town; 3 Feb killed four civilians and freed about 20 detainees from police station bordering Uganda’s Nobili village in North Kivu. In speech before Rwandan parliament, Rwandan President Paul Kagame 12 Feb evoked possible military intervention to neutralise armed groups in eastern DRC that represent threat to Rwanda, in particular Hutu rebels of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and ADF.

January 2022

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ugandan and Congolese armies continued joint operations against ADF jihadist group in east, while influential National Assembly VP announced his resignation after security incident. Uganda army and Congolese counterparts continued joint operations against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in North Kivu (NK)’s Beni territory amid ADF extension beyond Beni area. Ugandan and Congolese military leaders 15 Jan met in Beni area to discuss new operational axes against ADF and ways to secure construction projects, including Kasindi-Beni-Butembo-Goma roadworks. Armies 11 Jan jointly arrested ADF small faction leader Benjamin Kisokeranio in Uvira city (South Kivu). Govt 14 Jan extended state of siege in Ituri and NK provinces; protest against state of siege 24 Jan turned violent in Beni city and left one dead. In Ituri, armed group continued violent attacks. Notably, presumed ADF 4 Jan killed 17 in Irumu territory’s Idobu forest. Also in Irumu, Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo (FPIC) 15 Jan raided church leaving 11 dead and dozens injured. Cooperative for the Development of Congo militia 14 Jan stepped up attacks in Djugu and Mahagi territories and killed nine. In NK, ADF 5 Jan killed two on Mbau-Beni axis; 12 Jan looted health centre in Watalinga chiefdom and same day reportedly killed seven in Kisima-Vutotholya. In NK, March 23 rebel group late Jan launched several deadly attacks; notably group 23 Jan attacked army in Nyesisi village, Rutshuru territory, reportedly leaving tens of military killed. In largest cities like Goma, criminality ran high leaving mid-Jan three killed, notably well-known musician Black Balume. On political front, National Assembly’s influential VP and President Tshisekedi’s ally Jean-Marc Kabund 14 Jan announced resignation over “bullying, humiliation and torture” showing emerging political fault lines and potentially spelling uncertainty for ruling Sacred Union coalition; move followed clash between Kabund’s security officer and Republican Guard tasked to protect Tshisekedi as guards reportedly ransacked Kabund’s residence 12 Jan. Sacred Union members and Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) deputies 17-18 Jan dissociated themselves from Kabund, called for resignation and reaffirmed Tshisekedi as sole authority; UDPS National Disciplinary Commission 29 Jan removed Kabund from party’s interim presidency and struck him off permanently.

December 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ugandan and Congolese army started joint operations against jihadist group in east, alleged ADF suicide bombing marked first suicide attack killing civilians in country. Ugandan army with Congolese counterparts throughout month attacked Ugandan jihadist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in North Kivu (NK) and Ituri provinces. Congolese and Ugandan authorities 10 Dec claimed to have captured four camps, killed 34 ADF terrorists and freed hostages. DRC and Ugandan army 24 Dec announced further artillery and ground operations had led to capture of two main ADF camps in Beni territory; and Congolese military 26 Dec claimed to have killed seven ADF fighters, some of Chadian and Somali nationality. President Tshisekedi 13 Dec defended continued state of siege in east and operations with Uganda, stating Ugandan presence will be “strictly” time-limited. ADF continued deadly attacks throughout month. Notably, ADF 6 Dec fought national army around Masome village leaving seven dead, including two insurgents in Ituri; presumed ADF 8 Dec killed 16 people and kidnapped others in raid on Mangina commune near NK province’s Beni town; ADF 19 Dec clashed with army in Irumu territory, also Ituri, with at least five killed, including insurgents, and 20 Dec attacked villages in Ituri killing at least eight. Presumed ADF suicide bomber 25 Dec killed nine, including himself, in Beni city, NK province, making it first deadly suicide attack in country. Other armed groups in east continued violent attacks: Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 8-9 Dec reportedly killed at least 12 civilians near Bunia. Army 28 Dec claimed to have killed 31 CODECO militants in Djugu territory, Ituri province. Ongoing insecurity and kidnappings in east led Chinese embassy 1 Dec to ask all Chinese nationals to leave affected areas. On political front, Tshisekedi 3 Dec removed Albert Yuma from head of national mining company, decision seen as bold move against key ally of former President Joseph Kabila. Court of Appeal 6 Dec ordered release from prison of former Tshisekedi ally Vital Kamerhe on medical grounds; analysts see move as possibly influenced by Tshisekedi preparing alliances for 2023 national elections. Police 20 Dec allegedly fired on demonstrators protesting against insecurity in east, reportedly killing three in North Kivu’s provincial capital Goma; police claimed one officer dead.

