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The August 1998 Rebellion and Affected Groups

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 December 1998
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, The August 1998 Rebellion and Affected Groups, 1 December 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a7fb0.html [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

MAP: THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Source: Jeune Afrique No. 1948, 12-18 May 1998, p. 151

GLOSSARY

AFDL     Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaïre (Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo-Zaïre)

ASADHO              African Human Rights Association (Association africaine de défense des droits de l'homme)

ANR       National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale de renseignements)

CADDHOM          Action Collective for the Development of Human Rights in Congo-Kinshasa (Collectif d'actions pour le développement des droits de l'homme au Congo-Kinshasa)

DRC        Democratic Republic of Congo (République démocratique du Congo—RDC)

FAC        Congolese Armed Forces (Forces armées congolaises)

FAR        Rwandan Armed Forces (Forces armées rwandaises)

FAZ        Zairian Armed Forces (Forces armées zaïroises)

OAU       Organization of African Unity

PDSC      Christian Social Democratic Party (Parti démocrate social chrétien)

RCD        Congolese Coalition for Democracy (Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie)

SADC     South African Defence Community

RTNC     Congolese National Radio and Television (Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise)

UDPS     Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social)

UNESCO                United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

VSV        Voice of the Voiceless for the Defence of Human Rights (Voix des sans voix pour la défense des droits de l'homme)

Note:       English translations of the names of Zairian/DRC organizations are provided above for the reader's convenience. The English names are not official since English has no official status in the Democratic Republic of Congo and did not have official status in Zaire.

1.   INTRODUCTION

This paper is a follow-up to the Issue Paper Democratic Republic of Congo: Situation of Selected Groups, [1]1 published by the Research Directorate of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) in April 1998. It reviews the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) starting with the events of 2 August 1998, when the country [translation] "was once again plunged into war" (Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998a, 6; Libération 7 Aug. 1998, 2; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2; AFP 31 Aug. 1998). It attempts to clarify the reasons for the conflict, identifies the national and regional players involved, and describes the situation of members of political opposition groups, ethnic groups and human rights groups, as well as of journalists. Finally, it takes a look at the future considerations for this country located in the troubled African Great Lakes region.

2.   BACKGROUND

In October 1996, a rebellion fomented by the Banyamulenge (Tutsi Congolese of Rwandan origin) and spearheaded by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo/Zaïre — AFDL) broke out in the Kivu region of Zaire (Africa Research Bulletin 28 Nov. 1996, 12419-20; Africa Confidential 1 Nov. 1996, 1-4; Keesing's 22 Nov. 1996, 41302). After less than seven months of a [translation] "liberation" war (Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998a, 6), the rebels seized power in Kinshasa and ended the 32-year reign of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (Country Reports 1997 1998, 67; Libération 7 Aug. 1998, 3). Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who was the spokesman for the AFDL, proclaimed himself president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the new name given to Zaire (ibid.). The August 1997 Research Directorate paper Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo: Chronology of Events January-July 1997 provides a detailed account of the various stages of the rebellion and the circumstances that brought the AFDL to power in Kinshasa.

After coming to power, the AFDL banned all other political parties from engaging in any activities and became the only political organization able to function freely (Country Reports 1997 1998, 67-68; La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 6). Paradoxically, President Kabila promised at the same time to hold free elections in 1999 (Country Reports 1997 1998, 67-68). The Issue Paper Democratic Republic of Congo: Situation of Selected Groups (see Section 1 above) gives a concise overview of the Kabila regime's record in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms from the time it took power until April 1998.

3.   CIVIL WAR

3.1.              Origins of the Conflict

On 27 July 1998, President Kabila decided to end the Rwandan military presence in DRC territory (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2; AFP 31 Aug. 1998; Jeune Afrique 11-17 Aug. 1998, 12-13). This presence consisted of the Rwandan military personnel who, after fighting alongside Kabila in the 1996 [translation] "liberation" war (Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998a, 6), had stayed behind in the DRC to train the Congolese Armed Forces (Forces armées congolaises — FAC) (Jeune Afrique 4-10 Aug. 1998, 14-15; Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998a, 7; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13221).

A week later, on 2 August 1998, the Banyamulenge launched a rebellion against the Kabila regime in two towns simultaneously — Goma (North Kivu) and Bukavu (South Kivu) (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2; AFP 31 Aug. 1998; Libération 4 Aug. 1998, 6). At the same time, Banyamulenge soldiers in Kinshasa were fighting other Congolese soldiers who had remained loyal to President Kabila (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2; AFP 31 Aug. 1998; Libération 4 Aug. 1998, 6). Some observers consider that the conflict was triggered by President Kabila's decision to expel the Rwandan soldiers (Jeune Afrique 11-17 Aug. 1998, 12-13; Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998a, 7; Christian Science Monitor 13 Oct. 1998).

At first, the Kabila government blamed the insurrection on [translation] "'armed elements claiming to be unhappy with the departure of the Rwandan soldiers'" (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2) and on [translation] "'collaborators [who had] taken up arms in order to disturb the peace'" (AFP 31 Aug. 1998, Le nouvel Afrique-Asie Sept. 1998b, 12). However, two days after the start of the insurrection, President Kabila accused Rwanda and Uganda of [translation] "instigating the troubles [in his country] and taking part in them" (Le Monde 7 Aug. 1998, 4; ibid. 11 Aug. 1998, 3; AFP 31 Aug. 1998; New African Oct. 1998a, 12). (See Section 4.2 for Rwanda's and Uganda's official reactions to this accusation.) President Kabila even threatened to [translation] "'export the war to Rwanda'" if the [translation] "aggressors" did not leave the DRC (Le Monde 7 Aug. 1998, 4; Reuters 24 Sept. 1998). Both Rwanda and Uganda had provided military assistance to Kabila in his offensive against the Mobutu regime in October 1996 (Nyankanzi 1998, 76; AP 13 Oct. 1998).

To justify their armed insurrection, the Congolese rebels accused President Kabila of nepotism, despotism, corruption and bad government, and claimed that he had stirred up hatred among the country's various ethnic groups (Le Monde 5 Aug. 1998, 4; AP 27 Sept. 1998; Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 4-6). In a radio broadcast in Goma on 3 August 1998, the commander of the 10th battalion of the FAC rejected President Kabila's authority and called for his departure (Le Monde 5 Aug. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2). The 10th and 12th battalions had been present in Goma and Bukavu respectively at the start of the rebellion and had thrown their support behind the rebels (Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 16).

Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, leader of the democratic opposition forces and president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social—UDPS), in a 4 September 1998 [translation] "Memorandum of the Democratic Opposition Forces of the DRC" addressed to the UN Secretary General, maintained that the causes of the civil war that had broken out on 2 August 1998 were essentially internal ones such as [translation] "the absence of democracy and the rule of law, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, chaotic and non-transparent management of the state's affairs, corruption, nepotism, the notorious incompetency of the country's leading officials, etc." (Congonline 28 Sept. 1998).

After less than three months of fighting, this new Congolese rebellion had taken root in the Katanga, Maniema and Eastern provinces, in addition to North and South Kivu regions (Jeune Afrique 22-28 Sept. 1998b, 11; AFP 15 Oct. 1998; Reuters 16 Oct. 1998).

3.2.                Opposing Forces

3.2.1.  Pro-Kabila Forces

According to official figures, there were 140,000 men in the Congolese Armed Forces before the start of the rebellion (Le Soir 28 Aug. 1998; Reuters 16 Oct. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2). However, it is not clear how many of these are still loyal to Kabila, since at least two battalions (the 10th and the 12th) have thrown their support behind the rebels (Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 16; see also Le Monde 5 Aug. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2). Kabila has also announced the creation of an armed self-defence militia made up of some 25,000 youths (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 1; Reuters 16 Sept. 1998). A number of former Mobutu-regime generals also offered Kabila their services soon after the start of hostilities (Jeune Afrique Économie 14 Sept.-4 Oct. 1998, 22; Reuters 15 Sept. 1998).

In addition to the FAC, Kabila has reportedly obtained the support of numerous armed militias in the African Great Lakes region (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 6; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13223-25; Reuters 20 Oct. 1998a). The major pro-Kabila militia groups are those associated with the Maï-Maï, the Wangilima and the National Liberation Resistance Council (Conseil de résistance pour la libération nationale) (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 6; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13223-25). Solidly supported by the Nandé, Hundé, Bashi and Bembé ethnic groups of North and South Kivu, these militia groups are all opposed to the presence of Tutsis in the region (ibid.). The Forces for the Defence of Democracy (Forces pour la défense de la démocratie—FDD), a Burundian Hutu movement waging an armed struggle against the Burundian regime, have also thrown their support behind Kabila (Le Soir 16 Sept. 1998; Reuters 20 Oct. 1998a; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 2). The Interahamwe Hutu militia force and the former Rwandan Armed Forces (Forces armées rwandaises—FAR) are also fighting alongside the pro-Kabila forces (ibid.; Reuters 24 Sept. 1998; AFP 26 Sept. 1998; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 2). The Interahamwe Hutu militia force and the ex-FAR are considered to be the primary perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda (Reuters 24 Sept. 1998; AFP 26 Sept. 1998).

