“Just let us fight, and the war will end” (Review)

(appeared first with African Arguments here)   Over plates of bugali and cups of hot tea, Justine Brabant met with countless militants across the Kivu regions and asked them questions as straightforward as: Why do you fight? Writing about the eastern DR Congo is no easy feat, and many of those who have tried in the past … Continue reading

Tit-for-tat violence spreads in southern Lubero

2016 has begun with little calm in North Kivu as reports over the Miriki massacre made the headlines in early January. Since November 2015, FARDC-led Sukola II operations marked an effective military campaign against FDLR in North Kivu (the South Kivu string of operations ended very quickly in mid-2015 and ever since, FDLR are reported to … Continue reading

On the emergence of Mayi Mayi Oregon

With recent massacres in Miriki (Lubero) and meandering political sparring around a potential ‘national dialogue’ in the headlines, the first weeks of 2016 followed the well-known mantra of ‘never a dull moment in Congo’. One other story, though, went almost unheard and continues developing with little attention from Congolese and Congo pundits: the first Mayi Mayi … Continue reading

The Landscape of Armed Groups in the Eastern Congo

The Landscape of Armed Groups in the Eastern Congo Jason K. Stearns & Christoph Vogel Disclaimer: The earlier mapping projects on this website have now been transferred as part of the Congo Research Group, a project of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. (FOR THE FULL REPORT WITH HIGH-RESOLUTION MAP CLICK HERE) … Continue reading

Dialogue Politics – Kinshasa is set for a long electoral cycle

‘There will not be any elections before 2018 or 2019’, a taxi driver told me in Kinshasa, the very same day the OIF released a sobering audit on the state of the voter registry. The report has a lavish laundry list of things to do to establish an up-to-date and credible ‘fichier’ (doublettes, deceased, first … Continue reading

Crisis in Burundi: Carnage on the ground and chaos in the media

Roughly 3 months after the contested re-election of President Nkurunziza for a third, arguably unconstitutional term at the helm of the state, the political crisis and violent repression have grown chronic. Throughout the past months – starting as early as in April – cyclical outbursts of violence, including numerous killings and abductions, have spread fear … Continue reading

Congo, Elections, and the West: Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better?

Sourcing from myriad inspiration such as Burkina Faso (ousting of Blaise Compaoré) or Nigeria (transition from Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari), discussions over constitutional rule and term limits, have gained increasing traction in Africa’s Great Lakes where Burundi just lived through contested polls and elections are scheduled in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of … Continue reading

Ihula & Rumangabo attacks overshadow DRC-Rwanda rapprochement on FDLR

Last week came with a remarkable diplomatic sign as Congo’s defence minister Aimé Ngoy Mukena (replaced yesterday in DRC’s most recent post-G7 cabinet reshuffle) met with his Rwandan counterpart James Kabarebe to discuss bilateral matters in Kigali. FDLR, the Rwandan militia surviving in eastern Congo for over 20 years and emanating from 1994’s genocidaire troops … Continue reading

In eastern Congo, armed mobilisation more fractionalised but no less

Eastern Congo’s security dynamics have often been described as cyclical and, besides the evergreen remnants of genocidal FDLR militia, the post-M23 era is seen as a détente in regards to armed mobilisation. But a closer look reveals that since late 2013, the number of armed movements has even increased, even if no single actor is … Continue reading

Amani Itakuya II: Conclusion

Concluding remarks: On the emergence of essayists Jason Stearns   Over the past month, Amani Itakuya has published twenty five essays about the conflict in the Eastern Congo, a majority of which were penned by Congolese. In conclusion, it is worth thinking about the space that these essays have carved out. Political and social debate … Continue reading