November 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Security situation worsened further in east as new armed group launched deadly attacks in South Kivu and other rebel groups killed scores; opposition protested to demand neutrality of electoral commission. In east, unknown group “Coalition of Congolese Patriots for the Application of Article 64” – in reference to constitutional provision stating that Congolese people should resist dictatorship – 3 Nov attacked and briefly occupied South Kivu’s provincial capital Bukavu; fighting killed three security forces and six assailants according to official reports. In North Kivu province, unidentified assailants 7 Nov attacked army positions in Rutshuru territory; army chief next day accused rebel group March 23. Presumed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) combatants continued attacks in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring Uganda. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, suspected ADF 4 Nov attacked Kalembo town in Rwenzori sector, killing three; 11-12 Nov attacked Kisunga village, Bashu chiefdom, reportedly killing at least 60 and setting fire to local hospital. In Ituri, presumed ADF 5 Nov reportedly killed nine civilians in attack on commercial vehicles under army escort in Walese Vonkutu chiefdom, Irumu territory. Ugandan military 30 Nov launched air and artillery raids against ADF on Congolese soil in operation reportedly agreed with Kinshasa. Militia group Chini ya Kilima-FPIC 15 Nov reportedly killed at least 18 civilians in Chabusiku village near Ituri’s provincial capital Bunia. Also in Ituri, armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 6 Nov attacked Djaidu town in Djugu territory, killing two civilians. Army Gen Celestin Mbala in Bunia same day appointed team of mediators to negotiate with CODECO. However, fresh CODECO attacks on refugee camp in Djugu territory 21-22 Nov left at least 29 dead. National Assembly 17 Nov extended state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri for another month; parliamentarians from those provinces abstained from vote. In capital Kinshasa, thousands of opposition party members and church leaders 13 Nov protested President Tshisekedi’s Oct appointment of alleged ally Denis Kadima as head of electoral commission; new demonstrations held 22 and 27 Nov in front of electoral commission headquarters, with police arresting several people.

October 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Violence persisted in east, notably at hands of suspected ADF rebel group, and President Tshisekedi confirmed appointment of head of electoral body despite criticism. Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels continued attacks in Ituri province, killing dozens and reportedly kidnapping scores between 1 and 18 Oct. Notably, assailants 1 Oct attacked Komanda village; local civil society group said seven killed and blamed ADF. Presumed ADF 9 Oct attacked Mambelenga village, reportedly leaving six dead, and 12 Oct attacked same area, reportedly leaving at least two dead and dozens missing. Also in Ituri, army 2 Oct launched offensive against armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) at Lipri village, Djugu territory; 21 civilians reported dead. Suspected CODECO continued attacks including burning and pillaging villages in Ituri’s Djugu territory 18 Oct. Meanwhile, in North Kivu (NK) province, suspected Mai Mai militia 9 Oct attacked army post near Beni city, army same day said eight attackers killed; unidentified assailants 15 Oct shot and killed park warden in Virunga National Park. National Assembly 14 Oct approved tenth extension of state of siege in eastern provinces, which sees army take on key public roles. Court in Bunia 15 Oct sentenced seven military, including five colonels, to prison for corruption. Meanwhile, long-running dispute over head of electoral body peaked as National Assembly 3 Oct appointed electoral expert Denis Kadima; move followed failure by religious organisations – called on to offer opinion – previous day to agree on common candidate, with Catholic and Protestant churches disapproving of Kadima. Parties of prominent opponents Moïse Katumbi and Vital Kamerhe criticised Kadima’s appointment, saying he was too close to President Tshisekedi. Tshisekedi 22 Oct however signed ordonnance, confirming Kadima’s appointment, along with 12 members of electoral body; Constitutional Court 26 Oct swore in new electoral body with Kadima as head; opposition however refused to send delegates and boycotted session.

September 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

ADF rebel group launched increasingly daring attacks in eastern provinces; tensions flared over stalled appointment of electoral commission’s head. In North Kivu province’s Beni territory, suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels 5 Sept reportedly killed four in Kitsimba locality, Beni-Mbau sector, 16 and 22 Sept killed 14, including customary chief, in several villages in Bashu chiefdom. Citywide shutdown observed 13 Sept in Beni town to protest rising insecurity despite state of siege; authorities reportedly arrested dozens. In Ituri province’s Irumu territory, suspected ADF 1 Sept attacked vehicle convoy escorted by armed forces and UN (MONUSCO) peacekeepers on Komanda-Luna axis, killing ten with at least 80 missing; alleged ADF 4 Sept reportedly killed at least 30 in Luna-Samboko area, Walese Vonkutu chiefdom, and 23 Sept killed four in Komanda locality, Basili chiefdom. In Ituri’s Djugu territory, armed forces 6-7 Sept clashed with armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) in Kobu area; 34 CODECO reportedly killed. Parliament 16-17 Sept approved eighth extension of state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri. In response to request from some MPs to assess state of siege prior to each vote, PM Sama Lukonde 17 Sept tasked interior, justice, defence and finance ministries to carry out assessment. Ahead of presidential election scheduled for 2023, tensions between govt and opposition rose over appointment of electoral commission’s head. Opposition coalition Lamuka 3 Sept presented own electoral calendar, including consultations to reach consensus on electoral reforms; also reiterated accusation that President Tshisekedi is seeking to illegitimately extend his tenure. Two influential parties of Tshisekedi’s parliamentary majority Sacred Union, Moïse Katumbi’s Together for the Republic and Vital Kamerhe’s Union for the Congolese Nation expressed support for initiative. Police 15 Sept used teargas to disperse Lamuka protest in capital Kinshasa demanding “depoliticisation” of electoral commission. Authorities overnight 20-21 Sept arrested journalist Sosthène Kambidi in Kinshasa over allegations of terrorism and insurrection, after Kambidi reportedly uncovered video showcasing 2017 killing of two UN experts in Kasaï province. National Assembly’s Bureau d’Etudes 26 Sept declared “inadmissible” controversial nationality bill seeking to limit presidential eligibility.