In a 25 September 1998 press release, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) stated that it was particularly disturbed by reports that [translation] "a significant number" of Rwandan asylum seekers were leaving the refugee camps in various Central African countries and rejoining the war in the DRC (UNHCR 25 Sept. 1998; United Nations OCHA IRIN-CEA 11 Nov. 1998; AFP 26 Sept. 1998). The newspaper Libération estimated that 2,000 refugees were recruited by Kabila in the camps located to the north of Brazzaville (30 Sept. 1998).

3.2.2.             Rebel Forces

The Forces of Liberty (Forces de la liberté), the armed branch of the Congolese rebellion (AFP 15 Oct. 1998), are primarily made up of Banyamulenge and disaffected elements of the FAC (AP 24 Sept. 1998; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 3-5). The 10th and 12th battalions of the FAC, stationed in North and South Kivu, were the first to throw their support behind the rebels (Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 16; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2). On 4 August 1998, two days after the start of the fighting, several thousand of the 20,000-30,000 members of the former Zairian Armed Forces (Forces armées zaïroises—FAZ) in the Kitona military base located on the southwest coast of the country joined the rebellion (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; New African Oct. 1998a, 11) when a rebel commando hijacked a plane at the Goma airport and flew it to the Kitona military base in a bid to win over the soldiers, who were undergoing a [translation] "reeducation" programme there (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13222; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 2; Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5). Sources estimate that early in the war, the rebel forces had 50,000-60,000 members (Le Soir 28 Aug. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 3; Reuters 16 Oct. 1998).

On 16 August 1998, the Congolese rebels set up a political wing called the Congolese Coalition for Democracy (Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie—RCD) (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13223; AFP 31 Aug. 1998, 1; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 4). A number of sources provide information about various RCD leaders.

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, the RCD president (Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; New African Oct. 1998a, 13), is a native of Lower Congo (ibid.; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6) and formerly a professor at Dar es Salaam University in Tanzania (ibid.; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6). Jacques Depelchin, the executive secretary of the RCD (ibid.), was formerly a professor at a Protestant university in Kinshasa (ibid.).

The RCD also includes several former dignitaries of the Mobutu regime: Lunda Bululu, a Katanga native (ibid.; New African Oct. 1998a, 13; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18) who was prime minister from 1990 to 1991 (ibid.; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6), Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, a Maniema native (Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6; Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5) and former transportation minister (ibid.; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 5-7), and Tryphon Kin-Kiey, a former Reuters correspondent (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5) who was the information minister in 1994 (ibid.).

In addition, the RCD includes three Tutsis from the Kivu region who were high-ranking officials in the Kabila regime before the rebellion: Déogratias Bugera, Bizima Karaha and Moïse Nyarugabo (International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 6). Bugera, a founding member and former secretary general of Kabila's AFDL (ibid.; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18), was a minister of state without portfolio (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 6). Karaha, also a former AFDL member, was the minister of foreign affairs (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18), and Nyarugabo, another former AFDL member, was President Kabila's private secretary (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 6) and, according to one source, his political adviser (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6).

Two other former AFDL members in the RCD who occupied high-ranking positions under the Kabila regime are Kalala Shambuyi, a native of Kasai (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5) and Joseph Mudumbi of South Kivu (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 7).

Other high-profile RCD leaders mentioned by the sources consulted include Arthur Zahidi Ngoma, a native of Maniema and former UNESCO official who is the founding president of the Forces of the Future (Forces du futur) opposition party (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 6), and Émile Ilunga, a former leader of the "Katangese gendarmes" (Africa Confidential 28 Aug. 1998, 5; Jeune Afrique 1-7 Sept. 1998, 17-18; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 7).

3.3.                Role of Mobutu-era Civil and Military Officials in the Current Conflict

The sources consulted by the Research Directorate provide little information on the role and place of Mobutu-era civil and military leaders in the conflict that erupted on 2 August 1998. Apart from the former ministers identified in the preceding section as being official members of the RCD's political leadership, most of the former high-ranking officials of the Mobutu regime have maintained a low profile since the start of the war.

Africa Confidential reports that former prime minister Kengo wa Dondo and generals Kpama Baramoto Kata and Nzimbi Ngbale Kongo wa Bassa have visited Kigali, an act that suggests they have decided to side with the rebels (28 Aug. 1998, 5). Members of the former FAZ who were undergoing "reeducation" in the Kitona base were reportedly urged by the two generals to join the rebellion (ibid.). In its 11 September 1998 issue, the same magazine reports that members of Mobutu's Special Presidential Division (Division spéciale présidentielle—DSP) played a crucial role in the rebels' capture of the town of Kalemie (ibid. 11 Sept. 1998, 4).

However, a number of other former FAZ generals threw their support behind President Kabila early in the conflict (Jeune Afrique Économie 14 Sept.-4 Oct. 1998, 22; Reuters 15 Sept. 1998). One of them is General Kalume, who was the chief of military operations in mid-September 1998 (Jeune Afrique Économie 14 Sept.-4 Oct. 1998, 22). According to Reuters, three other former FAZ generals—Mulimbi Mabilo, Bekazwa Bakundulo and Ngwala Panzu—were, as of mid-September 1998, leading the fight against the rebellion in Katanga province (15 Sept. 1998). In August 1998, General Eluki Monga Ahundu, former chief of staff of the FAZ, urged the soldiers who had formerly served under him to support the Kinshasa government in its war against the rebels in the eastern part of the country (Africa No. 1 8 Aug. 1998).

At the same time, several former FAZ soldiers have reportedly been targetted by the authorities as a result of the war (ASADHO 9 Sept. 1998, 2). The African Human Rights Association (ASADHO) claimed in a 9 September 1998 press release that the government had arrested more that 500 ex-FAZ soldiers in Kinshasa (ibid.). The press release adds that some of them have disappeared (ibid.). According to Info-Congo/Kinshasa (see Notes on Selected Sources), an eye-witness apparently reported seeing the summary execution of 30 ex-FAZ soldiers (31 Aug. 1998, 7). These ex-FAZ soldiers were reportedly arrested and accused of complicity with the rebels purely on the basis of suspicion (ibid.).

4.   FOREIGN INTERVENTIONS

What initially appeared to be a simple mutiny rapidly escalated into a regional conflict with the direct involvement of countries including Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Chad (Xinhua 8 Oct. 1998; Le Soir 28 Aug. 1998; AP 22 Sept. 1998; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 1-10; Mail&Guardian 29 July 1998). This section will try to clarify who supports whom and why these countries have become involved in the DRC conflict.

4.1.                Pro-Kabila Interventions

By 13 August 1998, two weeks after the start of the war, the rebels controlled all the towns on the country's southwestern coast (Muamba, Banana, Boma and Matadi); in addition, they had captured the Inga dam, the main source of electricity for Kinshasa and other localities (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13222; AFP 31 Aug. 1998; New African Oct. 1998a, 11).

According to sources, analysts believe that without the intervention of Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, Kinshasa would have been captured by the rebels (Xinhua 8 Oct. 1998; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13222; New African Oct. 1998b, 14-15). These three countries are, like the DRC, members of the South African Development Community (SADC) and have officially acknowledged their military intervention in support of Kabila (AFP 29 Sept. 1998a; Libération 30 Sept. 1998; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 1-10). They justify their intervention by the need to defend a fellow SADC member from the aggression of Rwanda and Uganda, two non-SADC countries (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13222; AFP 20 Oct. 1998a).

However, some observers suggest that Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia each has its own reasons for intervening. In the case of Angola, the primary objective was to prevent Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the main armed opposition to the Luanda regime, from using Congolese territory as a base for its operations (Reuters 3 Oct. 1998, 2; Jeune Afrique 22-28 Sept. 1998a, 13; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 10-11). Zimbabwe and Namibia have economic interests in the DRC that they wish to defend, safeguard and promote (AFP 7 Oct. 1998, 1-2; International Crisis Group Oct. 1998, 8-9; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998). In addition, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's [translation] "concerns about his personal prestige" played a role in his intervention (ibid.).

Other countries such as Chad and Sudan subsequently joined the pro-Kabila coalition (AFP 29 Sept. 1998a; Libération 30 Sept. 1998; AP 22 Sept. 1998; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998; ibid. 24 Sept. 1998). Chad has admitted sending soldiers to the DRC to support Kabila (AFP 29 Sept. 1998a; Libération 30 Sept. 1998; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998). In addition, several sources report that Sudan too has been supporting the Kabila regime's efforts to put down the rebellion (AP 22 Sept. 1998; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998; ibid. 24 Sept. 1998; International Group Crisis 21 Oct. 1998, 6).

4.2.                Pro-rebel Interventions

The Ugandan government admits sending soldiers to eastern DRC, but claims that it did so to ensure its own security by preventing Ugandan rebels based there from infiltrating into Uganda (Reuters 3 Oct. 1998; Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13223; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 5-6). It denies that Ugandan troops are involved in the Congolese conflict (ibid.). The Rwandan authorities, after their initial categorical denials of any intervention in the DRC (Jeune Afrique 22-28 Sept. 1998a, 13; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998; AP 13 Oct. 1998), eventually acknowledged three months after the start of the war that they were maintaining a military presence in the DRC for the purpose of ensuring Rwandan security (AFP 6 Nov. 1998; AP 6 Nov. 1998). Eye-witnesses had already reported the presence of Rwandan soldiers among the rebel forces when the rebels captured of the town of Kindu (AP 13 Oct. 1998; Reuters 14 Oct. 1998; AFP 14 Oct. 1998).

