There has been plenty of Press regarding Operation Lightning Thunder. This was the Military Operation launched by Uganda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan in an effort to rein in the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) and bring their Senior Leadership to Justice. But there has been another Military Operation that needs to be discussed as well.
FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with the Logistical Support of MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Congo) and the Rwandan Army launched an Effort to rein in the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) called Operation Kimia II. In Kiswahili Kimia means calm. Unlike Lightning Thunder there has been little or no International Coverage about the successes or perceived failures of this Mission.
When It was designed Kimia II had three Operational Phases planned. First FARDC was to be deployed to the Area of Operation which is the Mineral Rich Kivu Provinces, Secondly Civilian Areas were to be secured so that the Population would not become casualties in the fighting and lastly the Operation was designed to push the FDLR away from Strategic Areas which translates to as being the Mines.
At this juncture the Mission has several Flaws. One key problem is that FARDC is not able to sustain Combat Operations in the FDLR. As part of the Peace Accord the Government in Kinshasa has instructed FARDC to integrate some former Militia Groups into the Regular Armed Forces. This is also a key factor of the Rampant Human Rights Abuses particularly Rape that plague the Eastern DRC. Also in some cases Colloberation is the Norm. Reports that the FDLR also get Arms from FARDC have been reported as well as well as reports of sharing taxes, mines and smuggling operations.
Another Key factor is the terrain of the Kivu Provinces. This area which is a Dense Rainforest is Demanding for Military Operations. The FDLR have had bases in the Region since they were driven from Rwanda after the Horrific Genocide of 1994. So they have a tactical advantage of knowing the terrain.
The Launch of the Operation has seen a Spike in the number of Sexual Assaults against the women of the Kivus. This is a similar tactic to the one used by the LRA as it launched reprisal raids against OLT. One FDLR Commander stated that “Many Congolese People Provided Information to the Rwandan Army. The FDLR Leadership was unhappy so they retaliated against the Congolese People.”
One Reason for the Lack of Coverage was the fact that AFRICOM did not assist in the planning of this Operation like it did for Lightning Thunder. The US Media was highly critical of the US Government for supporting this failed effort. So why are these same voices silent over the failure of Kimia II so far?
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and comments on US Foreign Policy towards Africa
Scott A Morgan
Editor Confused Eagle
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