August 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Authorities extended state of siege amid ongoing violence in east; appointment process of electoral commission reached impasse. In North Kivu province’s Beni territory, armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 5 Aug reportedly killed eight in Mbingi village; 14 Aug reportedly killed at least 14 and injured nine in Kikingi village. Also in Beni, clashes between armed forces and ADF 22-23 Aug left at least nine civilians, one soldier and eight ADF dead in Katanga village; suspected ADF 27-28 Aug killed at least 19 in Kasanzi-Kithovo village; next day reportedly killed three in Oïcha. In Ituri province, suspected ADF fighters 2 Aug killed at least 16 civilians – who had been taken hostage weeks earlier – near Idohu village. Following U.S. designation of ADF as Foreign Terrorist Organization in March and Kinshasa’s first attendance to ministerial meeting of Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in June, U.S. special forces 13 Aug arrived to support establishment of national counter-terrorism team and evaluate protection capabilities of Gramba and Virunga national parks in east; special forces 17 Aug reportedly deployed to Rumangabo base, Virunga park, North Kivu. MPs 17 Aug and Senate next day approved sixth extension of state of siege in east despite no improvement in security, and as provincial deputies, whose mandates were suspended, denounced shrinking political space and rising human rights violations under state of siege. President Tshisekedi 6 Aug appointed former rebel Tommy Tambwe Ushindi as coordinator of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme. Appointment sparked outcry over Tambwe’s role in rebel movements in late 1990s and early 2000s; Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege 11 Aug denounced move as encouraging “armed groups to wait their turn in the bush”. Meanwhile, formation of electoral commission stalled as National Assembly’s mid-Aug deadline to submit approved list of candidates to Tshisekedi passed without progress. Notably, eight religious groups mandated to appoint commission’s chair mid-Aug failed to reach consensus; six of them, which are smaller groups, 19 Aug named Tshisekedi-ally and electoral expert Denis Kadima as candidate, which remaining two groups, including influential Catholic Church, immediately opposed.

July 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Controversial nationality bill threatened to break up President Tshisekedi’s Sacred Union coalition; meanwhile, armed violence continued unabated in east. Tshisekedi 3 July signed law on organisation and functioning of Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) ahead of 2023 presidential election; two-thirds of members to come from political parties, same as previous CENI, despite calls from opposition and religious leaders for CENI to be composed mainly of civil society and electoral experts. Tshisekedi’s Sacred Union coalition MP Nsingi Pululu 8 July introduced controversial nationality bill seeking to prohibit anyone born to a non-Congolese parent from accessing presidency and other sovereign functions. Bill drew widespread domestic and international criticism. Notably, Moïse Katumbi’s party Ensemble pour la République next day criticised law for seeking to exclude Katumbi, whose father is Greek, from presidential election and threatened to leave Sacred Union coalition if bill passed; Archbishop of Kinshasa 11 July denounced bill as “instrument of exclusion and division”. Meanwhile, in address to UN Security Council, head of UN mission 7 July warned of “potentially dangerous consequences of a divisive debate on nationality” ahead of next year’s election. Amid ongoing and increasingly sophisticated violence in east, MPs 16 July approved fourth extension of state of siege. UN refugee agency same day said Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) had launched series of attacks in and around North Kivu’s Beni city since 22 June, killing at least 14 and displacing 20,000; fresh ADF attacks 16, 19, 22 and 27-28 July reportedly left at least 29 civilians dead in Beni territory; armed forces 30 July reportedly clashed with ADF in Kilya locality leaving four ADF, one civilian and one soldier dead. In neighbouring Ituri province, armed violence notably by ADF continued, at times turning into interethnic settling of scores in Irumu territory: mob 1 July killed nine Banyabwisha community members suspected of ADF connections in Komanda locality; ADF 10 July killed seven and kidnapped 30 civilians in Monge village; and armed forces 26 July clashed with ADF in Boga and Tchabi villages, reportedly leaving 15 ADF and seven soldiers dead.

June 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Amid ongoing political tensions, President Tshisekedi visited eastern region apologising for past human rights violations and criticising role of army and other institutions. Tshisekedi 12 June toured eastern provinces, which have been under martial law since late April, asked local population for forgiveness for human rights violations committed by security forces and armed groups and promised to prosecute those responsible for abuses; 20 June described army as “mafia” and denounced senators who 15 June voted against lifting immunity of Senator Augustin Matata Ponyo, PM under former President Kabila, accused of embezzlement of public funds.  Meanwhile, armed violence continued. In Ituri province, armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 12 June clashed with armed forces in Ikpa-Bura locality, Djugu territory, reportedly leaving at least 11 CODECO militants and three soldiers dead; CODECO same day killed five in Guu village, also Djugu. Armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 25 June reportedly killed four and kidnapped several others between Boga and Bukiringi villages, and 27 June killed 14 civilians in Manzobe locality, all Irumu territory. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, ADF 4 June killed two in Ntoma village, and 10 June abducted dozens from Kisanga and Livano villages. In Beni town, authorities 27 June implemented curfew after several bombings 26-27 June reportedly injured two civilians. UN Group of Experts on DRC 10 June said they were unable to find “conclusive evidence of ISIL [Islamic State] command and control over ADF operations, nor of ISIL direct support” and said acts committed by armed forces in Ituri’s Djugu and Irumu territories “may constitute war crimes”. Meanwhile, following May confirmation of Tshisekedi’s former Chief of Staff Vital Kamerhe’s prison sentence for embezzlement, his party Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) 10 June suspended its participation in Tshisekedi-allied Cap for Change (CACH) coalition; also called on 16 UNC deputies to suspend their activities in Sacred Union, Tshisekedi’s new majority coalition. Kamerhe’s conviction along with Senate’s vote against lifting Matata’s immunity could affect fragile coalition.