Rwanda and Uganda share similar border security concerns (Jeune Afrique 22-28 Sept. 1998a, 13; Reuters 3 Oct. 1998, 2). The Rwandan authorities feel threatened by the Hutu Interahamwe militia force and former FAR soldiers based in the Kivu region who continue to make deadly raids into Rwandan territory (Le Soir 16 Sept. 1998; Reuters 24 Sept. 1998). Similarly, Uganda claims that rebels fighting to overthrow the Yoweri Museveni government in Kampala are making deadly raids into western Uganda from their base in the DRC (Africa Research Bulletin 1-31 Aug. 1998, 13223; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 5-6).

In addition, Belgium has accused Burundi of sending soldiers to the Uvira area in South Kivu with the intention of supporting the anti-Kabila rebels (Le Soir 16 Sept. 1998, 2). Colonel Songolo, a former army commander in Katanga who has joined the rebels, states that Kabila has obtained the support of members of the Burundan Hutu militia forces that are fighting to overthrow the Burundian government in Bujumbura (Reuters 20 Oct. 1998a).

5.   IMPACT OF THE CONFLICT ON VARIOUS GROUPS

Congolese civilians in general have suffered from the war that broke out on 2 August 1998; among other things, sources report that aerial bombing by the Angolan forces during their intervention on the southwestern front caused thousands of civilian deaths (Africa Confidential 11 Sept. 1998, 4; ASADHO 9 Sept. 1998, 2). More that 5 million Kinshasa residents were deprived of electricity and drinking water for several weeks following the rebel capture of the Inga dam (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 7; ASADHO 9 Sept. 1998, 2; La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 12).

In the eastern and western regions of the country, the war has displaced significant numbers of people. According to a mid-October 1998 UNHCR press release, more than 11,000 Congolese refugees had already fled to Tanzania and more than 6,000 to Burundi (13 Oct. 1998). All these people were from the town of Kalemie in Katanga province (ibid.). A number of sources report that several people were killed by rebel soldiers, some of them because they had refused to support the rebels (CADDHOM 5 Oct. 1998, 1; La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 12)

This section looks at the situation of individuals and groups who have been targets of ill-treatment by the warring parties because of their ethnicity, political opinions or positions.

5.1.                Ethnic Groups

5.1.1.        Tutsis

From the beginning of the conflict, the DRC government labelled the Rwandans and Banyamulenge as [translation] "aggressors" (Le Monde 26 Aug. 1998, 4). According to sources, this explains the [translation] "Tutsi hunt" subsequently organized by the Congolese authorities in Kinshasa (ibid.; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 3). Several hundred ethnic Tutsis, people of Rwandan origin or their spouses, and rebel sympathizers were arrested and detained in Kinshasa as a result (AI 7 Aug. 1998; US Newswire 7 Aug. 1998).

In its 9 September 1998 press release, ASADHO reports that [translation] "several people of Tutsi origin were arbitrarily arrested and detained in Camp Kokolo, Tshatshi, in various intelligence service prisons [...] and in the Kin-Mazière prison in Kinshasa Gombe" (2). Sakombi Inongo, who was Kabila's communications adviser at that time, was reportedly quoted in the 24 August 1998 issue of Soft International as saying that [translation] "'To the Tutsis [...] I announce that the time of perdition, expiation, eternel exile, great misfortune and greatest torments has arrived'" (ibid.). Other sources mention that an undetermined number of ethnic Tutsis detained in Kinshasa have been summarily executed (HRW 18 Aug. 1998; PANA 17 Sept. 1998; US Newswire 7 Aug. 1998).

The US Department of State has expressed its concern at the mass arrests of Tutsi Congolese and their ill-treatment at the hands of the Kabila government (M2 Presswire 10 Aug. 1998). Foreign diplomats in the DRC have indicated similar concerns, and are trying to find out the number of places of detention and get permission to visit them (AFP 13 Aug. 1998).

Sources also report that DRC authorities have used the official media to stir up hatred against ethnic Tutsis (HRW 13 Aug. 1998; AI 14 Aug. 1998). In the eastern town of Bunia, for example, the government-controlled radio broadcast an appeal urging people to kill Rwandan Tutsis using any tools at their disposal, from machetes to barbed wire (AFP 14 Aug. 1998; HRW 13 Aug. 1998; BBC 13 Aug. 1998).

According to the 27 August 1998 issue of La Voix du CDH, about 300 Tutsis in the town of Lubumbashi (Katanga province) had been arrested since the start of the war and were being detained by the local authorities in a convent run by the Backita congregation (10). Further information on this issue was not available to the Research Directorate at the time of publication of this paper. The report adds that several Banyamulenge in Kalemie, including Sekimonio (an executive of the Bralima brewery and lemonade company) and his family, were executed by the FAC (ibid., 12). The Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa (IRIN-CEA) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated in mid-October that 8,000 to 10,000 Banyamulenge displaced from the Vyura area of Katanga province had reached Kalemie and Uvira or were on their way to these towns (United Nations OCHA IRIN-CEA 13 Oct. 1998). About 250 displaced persons had been killed in Vyura or on the way to Kalemie (ibid.)

In the Eastern Province town of Kisangani, a Christian human rights association called the Justice and Liberation Group (Groupe Justice et Libération) published a 18 September 1998 report entitled La guerre du Congo à Kisangani et les violations des droits de l'homme du 2 août au 17 septembre 1998 in which it reported several cases of summary executions and disappearances of Tutsis and other Rwandans perceived to be colluding with the rebels (Groupe Justice et Libération 18 Sept. 1998, 6-7).

According to a Reuters report, the Congolese authorities were trying in mid-September 1998 to find a country willing to accept the ethnic Tutsis detained in various Kinshasa military barracks, ostensibly "to protect them from public reprisals" (21 Sept. 1998).

5.1.2.             People from Katanga

Information on the situation in rebel-controlled zones is difficult to obtain, particularly since several international organizations and human rights activists were forced to leave the region immediately after the war began (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 2; HRW 23 Oct. 1998, 1-7). In the zones they control, the Congolese rebels have appropriated all means of communication, food reserves, stocks of medicine and other items belonging to UNICEF and the UN World Food Programme (Reuters 20 Oct. 1998b; United Nations DPI 20 Aug. 1998).

A number of sources report that some Congolese—particularly Katangans—have been captured on the Uvira-Bukavu-Goma road, and taken by force to Rwanda, either because they would not support the rebels or in retaliation for the detention of Tutsis in Kinshasa (La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 13; ASADHO 9 Sept. 1998, 2; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 3). According to La Voix du CDH, 356 people were killed between 2 and 8 August 1998 (27 Aug. 1998, 13). In addition, 40 to 50 officers of Katangan origin were summarily executed by the rebel forces in Kavumu during the same period (ibid.; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 3).

In the Eastern Province, people who fled the Katangan town of Kisangani before the arrival of the rebels live in hiding in difficult conditions due to a hate campaign waged against them on the radio by a man named Wale Sombo Bolene (Groupe Justice et Libération 18 Sept. 1998, 9). Further information on Wale Sombo Bolene was not available in the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

5.2.                Journalists

Accused of [translation] "setting up a support committee for the rebels in Kinshasa, creating an active and dynamic centre of subversion, rejoicing over each rebel advance and, finally, colluding with the enemy," Semy Dieyi, César Lokate Itoko, Ekofo Isawoso, Prontom Binois, Martin Mazambe and Désiré Kanyama, all journalists with the Congolese National Radio and Television (Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise—RTNC), were arrested on 8 September 1998 and held at the provincial police inspectorate in Kinshasa for three days before being released (Droits de l'homme Hebdo 21-28 Sept. 1998, 2). According to the same source, César Lokate Itoko, Ekofo Isawoso and Prontom Binois were rearrested, along with Bertrain Etenda Bafenda, on 17 September 1998 and imprisoned in a cell of the Military Detection of Anti-Motherland Activities Unit (Détection militaire des activités anti-patrie—DEMIAP) (ibid.). Other sources report that seven journalists with the official Congolese radio broadcaster Voix du peuple were arrested and detained for the second time on 18 and 19 September 1998 by the military for setting up a welcoming committee for the rebels and colluding with the enemy (United Nations OCHA IRIN-CEA 30 Sept. 1998; AFP 29 Sept. 1998b). Six of the seven journalists were later released "'on the personal orders'" of President Kabila (ibid.). Information on the seventh journalist could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The editor of the newspaper Umoja, Raymond Luaula, was arrested by four special service officers of the National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale des renseignements—ANR) on 23 September 1998, but was later released (Droits de l'homme Hebdo 21-28 Sept. 1998, 3). He was accused of [translation] "sowing panic among the population of Kinshasa" by publishing an article, entitled "Bukavu n'a pas jamais été bombardée" (Bukavu has never been bombed), which contradicted the government's claim that rebel-held Bukavu had been bombed by pro-government forces (ibid.).

