European Union Press Conference on DRC Situation/ MONUC/Photo Ado Abdou
NOTE: This email was received from a Congolese war correspondent with 30 years of experience. Meanwhile, still nothing in US media.
What I can said? Did you really believe, or the SD (State Department) expert, that the shortage of alll kind of medicaments in the hospital, in a capital of nearly 10 million inhabitants, is due to 47 wounded people....
In a statement, they deplored the loss of life, in particular that of civilians, as the Congolese Armed Forces - the FARDC - took to the streets of Kinshasa against ex vice president J.P. Bemba’s guards in the two day conflict that paralysed the DRC capital, causing much destruction and loss of life.
Furthermore, the European Union (EU) heads ‘condemned the numerous cases of looting and rape committed by troops from both camps’ during the conflict.
In the political sphere, the EU ambassadors stressed the importance for the authorities to ‘ensure the existence of a democratic space, in order to guarantee free expression to all political opinions.’
UK ambassador Andy Sparkes said that they were there to show their ‘solidarity with the Congolese people,’ who had ‘suffered much’ from the conflict.
“There remains a war spirit in the country, which is a bit like malaria. We thought we had healed the country with a big dose of quinine, with the holding of free and transparent elections last year, but this war spirit has returned.”
For the ‘well being of the Congolese people,’ he stressed that it was necessary to eradicate this ‘war spirit’.
“I find this recourse to violence irresponsible, it shows that this war spirit remains, and it needs to be replaced by a spirit of reconciliation and inclusiveness. This is the only way forward for stability in the country.”
The ‘BIAC’ bank building on Kinshasa’s main boulevard, which houses the Greek and Spanish embassies, as well as UNICEF offices, was directly hit by mortar and light arms fire during the violence. The Italian ambassador's Kinshasa residence was also looted.
On this subject, the ambassadors were forthright in their views.
Greek ambassador Ioannis Christofilis deplored what he termed was a ‘direct attack which broke the Vienna convention’ on diplomatic relations.
“This was a direct attack, with heavy arms, not only on the Greek flag and embassy, but the Spanish embassy, as well as UNICEF, who work here for your (Congolese) children, and the BIAC bank, who are working here for the economic development of this country.”
He added that the DRC government had expressed its regret, and has promised a full enquiry into the events.