May 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Amid ongoing violence in east, authorities started implementing “state of siege” in North Kivu and Ituri provinces as military took over from civil authorities. As part of “state of siege” in east, President Tshisekedi 4 May ordered military and police officers to take over from civilian authorities in North Kivu and Ituri provinces starting 6 May for initial period of 30 days; in controversial move, appointed Lt Gen Constant Ndima as North Kivu governor, despite UN accusation that he committed serious crimes in Ituri during 1999-2003 war, and Lt Gen Jon Luboya, former intelligence commander of Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy, as governor of Ituri. Armed group violence continued in east. In North Kivu’s Beni region, unidentified armed men 1 and 18 May killed two imams, who had allegedly spoken out against violence in name of religion. Presumed rebels affiliated with Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 10 May killed peacekeeper during attack on MONUSCO’s Kiliya base. Authorities 12 May announced creation of joint-operations centre with Uganda in Beni and 17 May struck agreement with Kampala to share intelligence on ADF rebels; move prompted several politicians to criticise Tshisekedi for what they called invitation to foreign armies without parliament agreement. In Ituri, armed forces early-May launched offensive against Patriotic and Integrationist Front of Congo (FPIC), notably causing 15,000 civilians to flee Nyakunde locality and killing nine FPIC militia. Meanwhile, in Mambasa territory, ADF 11 May killed at least 29 in Ngaka locality and 11-16 May killed 21 across Bangole groupement, Babila Babombi chiefdom. In Irumu territory, ADF 30-31 May killed over 50 in Boga and Tchabi villages. Tshisekedi continued efforts to consolidate power as his allies 6 May ousted governor of Tanganyika province, brother of former President Kabila, for mismanagement of province; 12 May announced intention to run for second term. In capital Kinshasa, celebrations for Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday turned deadly: rival Muslim factions 13 May clashed, leaving police officer dead. Rwandan President Kagame 17 May denied crimes committed by Rwandan troops in eastern DR Congo between 1993-2003 despite 2010 UN Mapping Report detailing crimes.

April 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Amid rising insecurity and deadly violence, President Tshisekedi declared “state of siege” in eastern provinces; new coalition govt formed. Tshisekedi 30 April declared “state of siege” in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in east, vowed to “swiftly end insecurity” as move could pave way for military operation in coming weeks. Earlier in month, demonstrations against govt and UN mission (MONUSCO) turned into intercommunal clashes in North Kivu. Notably, protesters 11 April killed two ethnic Kumu in provincial capital Goma; clashes between Kumu and Nande communities 12-13 April left at least 15 dead in Goma and Nyiragongo territory. Elsewhere in North Kivu, armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 23-24 April killed 11 civilians in Beni territory; security forces 30 April used tear gas to disperse protesters who had been camping outside Beni’s town hall for several days, demanding MONUSCO’s departure. In Ituri, armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 6-16 April killed at least 29 people and kidnapped 36 in Djugu territory. In neighbouring Irumu territory, suspected ADF 4 April kidnapped at least 20 in Mungwanga village and 11-13 April killed 23 across several villages in Bayali-Tchabi chiefdom; coalition of CODECO and Patriotic and Integrationist Front of Congo (FPIC) 20 April killed at least ten in Nyara village. Ituri’s interior minister 18 April warned about possible return of proxy wars between regional actors in Ituri, blaming “rebels from Uganda” for rise in violence. UN Children’s Fund 26 April recorded over 1.6mn displaced and 2.8mn in need of emergency assistance in Ituri, warned about “recent surge in armed and inter-community violence”. Following two months of negotiations, PM Sama Lukonde 12 April presented new cabinet of 57 members; cabinet includes political forces who supported Tshisekedi in forming new Sacred Union coalition after end of his coalition with former President Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC). 138 MPs – all FCC defectors – 14 April denounced Tshisekedi’s control of all key ministries and underrepresentation of certain provinces, and threatened to block new govt’s inauguration; National Assembly 26 April however endorsed new govt.

March 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Political contestation for power exposed fractures in President Tshisekedi’s Sacred Union; meanwhile, armed group violence continued in east. PM Sama Lukonde had yet to form govt by end of month, as members of newly formed Sacred Union competed for ministerial posts throughout March, including opposition heavyweights Moïse Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba; Lukonde 18 March urged local population to remain calm amid continuing political wrangling. Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, a supporter of Tshisekedi, 2 March elected as new Senate president with 89 out of 109 votes; election ensured Tshisekedi supporters control three key institutions: Senate, National Assembly and Prime Ministership. U.S. State Department 10 March designated armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) as Foreign Terrorist Organisation and its leader Seka Musa Baluku as Specially Designated Global Terrorist, referring to ADF as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Democratic Republic of the Congo (ISIS-DRC); Human Rights Minister André Lite 11 March welcomed designation and urged other countries to follow suit. ADF continued to destabilise rural areas in east, as it expanded its operational zones from North Kivu province toward Ituri province. In North Kivu, ADF rebels 10 March killed three during raid on Matombo village; 15 March killed 17 in Bulongo city; 22 and 29 March reportedly killed at least 15 in Samboko-Chanichani village. Also in North Kivu, Mai-Mai militia 25 March abducted 20 people in Kalonge village, Lubero territory. In Ituri, ADF launched several attacks in and around Walese Vonkutu chiefdom, Irumu territory: 14 killed in Mambelenga village 2 March; at least ten killed in Ndimo and Apende villages 7-8 March; and seven suspected ADF rebels killed in clash with army in Mahala village 29 March. Also in Ituri, six militia members of Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo 7 March killed in clashes with army in Kunda village in Irumu’s Babelebe chiefdom; at least 30 people including 11 civilians, two soldiers and one policeman killed during 15 March clashes between army and Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militia in Djugu territory.