On 5 November 1998, the security forces arrested three journalists employed by the daily newspaper Le Soft, Awazi Kharomon, Lubamba Lukoto and B. B. Ediya, confiscated their equipment and shut down the newspaper's offices (RSF 6 Nov. 1998). They were accused of publishing falsehoods concerning conversations between Kabila and US officials regarding the situation in the country and were detained in the Kinshasa office of the National Security Council (Conseil national de sécurité) (ibid.). Jean-Marie Nkanku, a journalist with the weekly L'Alerte, was arrested on 30 October 1998 by the police for publishing a photo of Interior Minister Gaëtan Kakudji in the company of Z'ahidi Ngoma, a rebel leader (ibid.; La Référence Plus 30 Oct. 1998). According to Reporters sans frontières, he is being held by DEMIAP (11 Nov. 1998). Two journalists employed by La Flamme du Congo, Gustave Kalenga and Kabago Mbaya, were arrested on 29 October 1998 by plainclothes soldiers in connection with the newspaper's publication, a short time before, of an article about bribery allegations implicating President Kabila's office chief of staff (CPJ 6 Nov. 1998; RSF 6 Nov. 1998). The same day, Beya Mukoto, a journalist with the weekly Destinée, published in Kananga, Kasai province, was arrested in Kananga. A week later, he was still in police detention for translating and publishing an article critical of Kasai's governor that had previously appeared in Le Potentiel (RSF 6 Nov. 1998).

Several foreign journalists were also arrested and detained by Congolese police in August 1998 (Reporters sans frontières 28 Aug. 1998, 1; South African News Agency 25 Aug. 1998; Xinhua 24 Aug. 1998). Among them were Lara Santoro, an Italian journalist working for The Christian Science Monitor, and AFP correspondent Hugh Neville, both of whom were arrested by Congolese officials at the Kasumbalesa border post on the DRC-Zambia border on 20 August 1998, accused of spying and expelled from the country after being detained for several days (Xinhua 24 Aug. 1998; RSF 28 Aug. 1998). Other foreign journalists who were arrested include World Television News and Reuters correspondents (South African News Agency 25 Aug. 1998; RSF 28 Aug. 1998). The World Television News correspondents, identified by Reporters sans frontières as Australian Mike Huggins, German Michael Pohl and Congolese Jonathan Kolionio, were arrested by police on 23 August 1998 as they were filming a scene in the streets of Kinshasa; they were released on 25 August 1998 (ibid.). The Reuters correspondents, identified as Roger Koy and Sip Maseko, were held in custody for several hours on 24 August 1998 on the orders of the information minister (ibid.).

In another case, on 7 August 1998, Jean Hatzfel, a special correspondent of the French newspaper Libération, was [translation] "violently accosted by two [Congolese] soldiers, thrown to the ground several times, beaten up and threatened with summary execution before being taken to barracks"; he was accused of spying (Libération 8 Sept. 1998). However, he was released the same day on the orders of the information minister (ibid.).

5.3.                Political Opposition

As mentioned earlier (see section 2 above), President Kabila, after taking power, banned the activities of all political parties except the AFDL (Country Reports 1997 1998, 67-68; La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 6). This ban was still in effect as of October 1998 (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 5; Mwene Kabyana 14 Oct. 1998; Tchibeya 9 Oct. 1998; Ngefa 8 Oct. 1998). In addition, President Kabila had UDPS leader Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba placed under house arrest in his native village in February 1998 (AFP 1 June 1998, 1). Tshisekedi was able to return to Kinshasa only in early July 1998, after four months under house arrest (AFP 19 July 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 1).

In general, however, although the documentary sources consulted provide little information on the situation of political party members since the start of the war, oral sources report that no party member has been ill-treated, arrested or detained either by the authorities or by the rebels simply for belonging to a particular political party (Mwene Kabyana 14 Oct. 1998; Tchibeya 9 Oct. 1998; Ngefa 8 Oct. 1998).

As far as the political parties' attitude towards the war that began on 2 August 1998 is concerned, UDPS president Etienne Tshisekedi has called for negotiations involving the warring parties as well as all the democratic opposition movements (Jeune Afrique 29 Sept.-5 Oct. 1998, 9; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 6). The authorities, however, confiscated Tshisekedi's passport (AP 30 Oct. 1998; Reuters 26 Oct. 1998; La Référence Plus 26 Oct. 1998), thus preventing him from accepting the European Parliament's invitation to a meeting held in Europe on 26 October 1998 (AP 30 Oct. 1998; Le Soir 27 Oct. 1998).

In an 18 September 1998 press release, Damien Simbi Musema, the secretary general of the Christian Social Democratic Party (Parti démocrate social chrétien—PDSC), called for [translation] "a dialogue among all the forces of change 'in order to achieve increased national cohesion and arrive at a solution to the problem of the war, a concerted management of the transition, and the reconstruction of the country'" (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 6).

5.4.                Human Rights Activists

In the rebel-controlled zones, [translation] "human rights associations operate clandestinely for fear of possible retaliation by the new occupants" (Droits de l'homme Hebdo 28 Sept.-3 Oct. 1998, 5). In a 23 October 1998 memorandum, Human Rights Watch (HRW) listed several human rights activists forced into exile after receiving death threats from rebel soldiers for informing the rest of the population about the situation in the rebel-occupied zones (23 Oct. 1998, 1-4). Even humanitarian agencies have had to leave the rebel-controlled zones since all their equipment was confiscated, including the communications equipment they used in their work (Reuters 20 Oct. 1998b).

In its report on human rights abuses committed by the warring parties between 2 August and 17 September 1998, Groupe Justice et Libération writes that in Kisangani, however, [translation] "as far as the activities of human rights associations are concerned, nobody was directly harassed by either the government forces or the insurgent forces (18 Sept. 1998, 5). At the same time, according to the president of the human rights organization Voice for the Voiceless for the Defence of Human Rights (VSV), human rights activists are finding it increasingly difficult to work in Kinshasa as a result of the war (9 Oct. 1998). However, VSV was not aware of any cases of human rights activists being arrested or intimidated by the authorities (ibid.).

5.5.                Other Groups

5.5.1.         Children

According to Human Rights Watch, the DRC authorities have urged children between 12 and 20 years of age to join the FAC, which are involved in fighting against the rebellion in the DRC (AFP 12 Aug. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 31 Aug. 1998, 7). As of early September 1998, many children were already serving as soldiers, both in the FAC and in the rebel forces, and both sides were continuing to recruit children to fight in the war (ibid.; ASADHO 9 Sept. 1998, 3).

In its report on human rights violations committed by the two sides between 2 August and 17 September 1998, the Groupe Justice et Libération, indicates that the government forces in Kisangani [translation] "have used anti-Rwandan propaganda and the promise of good wages to enrol numerous youths, including children under 15 years of age" (18 Sept. 1998, 11). The report adds that the rebel forces also included children under 15 (ibid.). Rebel military leaders estimated that a total of some 5,000 children were fighting in the current war for one side or the other (AFP 8 Oct. 1998; M2 Presswire 24 Aug. 1998).

5.5.2.             Family Members and Close Collaborators with Rebel or Government Leaders

In a 5 October 1998 report, The Action Collective for the Development of Human Rights in Congo-Kinshasa (Collectif d'actions pour le développement des droits de l'homme au Congo-Kinshasa—CADDHOM) lists kidnappings, disappearances and killings carried out by the rebel forces in South Kivu province, particularly in the town of Bukavu (1). CADDHOM adds that the targets are [translation] "Congolese of Hutu origin, students, civil society leaders, members of the clergy and former officials of the Kabila regime who are suspected of collusion with Kinshasa" (5 Oct. 1998, 1-2). Former South Kivu governor Jean-Charles Magabe was forced to flee the country after refusing to obey the rebels; he has taken refuge in Belgium (Libération 21 Oct. 1998). According to Human Rights Watch, the traditional chiefs in South Kivu who have refused to collaborate with the rebels have gone underground to avoid being arrested (23 Oct. 1998, 3). The source cites the cases of Chief Désiré Kabare, who lives in the town of the same name, Chief Pierre Ndadabaye of Walengu, King Longangi of Kitutu and King Kalenge of Mwenga (ibid.).

Family members of current RCD coordinator Lunda Bululu have been arrested and detained by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) in Lubumbashi for varying periods (La Voix du CDH 27 Aug. 1998, 10). FAC soldiers pillaged Lunda Bululu's residence in the Jamaïque district of Kintambo Commune as well as the residence of former prime minister Kengo wa Dondo, who was suspected of being a rebel collaborator (Droits de l'homme Hebdo 28 Sept.- 3 Oct. 1998, 3).

6.   FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

The current situation in the DRC is such that it is difficult to make predictions about the outcome of the war and the country's future. After close to three months of civil war, two different administrations ruled the country, with the rebels occupying South and North Kivu, the Eastern Province, Maniema, and a part of Katanga province and the Kabila government controlling the rest of the country (Jeune Afrique 22-28 Sept. 1998b, 11; AFP 15 Oct. 1998; Reuters 15 Oct. 1998). This section presents some of the possible scenarios as discussed by various sources.

The Current Balance of Power Continues

Several sources warn that in the absence of a peaceful resolution of the conflict or a victory by one side or the other, the country is at risk of falling apart (AFP 18 Sept. 1998; ibid. 18 Oct. 1998; Jeune Afrique 29 Sept.-5 Oct. 1998, 9; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 4; International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 15).

