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Congo War Takes Civilian Toll: New Voices from Congo

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Georgianne Nienaber       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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“Ps 82:3 "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. They know nothing, they understand nothing; they walk about in darkness....”

The email headed with a quote from Psalms came in this morning from “Nord Kivu,” who wrote a moving piece for OpEdNews in our fledgling “Voices from Congo” series. We have had very little contact with Congolese since the renewed fighting between forces loyal to Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda and the DRC army, so the email was welcome and reassuring.

Finding Internet access is a challenge on a “good” day in DRC, and it is a minor miracle that this email reached us at all.

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“We are running again both sides in Kivu and all North East.
Thank you Keith and Georgianne for standing with us always.”

Are we still standing tall with our Congolese brothers and sisters? Keith harmon snow and I are in southern Louisiana now and have had many discussions about our inability to shed light on what is happening in equatorial Africa. To be frank, this writer had given up for the time being in favor of reportage closer to home.

Then, a second email came in from an informant who is assisting in the ongoing investigation regarding misdirected conservation funding in equatorial Africa. We had not had contact from this man for many months and were concerned that he had been compromised.

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Another welcome communication reached us.

“Surely you ask yourself what happened. In fact I went to Goma months ago, unfortunately the repeated wars led by Nkunda against the army of the DRC found me in that area. I spent several weeks in the bush.

“Now my family is in the displaced camps, where life is awful and most of my relatives are still unseen. I go back to find them next week and will tell you about it, where things are still as bad as when you left DRC.”

Finally, a third email arrived on keith snow’s computer from another informant who has been repeatedly targeted by conservation forces and corrupt government entities. He is alive, but frightened.

Regarding his attempts to expose graft in the foreign aid sector, he wrote, “It looks like we did not do anything and we were like shaking a big tree that we can not move an inch.”

It is good to know they are alive, but what kind of life is in the cards for these dispossessed friends and associates?

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The situation in North Kivu is teetering on the brink, volatile and explosive. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 143,000 people have been displaced between mid September and mid October 2007. It is anyone’s guess what the true toll is now and how far the tsunami of grief will wash over the cradle of civilization, drowning the infant of hope in its wake.

According to reports from the UN Mission to DRC (MONUC), the refugees are concentrated west of Goma in five sites, in eight sites in Rutshuru territory and certain others in Masisi territory. Shelter is non-existent, doctors have been murdered, and hell-on-earth is the reality.

The mainstream media continues to ignore the war between the DRC armed forces and Nkunda and the civilian toll its exacts. No one knows for sure what price the innocents will pay. The so-called “conservation” situation is a mess and a front for the proxy wars.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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