February 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Deadly violence continued unabated in east while President Tshisekedi continued to shift balance of power in his favour following end of coalition with predecessor Joseph Kabila. In North Kivu province, armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 5-28 Feb launched several attacks on civilians in Beni territory, leaving over 60 dead. In Walikale territory, clashes between Maï-Maï Nyatura militia and armed group Nduma Defence of Congo-Renovated (NDC-R) 8 Feb left at least four dead, while clashes between NDC-R factions 13 Feb killed six. In Nyiragongo territory, unidentified gunmen 22 Feb attacked World Food Programme convoy on Goma-Rutshuru road, killing Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio and two others. In Ituri province’s Irumu territory, suspected ADF militants 14 Feb killed at least 16, mostly civilians, in Ndalya village; 24-27 Feb killed at least ten in two villages. Also in Irumu, armed group Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo (FPIC) 23 Feb killed 11 civilians in Mugangu village; armed forces 27-28 Feb recaptured FPIC stronghold of Mwanga, killing 16. In Djugu territory, armed forces and armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo 20 Feb clashed in Mungwalu commune, reportedly leaving 27 dead. In South Kivu province’s Fizi territory, Twirwaneho coalition of Banyamulenge militias 16 Feb attacked Kabingo armed forces base, killing soldier. In Haut-Katanga province, Bakata-Katanga separatist militia 14 Feb attacked Kimbebe and Kibati presidential guard camps in country’s second-largest city Lubumbashi; six militiamen, four soldiers and one civilian reportedly killed. Meanwhile, Tshisekedi continued to dismantle past coalition with former President Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC); over half of senators 2 Feb filed petition calling for removal of Senate bureau chief, Kabila’s ally Alexis Thambwe, who resigned 5 Feb. National Assembly 3 Feb elected former FCC member Christophe Mboso as president and Tshisekedi’s close ally Jean-Marc Kabund as first VP; Kabund had been removed from this position in May 2020 amid power struggle between Tshisekedi and Kabila. Tshisekedi 15 Feb appointed Sama Lukonde – former head of state mining company Gécamines – as PM; Lukonde 22 Feb launched consultations to form govt. Health minister 7 Feb declared new Ebola outbreak in North Kivu.

January 2021

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed group violence left over 100 civilians killed in east; meanwhile President Tshisekedi secured new majority in parliament amid ongoing political tensions. In Ituri province, clashes between military and armed group Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo early Jan reportedly left over two dozen dead on outskirts of provincial capital Bunia; suspected armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 14 Jan killed 46 ethnic pygmies in Abembi Masini village, Irumu territory. In North Kivu province’s Beni territory, ADF 31 Dec-4 Jan killed 48 civilians in Tingwe and Mwenda villages; armed forces 1 Jan clashed with ADF in Loselose village, killing 14 and losing two soldiers; angry mob 16-17 Jan lynched three security force personnel across Beni territory, accusing them of complicity with armed groups. In Rutshuru territory (also North Kivu), local Maï-Maï militia 10 Jan killed six wildlife guards in Virunga National Park; armed forces and Maï-Maï militia 30 Jan reportedly clashed in Bwito chiefdom, leaving at least six dead. In South Kivu province, suspected Maï-Maï militia 6-8 Jan reportedly killed four civilians in Uvira and Mwenga territories. Meanwhile, President Tshisekedi won new round of power struggle with predecessor and former coalition partner Joseph Kabila.Constitutional Court 15 Jan ruled deputies could shift political allegiances without risking to lose their seats, opening way for Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) deputies to defect and join Tshisekedi. Over 300 MPs (out of 500) 22 Jan filed motion of no-confidence against PM Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba (loyal to Kabila); National Assembly 27 Jan approved motion; Ilunga 29 Jan stepped down. Senator Modeste Bahati, appointed 1 Jan by Tshisekedi to identify new majority, 28 Jan submitted list of 391 MPs in support of new parliamentary majority. Protests 18 Jan erupted in Lubumbashi city, Haut-Katanga province, following same-day arrest of Kabila-ally Pastor Ngoy Mulunda for alleged incitement to hate and secessionism; Lubumbashi court 27 Jan sentenced Ngoy to three years in prison. French prosecutors 2 Jan opened investigations against former warlord Roger Lumbala, arrested in Paris in Dec for “complicity in crimes against humanity” during second Congo war (1998-2003), among other charges.