One Side or the Other Wins a Military Victory

A victory by either side would carry the risk of reinforcing the distrust between the two groups without ending the threat of destabilization that hangs over the entire region; in particular, as the International Crisis Group points out, a military victory by the government forces would reinforce [translation] "Kabila's desire not to share power and [would] encourage him to become more authoritarian" (21 Oct. 1998, 14).

The Fighting Ends and Negotiations Begin

The cessation of hostilities and the start of negotiations among the various parties, including the democratic opposition, seem to offer the best prospects for the DRC (International Crisis Group 21 Oct. 1998, 16). This kind of peaceful negotiated resolution of the conflict is favoured by a number of groups, including political parties such as the UDPS (Jeune Afrique 29 Sept.-5 Oct. 1998, 9; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 6) and the PDSC (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 30 Sept. 1998, 6), the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the DRC (CNN 7 Nov. 1998) and human rights organizations such as ASADHO (ASADHO 8 Nov. 1998). Under the auspices of the UN and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), such negotiations could lead to the establishment of a transitional government, followed by free and democratic elections (ibid.; CNN 7 Nov. 1998).

NOTES ON SELECTED SOURCES

Droits de l'homme Hebdo (Kinshasa)

Droits de l'homme Hebdo is a weekly bulletin on human rights in the DRC. Founded in 1998, it is co-published by the Congolese human rights NGOs Voice of the Voiceless for the Defence of Human Rights (Voix des sans-voix pour la défense des droits de l'homme—VSV), Human Rights League/Kinshasa (Ligue des droits de l'homme [LDH]/Kinshasa) and Friends of Nelson Mandela for Human Rights (Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la défense des droits de l'homme—ANM)/Kisangani-Eastern Province, as well as the Association of Prison Managers of Congo/Kinshasa (Association des cadres pénitentiaires du Congo—ACPC)/Kinshasa.

Collectif d'actions pour le développement des droits de l'homme au Congo-Kinshasa (CADDHOM).

Founded in 1991, this independent human rights organization, whose name can be translated as the Action Collective for the Development of Human Rights in Congo-Kinshasa, has its headquarters in the mining town of Kamitunga and a coordination office in the South Kivu town of Bukavu, and is also represented by offices in various regions of the country. It publishes reports and press releases on the human rights situation in the DRC.

Groupe Justice et Libération (Kisangani)

This Christian human rights association, whose name can be translated as Justice and Liberation Group, is based in Kisangani, in the Eastern province, and was founded in 1990 with the aim of monitoring human rights conditions in the Eastern province. In addition to its annual reports, it also publishes other documents.

Mwene Kabyana, Kadari

A native of Congo, Mwene Kabyana has a master's degree in political science from the University of Montréal and is doing research for a Ph. D. in the same field at Laval University in Québec. Since 1994, Mwene Kabyana has been contributing to Info-Zaïre (later renamed Info-Congo/Kinshasa), a monthly publication produced in Montreal by the Roundtable on Human Rights in the DRC (Table de concertation des droits humains en RDC). In addition, he is a spokesman for the UDPS, a prominent DRC political party.

Ngefa, Guillaume

Guillaume Ngefa is the president of the African Association for Human Rights in Congo-Kinshasa (Association africaine de défense des droits de l'homme au Congo/Kinshasa-ASADHO), formerly known as the Zairian Association of Human Rights (Association zaïroise de défense des droits de l'homme—AZADHO). The Association was created in 1991 and publishes a human rights bulletin as well as an annual report that reviews the human rights situation in the country. Banned by the Kabila regime in February 1998, ASADHO has gone underground, and some of its leaders, including its president, have been forced into exile.

Tchibeya, Floribert

Floribert Tchibeya is the president of Voice of the Voiceless for the Defence of Human Rights (Voix des sans voix pour la défense des droits de l'homme—VSV), a Kinshasa-based human rights organization. Founded in 1983, VSV investigates matters related to human rights and provides legal and medical aid to prisoners.

La Voix du Centre des droits de l'homme et du droit humanitaire (CDH) (Lubumbashi)

This monthly periodical about human rights in Katanga province is published by the Lubumbashi Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, founded in 1993.

REFERENCES

Africa Confidential [London]. 11 September 1998. Vol. 39, No. 18. "Congo-Kinshasa: Holding up the Peace."

Africa Confidential [London]. Vol. 39, No. 17. 28 August 1998. "Congo-Kinshasa: Turning the Tables."

Africa Confidential [London]. 1 November 1996. Vol 37, No. 22. "Great Lakes: Zaïre Starts to Crack."

Africa No. 1 [Libreville, in French]. 8 August 1998. "Congo-Kinshasa: RDCongo Correspondent Reviews War Situation." (FBIS-AFR-98-220 11 Aug. 1998/WNC)

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. 29 August 1998. Vol. 35, No.8. "Democratic Republic of Congo: Kabila has not Delivered."

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. 28 November 1996. Vol. 33, No. 10. "Zaire: Kivu Snaps Under the Strain."

Agence France Presse (AFP). 6 November 1998. "Paul Kagamé reconnaît l'implication des troupes rwandaises en RDC." [Internet] (http://www.yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 6 November 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP). 20 October 1998. François Casteran. "Sommet des alliés de Kabila inquiets face à la prolongation du conflit." [Internet] (http://www.yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 21 October 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP). 18 October 1998. "RDCongo, le sommet est-africain demande une force de maintien de la paix." [Internet] (http://www.yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 19 October 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP).15 October 1998. "La rébellion congolaise plaide sa cause aux États-Unis." [Internet] (http://www.yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 15 October 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP). 14 October 1998. "Présence discrète de soldats rwandais sur le front congolais." [Internet] (http://www.yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 14 October 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP). 8 October 1998. "Dieudonné, 16 ans, soldat rebelle et vétéran." [Internet] (http://www. Yahoo.fr/actualite) [Accessed 8 October 1998].

Agence France Presse (AFP). 7 October 1998. "Le Zimbabwe ne veut pas laisser le marché de la RDC à l'Afrique du sud." [Internet] (http://www.unhcr.org/news/medi/medi.htm) [Accessed 29 September 1998].

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa (IRIN-CEA). 11 November 1998. "Bulletin quotidien no 542 d'information sur l'Afrique Centrale et de l'Est. Congo-Brazzaville: les hommes rwandais quittent les camps en grand nombre." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int) [Accessed 12 November 1998].

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa (IRIN-CEA). 13 October 1998. "Bulletin quotidien no 521 d'information sur l'Afrique Centrale et de l'Est: République démocratique du Congo: Plus d'information sur la mission dans l'est." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int) [Accessed 13 October 1998].

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa (IRIN-CEA). 30 September 1998. "Bulletin quotidien no 512 d'information sur l'Afrique Centrale et de l'Est: Libération de journalistes." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int) [Accessed 30 September 1998].

U.S. Newswire. 7 August 1998. "U.S. Committee for Refugee Statement on Congo/Zaire." (NEXIS)

La Voix du CDH [Lubumbashi]. 27 August 1998. "Briefing sur la situation des droits de l'homme au Katanga."

Xinhua News Agency. 8 October 1998. "Sudan Rapped for Alleged Involvement in Congo Crisis." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int) [Accessed 8 October 1998].

Xinhua News Agency. 24 August 1998. "2 Foreign Journalists Detained in Congo Freed." (NEXIS)

 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: SITUATION OF SELECTED GROUPS

 

GLOSSARY

AFDL     Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo-Zaïre)

ANC       Congolese National Army (Armée nationale congolaise)

AZADHO              Human Rights Association of Congo-Kinshasa (Association de défense des droits de l'homme de Congo-Kinshasa)

CENADHO            National Human Rights Centre (Centre national pour les droits de l'homme)

CODHO Human Rights Observers Committee (Comité des observateurs des droits de l'homme)

CRONGD               Regional Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (Conseil régional des organisations non gouvernementales)

DEMIAP                Military Detention for Unpatriotic Activities (Détention militaire pour des activités anti-patrie)

FAZ        Zairian Armed Forces (Forces armées zaïroises)

FONUS  Innovative Forces for Unity and Solidarity (Forces novatrices pour l'unité et la solidarité)

PALU     Unified Lumumbist Party (Parti lumumbiste unifié)

UDPS     Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social)

VSV        Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme)

MAP

See original

1. INTRODUCTION

This paper is a follow-up to Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo: Chronology of Events, January–July 1997, an August 1997 Research Directorate publication describing the events that brought the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) to power in Zaire (since renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo). While focusing on the new Congolese regime's treatment of human rights activists, political opponents, journalists and former high-ranking officials since mid-July 1997, the paper also examines the situation of other groups such as students, former soldiers, and prominent Kivu personalities, as well as the ongoing interethnic conflicts in North and South Kivu.