December 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

In major show of force and after weeks of political tensions, President Tshisekedi announced end of ruling coalition; meanwhile armed group attacks continued in eastern provinces. President Tshisekedi 6 Dec announced end of ruling coalition with former President Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), vowed to seek new majority in parliament. Brawl next day erupted in parliament between pro-Tshisekedi and pro-Kabila MPs who rejected move as unconstitutional, leaving three injured, while police used tear gas to disperse Tshisekedi’s supporters gathered outside parliament. MPs 10 Dec voted to remove Kabila’s ally Jeannine Mabunda as head of National Assembly, first indication that Tshisekedi has managed to shift balance of power in his favour in FCC-dominated assembly. Immediately after vote, Industry Minister and FCC member Julien Paluku defected to Tshisekedi, urged fellow FCC member, PM Ilunga Ilunkamba, to resign to avoid no-confidence vote. Tshisekedi 31 Dec tasked Senator and FCC defector Bahati Lukwebo with identifying new majority. Tshisekedi also pursued efforts to reinforce his grip on army and police, meeting with several senior security officials throughout month. Meanwhile, violence continued in east. In North Kivu province’s Beni territory, suspected armed group Allied Democratic Forces 6-22 Dec killed at least 40 civilians in multiple attacks, including at least 21 night of 11-12 Dec in Bolema area, Rwenzori sector. Unidentified gunmen 6 Dec killed eight civilians in North Kivu’s capital Goma. In Ituri province’s Djugu territory, suspected armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 7 Dec killed five civilians in Baijate village; CODECO 20 Dec clashed with armed forces in Muvramu village, leaving two civilians and one CODECO combatant dead; in joint attack, CODECO and Patriotic and Integrationist Front of Congo (FPIC) overnight 21-22 Dec killed three in Gbalana village. Elsewhere in Ituri, armed forces 16 Dec clashed with FPIC in Komanda town, Irumu territory, leaving eight militiamen and one soldier dead. In Tanganyika province, ethnic Twa militia 21 Dec killed one and injured several civilians in Kintu locality. UN Security Council 18 Dec renewed UN mission (MONUSCO) mandate for one year. 

November 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed group attacks continued unabated in eastern provinces, while tensions remained close to breaking point within ruling coalition. In North Kivu province’s Beni territory, suspected armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 7 Nov killed 12 in Kisima and Matadi villages; 9 Nov killed four in Mbujimayi village; 17 Nov reportedly killed six in Kokola village. In South Kivu province, unidentified armed men 3 Nov kidnapped three humanitarian workers from NGO Oxfam on Kundu-Fizi-centre axis, Fizi territory. In Ituri province, Djugu territory registered relative lull in violence, despite clashes between army and CODECO militia faction Alliance for the Liberation of Congo, which left five soldiers dead in Ezekere locality 3 Nov; suspected ADF around 10 Nov killed six civilians in Samboko village, Mambasa territory. Meanwhile, ruling coalition partners, President Tshisekedi and former President Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), remained at loggerheads. In alleged attempt to drum up support for his plan to break away from FCC, Tshisekedi 1-24 Nov held series of meetings with opposition and religious leaders, as well as some FCC members, to win them over. After social media messages early Nov called on army to revolt against poor working conditions, including wage arrears and lack of equipment, army 12 Nov denied any unrest within army ranks and warned politicians against any attempt to manipulate military. Thousands of Tshisekedi supporters 14 Nov marched in capital Kinshasa to demand end of coalition with FCC; during march, sec gen of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress accused FCC finance minister of freezing funds intended for salaries of civil servants and especially military, in order to turn them against Tshisekedi. Earlier in month, opposition lawmakers 7 Nov started gathering signatures to submit no-confidence motion against pro-Kabila National Assembly President Jeanine Mabunda; over 230 MPs by next day had already supported initiative, surpassing required threshold to put motion to vote. Council of State 23 Nov rejected MP Albert Fabrice Puela’s request that Mabunda and her office resign for not having submitted financial report to plenary on time.

October 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Political tensions reached breaking point, threatening survival of ruling coalition, while deadly violence continued unabated in east. During President Tshisekedi’s visit to North Kivu’s capital Goma, North and South Kivu provincial deputies 7 Oct challenged late-Sept appointment of ethnic Tutsi (Banyamulenge) as mayor of newly created Minembwe commune, South Kivu province; Tshisekedi blamed decision on decentralisation minister and former President Kabila ally Azarias Ruberwa, himself a Banyamulenge, and 9 Oct revoked Minembwe’s status as commune. Ruberwa 19-21 Oct told National Assembly appointment followed direct orders from Tshisekedi himself, revealing major breach within ruling coalition. Meanwhile, Kabila’s Common Front for Congo 21 Oct boycotted swearing-in ceremony of three new Constitutional Court judges, who had been unilaterally appointed by Tshisekedi in July; next day said party will not recognise judges nor feel bound by any of their decisions. In east, armed groups continued to target armed forces and civilians. In North Kivu province, Uganda-born Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) launched several attacks in Beni territory: ADF and Maï-Maï militia Kyandenga 5 Oct killed ten in Mamove locality; suspected ADF 20 Oct attacked Kangbayi prison in Beni town, freeing over 1,300 inmates including ADF and Maï-Maï combatants; ADF 21-31 Oct killed at least 50 civilians across Beni territory. In South Kivu province, clashes between Maï Maï and Banyamulenge militias late Oct left at least 20 dead. Army 25 Oct said troops had taken over stronghold of Burundian armed group National Liberation Forces (FNL) in South Kivu, killing at least 27 over three days of fighting. In Ituri province, armed group Patriotic and Integrationist Front of Congo (FPIC) 16 and 21 Oct killed at least 15 in Irumu territory. Faction of armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 22 Oct reportedly killed at least five near Ituri’s capital Bunia; in following days, army killed at least 21 militiamen in area. Tshisekedi’s efforts toward regional cooperation suffered setback. Burundi 7 Oct boycotted regional summit on security, health and economic cooperation, hosted by Kinshasa via videoconference, although bilateral meeting between FM Nzeza Ntumba and his Burundian counterpart was held in Burundi’s capital Gitega previous day.