2. BACKGROUND

In May 1997, a rebellion that had begun more than seven months earlier ended with the AFDL troops ousting President Mobutu from power (Country Reports 1997 1998, Introduction; The Economist 12 July 1997; UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 11–13). The AFDL appointed its leader, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, to the position of head of state, and renamed the country the "Democratic Republic of Congo" (DRC) (HRW Dec. 1997, 12–13; Country Reports 1997 1998, Introduction). Kabila established a transitional government and scheduled general elections for 1999 (ibid.); non-AFDL members of the government serve on a personal basis, and not as representatives of any party (ibid., section 2b; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 69). In practice, however, they have to align themselves with the AFDL (UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998. para 16.4). All activity on the part of political parties other than the AFDL is prohibited during the transitional period (New African Dec. 1997, 10; The Economist 12 July 1997; Jeune Afrique 16 Dec. 1997–5 Jan. 1998, 43). A commission to draw up a new constitution was created around 22 October 1997 (Le Monde diplomatique Dec. 1997; Africa Research Bulletin 1–31 Oct. 1997, 12859; UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 13), but it excluded non-AFDL members (HRW Dec. 1997, 4). Preparations for the elections are reportedly already well behind schedule (New African Dec. 1997, 10; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 81–84; HRW Dec. 1997, 5). Since the AFDL came to power, the country has been governed by presidential decree (United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 55; Country Reports 1997 1998, Introduction; HRW Dec. 1997, 4).

A presidential decree issued by Kabila on 28 May 1997 stipulates that the state structure consists of the president, the government and the courts and tribunals, but places the authority of the state in the hands of the president (United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 53–54; Country Reports 1997 1998, Introduction; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997b, 2). Info-Congo/Kinshasa emphasizes that the rule of law is still fragile in the DRC and states that it is not clear who really wields power in the country (11 Aug. 1997a, 1). It would appear that the real powers of the state, including judicial powers, are effectively concentrated in the AFDL and President Kabila (United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 57 et 69; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997b, 2; AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998).

The country has seen a number of changes under the new regime, which has undertaken several new projects, stabilized the currency and created a climate where the population no longer lives in fear of looters (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997a, 1; Le Monde diplomatique Dec. 1997; Le Monde 6 Nov. 1997). The security forces have been revamped (Country Reports 1997 1998, Introduction) and some members of the former Zairian Armed Forces (Forces armées zaïroises—FAZ) have been incorporated into the new Congolese Armed Forces after spending time in reeducation camps (AFP 27 July 1997; Le Monde diplomatique Dec. 1997); others, however, have reportedly never returned from these camps (De Financieel-Economische Tijd 19 Nov. 1997; UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 15.5). Misconduct on the part of soldiers is less frequent than it was under the former regime (HRW Dec. 1997, 16; VSV 26 Feb. 1998; AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). However, according to Le Monde, although people are safer than before (Le Monde 6 Nov. 1997), the security forces still do not hesitate to use their arms, even against civilians (Le Monde diplomatique Dec. 1997; AZADHO 25 July 1997; AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998). In fact, some observers believe that a climate of insecurity is starting to take hold of the entire country (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997c; AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 126).

Several sources indicate that a large part of the country is under military rule (The Economist 12 July 1997; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 125c). The authorities have created security services whose operations are sometimes reminiscent of the actions of the former regime (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 14 Nov. 1997a. 2–3; AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998; see also Le Monde diplomatique Dec. 1997). These security services, and particularly the National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale de renseignement—ANR), are feared not only because they arbitrarily arrest people but also because of their brutality (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 14 Nov. 1997a, 2–3; AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998). According to Info-Congo/Kinshasa, the Military Detention for Unpatriotic Activities (Détention militaire pour des activités anti-patrie, or DEMIAP) is scarcely distinguishable from the former Military Intelligence and Action Service (Service d'action et de renseignements militaires, or SARM), having inherited the latter's offices and prisons as well as a number of its agents (14 Nov. 1997a, 2). Human rights organizations indicate that the security services inflict [translation] "inhuman and degrading treatment" and "acts of torture" on detainees (AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998; see also VSV 10 Sept. 1997).

The months following the new regime's takeover saw tensions develop in the army between those who had joined the AFDL at the start of the rebellion (primarily Tutsis) and the soldiers who had joined the AFDL forces later on; the latter group includes Katangan soldiers, ex-FAZ members and new recruits (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997b, 3; IMC Oct. 1997). Rivalry among various factions has sometimes led to fighting (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997c, 2; Africa News 28 Nov. 1997; IMC Oct. 1997). For example, a number of sources believe that such rivalries were behind the November 1997 shooting deaths of soldiers in Kinshasa that occurred after the arrest of the president's special security adviser, General Masasu Nindaga[2]1 (Africa News 28 Nov. 1997; AFP 29 Nov. 1997; AP 29 Nov. 1997). However, according to AFP, authorities claim that armed bandits or quarreling soldiers were responsible for the shootings (29 Nov. 1997). Some AFDL officials are also reportedly engaged in settling scores (VSV 15 Sept. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997c, 2) and summarily execute people; some of the victims are citizens who have committed ordinary crimes, but others are killed for political purposes or for reasons that remain unclear (ibid., 2–3; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 133 et 135; HRW Dec. 1997, 19). In October 1997, Info-Congo/Kinshasa reported that not a night passed without some people being killed by soldiers (17 Oct. 1997b, 4). Nevertheless, Country Reports 1997 states that this kind of killing is less frequent than it was during Mobutu's reign, especially in Kinshasa (1998, section 1a; see also AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). According to AFP, Kabila has stated his intention of cracking down on undisciplined army elements (3 Dec. 1997c), and strong measures have reportedly already been implemented (HRW Dec. 1997, 17), including the disarming of soldiers in the country's major towns and cities (VSV 26 Feb. 1998).

The new regime has created a military court (Cour d'ordre militaire) that is mandated to hear not only cases involving security force members but also crimes involving the use of a weapon (AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998c; La Tempête des tropiques 27 Jan. 1998); the military court has reportedly already ordered at least 21 civilians executed for such crimes (AP 28 Jan. 1998; AZADHO 1998a; AFP 27 Jan. 1998a). In practice, the military court is known to overstep its mandate by also trying the cases of political opponents charged with endangering the security of the state (AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998c; Le Soir 6 Feb. 1998; La Tempête des tropiques 27 Jan. 1998).

3. TREATMENT OF SELECTED GROUPS BY THE AUTHORITIES

According to Human Rights Watch, people whose fundamental rights have been infringed upon or whose activism makes them a target of threats such as those described in this paper cannot expect to obtain the protection of the state through the courts, given the lack of independence of the justice system (Dec. 1997, 19). The Human Rights Association of Congo-Kinshasa (AZADHO) and Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (VSV) report that although these people can freely move about the country and settle elsewhere, they cannot resume their activist work without once again placing themselves at risk (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998; VSV 26 Feb. 1998). Human Rights Watch reports that the authorities have placed serious restrictions on the freedom of movement of personalities in the political and human rights arenas (Dec. 1997, 36).

3.1 Civil and Military Officials of the Mobutu Regime

After taking over power, the new Congolese authorities arrested officials of the former regime accused of embezzlement; however the arrests were characterized by irregularities (AFP 4 July 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997c, 3; La Presse 28 Aug. 1997, B3). The appropriate legal procedures were not applied (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997c, 3): the arrests were carried out without warrant and those arrested were not brought before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest (HRW Dec. 1997, 18). AFDL soldiers reportedly confiscated cars, houses and other belongings of the arrested officials and illegally kept them for their personal use or distributed them to AFDL officials (AFP 4 July 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997a, 1; ibid. 1997c, 3; Jeune Afrique 9–15 Dec. 1997, 8). The government has criticized AFDL soldiers for their [translation] "‘anarchic' confiscation of former officials' belongings," and has ordered all confiscations to be carried out in compliance with proper legal procedures (AFP 23 July 1997; Africa Confidential 1 Aug. 1997, 6); five dishonest inspectors have been sanctioned (Jeune Afrique 9–15 Dec. 1997, 8). However, according to AZADHO, the authorities are showing too much leniency by refusing to prosecute those responsible for such abuses (28 Jan. 1998; AFP 16 Nov. 1997).

The officials of the former regime that were arrested include a former Zairian national bank governor, his deputy, ex-FAZ generals, the secretary general of the Popular Movement for the Revolution (Mouvement populaire de la révolution, or MPR, the only party that existed under Mobutu's regime), a former CEO of a water distribution company and a number of former ministers (AFP 4 July 1997; Jeune Afrique 9–15 Dec. 1997, 7). Altogether, about 40 former officials were arrested (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1; AFP 19 Feb. 1998; Jeune Afrique 9–15 Dec. 1997, 8). A United Nations report states that these arrests were discriminatory in the sense that former officials from Kabila's Shaba region were not arrested (28 Aug. 1997; also AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). An AZADHO spokesperson said that only one former official from Shaba had been arrested, while another, a former governor of Zaire's Central Bank, had turned himself in to the authorities at Kabila's request (ibid.).

Several human rights organizations condemned what they considered to be the appalling conditions in which the former officials were being detained, and particularly criticized the lack of beds and sanitary facilities (La Presse 28 Aug. 1997, B3; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1). In late January 1998, it was reported that three former officials—Air Zaire CEO Kikunda Ombala, the REGIDESCO water distribution corporation CEO Tshiongo Tshibinkubula wa Tumba, and former Central Bank governor Patrice Djamboleka—had been released provisionally after paying a fine (AFP 27 Jan. 1998b; AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998). Shortly after, 26 other officials were also released provisionally after paying a sum of money equal in value to the property they had allegedly misappropriated under the previous regime (AFP 19 Feb. 1998; AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). The BBC reports the Congolese authorities as saying that 16 former officials had been released provisionally (19 Feb. 1998). Fifteen of those freed are reportedly under house arrest (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). An AZADHO representative states that the payment of money by the prisoners for their release was not bail, but rather the result of an agreement between the officials and Kabila whereby all legal proceedings against the accused would be dropped (ibid.). About half a dozen former officials are still behind bars (ibid.). Only Kikunda Ombala was scheduled for trial, but the hearings were suspended until March 1998 (AFP 19 Feb. 1998; BBC 19 Feb. 1998) and may well not resume at all due to lack of evidence (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998).

The Kinshasa press has reportedly published articles on ex-FAZ soldiers' complaints of ill-treatment by AFDL soldiers (AFP 27 July 1997). AFP has reported that according to information obtained by AZADHO, seven soldiers of the former regime were arrested by members of the new Congolese army in October 1997 and held in detention without being informed of the reasons for their arrest (3 Nov. 1997). AZADHO adds that 223 other soldiers were [translation] "‘being held in the Makala penitentiary and reeducation centre'" (AFP 3 Nov. 1997). Ex-FAZ soldiers are reportedly subjected to ill-treatment both in detention facilities (AP 2 Jan. 1998) and in the Kitona reeducation camp (AFP 3 Nov. 1997; Le Soir 6 Feb. 1998; De Financieel-Economische Tijd 19 Nov. 1997a). Of the 37,000 soldiers sent to the camp (ibid.), at least 4,000 soldiers reportedly died there (ibid.; Africa Analysis 28 Nov. 1997), while 7,000 others ran away (De Financieel-Economische Tijd 19 Nov. 1997a). Some have joined resistance movements (ibid.; Africa Confidential 20 Feb. 1998, 5) while others live secretly with their parents, as they are considered to be deserters and could be executed (De Financieel-Economische Tijd 19 Nov. 1997a).

According to AZADHO and UNHCR, people belonging to Mobutu's Ngbandi ethnic group as well as those from Équateur are not systematically harassed by the Congolese authorities unless they had close ties to Mobutu or played a prominent role in the former regime (e.g., as a member of the government, a senior officer of a state corporation or a senior civil servant) (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998; UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 16.1).

3.2 Human Rights Activists

Several sources report that the new Congolese regime has little tolerance for human rights activists (UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 17; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997a, 1; Le Devoir 2 Sept. 1997, A5; AFP 15 Nov. 1997). The authorities reportedly try to denigrate human rights organizations (AFP 3 Dec. 1997a; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 31) in addition to criticizing individual activists (AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998). Those who are the most active or who criticize the government may be summoned for interrogation, may receive a visit from the security services or be arrested, as the following examples illustrate (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; VSV 26 Feb. 1998).

AZADHO has been in the AFDL's "bad books" ever since it accused the AFDL of committing massive human rights violations during the rebellion (AZADHO 22 Jan. 1998; FIDH 3–10 July 1997, 15). The more active members of AZADHO have encountered obstacles to their activities such as interrogations by the security services (AZADHO 22 Jan. 1998; FIDH 3–10 July 1997; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 31; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 186). Faced with serious death threats, some AZADHO leaders such as Guillaume Ngefa, José Ndjemoti and Benjamin Lukamba were forced into exile abroad (FIDH 3–10 July 1997, 16; AZADHO 22 Jan. 1998; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 186).

A number of human rights activists were arrested in the eastern part of the country in August and September 1997; two of them, members of the local organization representing the Regional Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (Conseil régional des organisations non gouvernementales, or CRONGD) in Maniema province, were reportedly tortured (Le Devoir 2 Sept. 1997; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 31; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 144). According to AZADHO, the situation of AZADHO, CRONGD and Haki Za Binadamu[3]2 activists in Maniema province was becoming more and more disturbing due to the "systematic repression" that they faced (United Nations 28 Aug. 1997; FIDH/OMCT 28 Aug. 1997; see also Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997b, 2). The regime was apparently trying to intimidate local authorities and prevent them from providing any information to the UN mission charged with investigating the massacres in the eastern part of the country[4]3 (Le Devoir 2 Sept. 1997, A5; AFP 3 Sept. 1997). AZADHO was forced to shut down its Maniema office (AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998).

Early in November 1997, soldiers entered the Kinshasa offices of VSV without a warrant and evicted the occupants (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 14 Nov. 1997c, 5; AFP 15 Nov. 1997). Info-Congo/Kinshasa explains that an individual with close ties to the regime had asked the soldiers to clear the building even though the court case concerning the ownership of the building had not yet been resolved (14 Nov. 1997c, 5).

On 21 November 1997, men [translation] "claiming to belong to the ‘Presidential Security Service' systematically searched the offices" of the Human Rights Observers Committee (Comité des observateurs des droits de l'homme, or CODHO), and forced its president, N'sii Luanda Shandwe, to take flight and remain underground (FIDH 13 Nov.–4 Dec. 1997, 50; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 4; AI 27 Nov. 1997).

Two days later, the secretary general of the National Human Rights Centre (Centre national pour les droits de l'homme, or CENADHO), Roger Sala Nzo Badila, was arrested at his Kinshasa residence where security service inspectors, accompanied by soldiers, confiscated various documents in the course of an exhaustive search (ibid.; FIDH 13 Nov.- 4 Dec. 1997, 49; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3–4; IPS 10 Dec. 1997). His arrest is reportedly linked to the publication of a document dealing with human rights in the DRC since the AFDL takeover (ibid.; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d; AI 27 Nov. 1997; AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998). The authorities accused him of treason and undermining state security; documents confiscated at his office had shown that CENADHO was receiving financial aid from a Dutch organization (ibid.). The security forces had apparently threatened and detained Roger Sala on other occasions as well (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3–4; AI 27 Nov. 1997), forcing him to go underground for several weeks (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 4; FIDH 13 Nov.–4 Dec. 1997, 49). In early 1998, he was still awaiting his trial (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; ibid. 26 Jan. 1998; AI 6 Jan. 1998; HRW 18 Feb. 1998). Sala and CENADHO president Nyabirungu Mwene Songa were both released provisionally in mid-February (HRW 18 Feb. 1998; AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; VSV 26 Feb. 1998).

On 13 March 1998, members of the ANR, acting on orders from the Congolese authorities, raided the Kinhasa printing house Kin Press and confiscated more than 1,600 copies of the 1997 AZADHO annual report, along with a number of printing plates (VSV 14 Mar. 1998; Reuters n.d.).

During the night of 20 March 1998, VSV president Floribert Chebeya was attacked at his residence by a [translation] "group of four soldiers and a civilian" who threatened to kill him (AZADHO 27 Mar. 1998; FIDH/OMCT 27 Mar. 1998; Libération 1 Apr. 1998, 10).

On 3 April 1998, Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo accused AZADHO of waging [translation] "political campaigns" and stated that the government was officially disbanding the organization, which is henceforth [translation] "completely banned throughout the country" (AFP 3 Apr. 1998; Le Soir 6 Apr. 1998; AZADHO 6 Apr. 1998). The minister added that all human rights organizations in the DRC had to register with the Congolese authorities within three days or face the same consequences that had befallen AZADHO (AFP 3 Apr. 1998; Le Soir 6 Apr. 1998).

3.3 Political Opponents

After Kabila came to power, all non-AFDL demonstrations were banned (The Economist 12 July 1997; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 2b). The authorities have warned the public that those who violate this ban would be [translation] "‘severely punished'" (VSV 26 Feb. 1998; AFP 13 Feb. 1998c). The security forces have not hesitated to use force to enforce the ban and disperse all unauthorized gatherings (The Economist 12 July 1997; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 2b; Libération 12 Aug. 1997, 6). According to Country Reports, the security forces' violent interventions are due more to their inexperience in dealing with demonstrations than to any deliberate policy dictated by the authorities (1998, section 2b). Country Reports adds that nothing has so far prevented opposition party leaders from "conduct[ing] small, private meetings" (ibid.), although other sources have reported on the disruption of a 25 November 1997 meeting at the home of the Forces of the Future (Forces du futur) president (The New York Times 8 Dec. 1997; AFP 25 Nov. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3). According to Human Rights Watch, political groups such as the Patriotic Front (Front patriotique), the Social Christian Democratic Party (Parti démocrate social chrétien) and the Union of Independent Federalists and Republicans (Union des fédéralistes et des républicains indépendants, or UFERI) that have not openly criticized the AFDL have not been harassed by the authorities (HRW Dec. 97, 22).