September 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed groups continued to target civilians and humanitarian workers in east, and former President Kabila’s ambition to return to power strained ruling coalition. In eastern Ituri province, armed group Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) 4 Sept entered provincial capital Bunia, before withdrawing same day after negotiations with local authorities. Unidentified armed group 8-10 Sept reportedly killed 58 Hutu civilians in Tchabi village, Irumu territory. In North and South Kivu provinces, also in east, civilians and humanitarian workers continued to come under attack. In North Kivu, suspected armed group Allied Democratic Forces 7-23 Sept reportedly killed at least 37 civilians in several villages in Beni territory. Mai Mai militia 16 Sept attacked convoy of World Food Program and NGO World Vision near Mbughavinywa locality, Lubero territory, killing one and abducting two others. In South Kivu, coalition of Mai Mai militias 8-9 Sept reportedly launched offensive against Twirwaneho militia, leaving at least ten dead in Minembwe area, Fizi territory. Unidentified gunmen 21 Sept kidnapped three staff of Irish NGO Concern in Kajembwe village, Uvira territory. In south-eastern Haut-Katanga province, suspected Mai Mai militias 25-26 Sept stormed second largest city Lubumbashi, killing at least two policemen and one soldier; govt forces repelled attack, reportedly killing 16 rebels. Meanwhile, Kabila’s allies hinted at presidential bid in 2023. Kabila’s ex-chief of staff and current party coordinator 14 Sept said President Tshisekedi agreed to make way for Kabila in 2023 in secret clause of power-sharing agreement; Tshisekedi’s party immediately denied allegations. For first time since Jan 2019, Kabila next day appeared in Senate, where he holds life seat granted to all former presidents; Environment Minister Claude Nyamugabo 18 Sept said “Joseph Kabila will return to power and we are working on it”. After Rwandan Ambassador to DRC Vincent Karega in Aug denied Rwandan involvement in violence in eastern DRC during 1998-2003 war, protesters 4 Sept gathered in Kinshasa to demand his departure and govt 7 Sept said Karega’s statement “is not likely to promote good relations between the DRC and Rwanda” (see Rwanda).

August 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed groups continued to carry out deadly attacks in eastern provinces. Armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 1 Aug signed unilateral commitment to end hostilities in Walendu-Pitsi sector, Djugu territory in Ituri province. However, attacks continued in Ituri. Armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 5 Aug killed three civilians and took several hostages in Kyamata locality, Irumu territory. Suspected CODECO 9 Aug killed 19 civilians in simultaneous attacks on three villages in Djugu territory, 16 Aug killed three civilians in ambush on Mungwalu-Dala axis, Irumu territory, and next day killed at least three civilians in Penge village, Djugu territory. In neighbouring North Kivu province’s Beni territory, ADF reportedly killed at least 40, mostly civilians, in several attacks 13-28 Aug. Also in North Kivu, clashes between factions of armed group Nduma Defence of Congo-Renovated (NDC-R) 1 Aug left 16 dead in Kaseke village, Walikale territory; NDC-R faction commander 17 Aug surrendered to army in Kashuga village, Masisi territory, along with 485 combatants. UN Joint Human Rights Office 5 Aug noted threefold increase in killings by armed groups in DRC in first six months of 2020 compared with same period last year. Amid persistent tensions within ruling coalition between President Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), both sides mid-Aug removed some members deemed “too radical” in coalition agreement monitoring committee, resulting in sidelining of Tshisekedi’s former ally Vital Kamerhe’s Union for the Congolese Nation. Situation remained tense in border areas. Ugandan sailors 5-6 Aug reportedly briefly captured 39 Congolese fishermen on Lake Edward on common border. Following mediation from regional bloc Southern African Development Community, Congolese govt 6 Aug announced retreat of Zambian troops from Tanganyika province; clashes between armies had erupted in March after Zambian troops reportedly occupied two Congolese villages. Burundian rebel group Red-Tabara based in DRC 23 Aug reportedly killed 11 civilians in Burundi’s Rumonge province (see Burundi).

July 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Deadly violence intensified in eastern provinces with high toll on civilians, while tensions ran high within ruling coalition. In North Kivu province, armed group Allied Democratic Forces 1 and 28 July clashed with army in Beni territory, reportedly killing nine soldiers; two factions of militia Nduma Defence of Congo clashed 11-20 July in Walikale territory leaving at least 37 dead; armed group March 23 Movement 21 July attacked armed forces in Rutshuru territory, leaving at least three soldiers dead. In South Kivu province, coalition of militiamen 16 July attacked Kipupu village, Mwenga territory, reportedly leaving 18 civilians dead and over 200 missing. In Ituri province, armed group Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) killed at least 31 civilians and seven members of security forces in Djugu territory 4-8 July. After President Tshisekedi early July sent delegation of former Lendu warlords to negotiate demobilisation with CODECO factions in Djugu, CODECO faction in Kambutso village 13 July stated willingness to disarm and start peace process with govt under conditions; other factions reportedly followed suit late July. Political tensions increased within ruling coalition between Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC). National Assembly, dominated by FFC, 2 July voted for FCC ally Ronsard Malonda as electoral commission president ahead of 2023 presidential election. After Catholic and Protestant churches 3 July urged Tshisekedi to reverse decision, and Tshisekedi supporters 9 July and opposition members 13 July protested in capital Kinshasa and other cities, Tshisekedi 17 July rejected Malonda’s appointment, citing lack of consensus. Deputy PM and Justice Minister Célestin Tunda ya Katende, at centre of tension between FCC and Tshisekedi since June, resigned 11 July. Head of Constitutional Court, under U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption and obstruction of democracy during 2018 elections, resigned 6 July. Tshisekedi 17 July appointed three new Constitutional Court judges. After 10 July meeting with top army command, Tshisekedi 17 July carried out major army reshuffle, sidelining some pro-Kabila generals, notably Army Inspector General John Numbi.

June 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed groups continued to target civilians in north-eastern Ituri and eastern North Kivu provinces, while tensions deepened within ruling coalition. In Ituri’s Djugu territory, armed group Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) launched several attacks on civilians, including ethnic Lendu. Notably, suspected CODECO combatants killed Lendu local official in town of Kpandroma 2 June, at least 16 civilians in Lendu village of Kpadinga next day, and at least 14 others in ethnic Hema villages of Lenga and Lodjo 10 and 17 June. Armed group Allied Democratic Forces continued to consolidate positions in border area between Ituri and North Kivu provinces, killing at least 30 civilians and four soldiers 4-22 June, mainly in Ituri’s Irumu territory. Kinshasa-Gombe High Court 20 June sentenced Tshisekedi’s former chief of staff and president of Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) party, Vital Kamerhe, to 20 years of forced labour for role in embezzlement of $50mn of public funds. Kamerhe’s lawyers 24 June appealed decision. In following days, Kamerhe’s supporters clashed with police in South Kivu province’s capital Bukavu. Amid deepening tensions within ruling coalition, Constitutional Court 18 June confirmed destitution, voted by Parliament late May, of Tshisekedi’s ally and National Assembly First VP Jean-Marc Kabund; Deputy PM and Justice Minister Celestin Tunda wa Kasende, ally of former President Kabila, also briefly arrested 27 June; senior figures from Kabila’s camp, including PM Ilunga Ilunkamba, expressed their anger and threatened to leave coalition govt. Amid persistent regional tensions, Tshisekedi and Ugandan President Museveni 12 June agreed on new information-sharing strategy to combat armed groups along common border. Ituri local officials 17 June accused South Sudan military of at least six incursions in area since May.

May 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed groups continued to target civilians in north-eastern Ituri province and eastern North Kivu province, and tensions with Zambia increased over border dispute in Tanganyika province. In Ituri, new chief of armed group Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) 4 May called for group to end violence, but attacks against civilians persisted throughout month. Notably, suspected CODECO rebels 10 and 17 May killed at least 30 civilians in attacks on villages in Djugu and Mahagi territories, while govt forces 7-25 May killed 40 CODECO rebels in Djugu. Also in Ituri, suspected members of armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 17-18 May killed eight civilians and one soldier in Kelele and Ndalya villages. In North Kivu province, ADF rebels 8-24 May killed at least 25 civilians in attacks in Beni territory. In South Kivu province, local Maï-Maï militia commander and 120 combatants 20 May surrendered in Walungu territory. In Tanganyika province, Twa militiamen 18 May and 26 May killed four civilians in Nyunzu territory. Govt 8 May accused Zambia of planning to annex areas of Congolese territory on west shore of Lake Tanganyika; Zambian govt immediately denied accusations and said troops were stationed in border area to protect Zambian villages from attacks by unidentified armed individuals coming from DRC. President Tshisekedi 28 May welcomed Congo-Brazzaville’s President Sassou-Nguesso’s offer to mediate dispute. Trial of Tshisekedi’s former chief of staff and president of Union for the Congolese Nation party, Vital Kamerhe, over embezzlement charges started 11 May. Police 23-24 May forcefully dispersed pro-Kamerhe demonstrators in Bukavu city in east. Amid persistent tensions within ruling coalition, parliament 25 May voted to remove Tshisekedi’s ally and First Vice-President of National Assembly Jean-Marc Kabund from office; hundreds of Kabund’s supporters next day protested against his dismissal in capital Kinshasa and other cities.

April 2020

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed group Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) early-April stepped up deadly attacks in north-eastern Ituri province, threatening provincial capital, before military launched counter-offensive; tit-for-tat violence left at least 169 dead throughout month. In Ituri, CODECO militants early April gained control of several localities in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories, getting close to provincial capital Bunia. Notably, CODECO attacks in Djugu 10-13 April killed at least 69 civilians and sixteen security forces personnel. Military 17 April said it had recaptured fourteen localities from CODECO control in operations 8-17 April in Djugu and Mahagi territories. Clashes between govt forces and CODECO continued in several territories in Ituri late month, reportedly killing at least 40 militants, six security forces personnel and 38 civilians 19-28 April. Violence also continued in other areas. In North Kivu province, armed group Allied Democratic Forces 6 and 13 April killed eight civilians in Beni territory; unidentified assailants 24 April killed thirteen park rangers and five civilians in attack in Virunga national park; after park authorities accused rebel group Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda of involvement, Rwandan rebels 27 April denied involvement and blamed Rwandan govt forces for attack. In Tanganyika province, Twa militiamen 8 April killed seven civilians in Nyunzu territory. In Kongo Central province, clashes between members of separatist religious cult Bundu Dia Kongo and authorities 13-24 April left at least 33 dead, including civilians; police 24 April arrested cult leader in capital Kinshasa. After former President Kabila allies within ruling coalition challenged constitutional legality of COVID-19 state of emergency declared by President Tshisekedi 24 March without parliamentary approval, Constitutional Court 13 April backed measure. Authorities 8 April arrested Tshisekedi’s chief of staff and president of Union for the Congolese Nation (UCN) party Vital Kamerhe on embezzlement charges, prompting protests in following days by UCN supporters in cities of Bukavu and Goma in east.

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