On 25 July 1997, security forces forcibly dispersed a peaceful demonstration by the Unified Lumumbist Party (Parti lumumbiste unifié, or PALU) and several activists belonging to the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social, or UDPS) (AFP 27 July 1997; AFP 28 July 1997; Africa Confidential 1 Aug. 1997, 5; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 26). Sources differ as to the result of this intervention. Le Devoir cites a preliminary report provided by PALU that mentions [translation] "‘one person dead, 10 people shot and wounded, 123 people wounded by various means, and 54 people detained'" (29 July 1997). AZADHO reports four deaths, four people seriously injured and several arrests (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997c, 3; AZADHO 26 July 1997). Amnesty International reports one death, six people seriously injured and about 130 arrests (3 Dec. 1997, 26). The Congolese authorities have denied that there were any deaths at all (Le Devoir 29 July 1997, A5; Africa Confidential 1 Aug. 1997, 5-6). According to two sources, several demonstrators were beaten in detention; some were detained for only a few hours, while others were held for several days (Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 26). Following the demonstration, President Kabila issued a reminder about the ban on political party activities and stated that he would tolerate no disruptive activities by political opponents; he added that those who attempted to defy the ban would be held responsible for the consequences (AFP 27 July 1997; AFP 28 July 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997c, 3).

The security forces have also prevented other demonstrations from being held (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1; Business Day 19 Jan. 1998), and a demonstration that did take place on 15 August 1997 in Kinshasa resulted in about 50 young UDPS activists being arrested; the demonstrators were marking the anniversary of UDPS chief Étienne Tshisekedi's election to the post of prime minister by the Sovereign National Conference (Conférence nationale souveraine) (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1; Le Soir 16 Sept. 1997; AFP 28 Sept. 1997). Two of those arrested had to be taken to a medical facility while in detention (Le Soir 16 Sept. 1997; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 28). The other activists were held in detention until 14 October 1997 without any charges being brought against them; during that time they were reportedly beaten and tortured (ibid.; VSV 22 Oct. 1997; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d; HRW Dec. 97, 34–35).

The president of Innovative Forces for Unity and Solidarity (Forces novatrices pour l'unité et la solidarité, or FONUS), Joseph Olenghankoy, was taken into custody by armed elements of the AFDL on 8 September 1997 and held for 24 hours, during which time he was interrogated at length (AFP 9 Sept. 1997a; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 30; see also Jeune Afrique 16 Dec. 1997–5 Jan. 1998, 43). The authorities accused him of seeking to destabilize the country by making statements that were actually calls for a strike (VSV 15 Sept. 1997; AFP 9 Sept. 1997a). Olenghankoy was arrested again on 10 October  1997 and released without explanation a day later; while he was in custody, the security forces confiscated the contents of his residence (AFP 11 Oct. 1997; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 29–30). The authorities claimed to have found weapons of war in his house and, after releasing him, accused him of having recruited 40,000 youths in order to provide them with military training (AFP 17 Oct. 1997; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 30; Africa Research Bulletin 1–31 Oct. 1997, 8). Olenghankoy lodged a complaint against the minister and deputy minister of Internal Affairs to protest against his arrest, the injuries that he had suffered and the confiscation of his belongings (AFP 17 Oct. 1997; HRW Dec. 1997, 26). He was arrested once again around 20 January 1998  (AFP 20 Jan. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a; JIGL 29 Jan. 1998) and transferred some 10 days later to Lubumbashi, where government leaders were meeting (Le Soir 3 Feb. 1998; VSV 31 Jan. 98; Africa Analysis 6 Feb. 1998, 2). As of late February 1998, he was still in custody, charged with [translation] "undermining state security" (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998).

UDPS national secretary Mathieu Kalele, considered by the authorities to be a traitor to the nation because of his articles denouncing the dubious practices of certain leaders, was arrested by the DEMIAP on 24 October 1997 and charged with [translation] "undermining state security," he was reportedly detained in appalling conditions (AFP 23 Jan. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 14 Nov. 1997a, 2; AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998; RFI 25 Jan. 1998). A military court sentenced Kalele and fellow UDPS member Jean-François Kabanda to two years in prison for [translation] "‘spreading false rumours'" (AZADHO 26 Jan. 1998; AFP 23 Jan. 1998; RFI 25 Jan. 1998; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998c).

Another UDPS activist was arrested on 22 November 1997 by police sent to prevent a public meeting of the radical opposition from taking place (AFP 22 Nov. 1997; Africa No. 1 23 Nov. 1997). The sources consulted by the Research Directorate provide no additional information on the status of the activist.

On 25 November 1997, police arrested Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma, president of the Forces of the Future (Forces du futur) political movement, along with the other activists and journalists attending a meeting at his home; they were all taken to a prison and whipped (The New York Times 8 Dec. 1997; AFP 25 Nov. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3). The journalists and most of the activists were reportedly released the same evening or within a few days (The New York Times 8 Dec. 1997; AFP 25 Nov. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3; IPS 10 Dec. 1997; HRW Dec. 1997, 27). Ngoma himself remained behind bars in disturbing conditions (The New York Times 8 Dec. 1997; RFI 2 Dec. 1997). He was transferred to Lubumbashi in late January or early February 1998 along with Joseph Olenghankoy (Le Soir 3 Feb. 1998; VSV 31 Jan. 1998; HRW 18 Feb. 1998; Africa Analysis 6 Feb. 1998, 2; AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998). Like the FONUS leader, Ngoma is charged with undermining state security (ibid.).

On 17 January 1998, the security forces broke up a UDPS gathering (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a; AZADHO 26 Jan. 1998; AFP 17 Jan. 1998; see also Business Day 19 Jan. 1998). According to AZADHO, about 15 activists arrested during that operation were reportedly tortured with electric truncheons (AZADHO 26 Jan. 1998). Business Day however mentions the arrests of only four activists (19 Jan. 1998). An AZADHO representative stated on 27 February 1998 that all the activists had been released.

Athanase Oyumbu and Paul Kasongo, two FONUS officials, were arrested in late January 1998 in front of the UDPS secretary general's residence (AZADHO Jan. 1998b; see also VSV 15 Feb. 1998); they were accused of undermining state security (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998). According to AZADHO, both were released but Oyumbu was later arrested once again (ibid.).

The most prominent opposition politician, UDPS head Étienne Tshisekedi, was arrested at his residence on 12 February 1998 (AFP 13 Feb. 1998a; PANA 13 Feb. 1998; VSV 15 Feb. 1998). The UDPS had planned to celebrate its 16th anniversary on the weekend of 14 February 1998 (AFP 13 Feb. 1998a; PANA 13 Feb. 1998). The authorities announced that they had exiled Tshisekedi to Kasai, his native region, for having defied the ban on political party activities and in order [translation] "‘to put an end to his irresponsible and dangerous intrigues'" (Libération 14–15 Feb. 1998; see also AP 13 Feb. 1998). He is reportedly still there (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; Le Soir 2 Apr. 1998; Libération 1 Apr. 1998, 10).

VSV reports that in a police raid on UDPS headquarters on 13 March 1998, five party members who worked for UDPS secretary general Adrien Phongo were manhandled and taken away to an unknown destination. In addition, the premises were searched and a number of items were confiscated (14 March 1998).

3.4 Journalists

Since the AFDL takeover in May 1997, there have been reports of journalists being arrested as well as numerous cases of attacks against the press by the Congolese authorities (AFP 3 Dec. 1997a; Le Soir 16 Sept. 1997; VSV 26 Feb. 1998). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated that only journalists involved in political or human rights activities are harassed by the new regime (UNHCR 5 Jan. 1998, para. 17). In January 1998, the Information Minister warned the press that the authorities would not hesitate to crack down on those responsible for [translation] "‘insults, slanderous reports, and even the dissemination of false and seditious information'" (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a; VSV 26 Feb. 1998). In the preceding months, as detailed in the following examples, the authorities had arrested several journalists for having published allegedly false news (ibid.; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a).

In late July, the Congolese authorities arrested the editor of the newspaper La Référence Plus, André Ipakala, and interrogated him about an article on dissension within AFDL ranks; Ipakala was released the next day (AFP 18 July 1997; La Lettre de Reporters sans frontières 6 Oct. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997c, 3; HRW Dec. 1997, 38–39).

On 28 July 1997 or thereabouts, a short time after the publication of a report that the Finance Minister had been placed under house arrest for embezzlement, Ali Kalonga, the director of the Congolese Press Agency, was arrested by police (AFP 3 Aug. 1997; La Lettre de Reporters sans frontières 6 Oct. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997e, 5). The Congolese government claimed that the information in the report was incorrect (AFP 3 Aug. 1997; Africa Confidential 1 Aug. 1997). Kalonga was released two weeks later (AFP 12 Aug. 1997; La Lettre de Reporters sans frontières 6 Oct. 1997; RFI 13 Aug. 1997).

On 8 September 1997, the editor of the daily newspaper Le Phare, Polydor Muboyayi, was arrested following the publication of a report that President Kabila was planning to create his own presidential guard (AFP 9 Sept. 1997b; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997a, 1; Le Soir 16 Sept. 1997; La Lettre de Reporters sans frontières 6 Oct. 1997). The arrest was reportedly marked by serious irregularities: contrary to the law on the press, the authorities did not avail themselves of the opportunity they had to publish a rebuttal and they arrested the editor of the paper even though they knew the identity of the article's author (AFP 9 Sept. 1997b; AZADHO 12 Sept. 1997). Responding to a call by a journalists' union to stage a protest against this attack on the press, the Kinshasa press published no newspapers on 18 September 1997  (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 17 Oct. 1997a, 3; AFP 18 Sept. 1997a; HRW Dec. 1997, 39). After spending more than two months in detention, Muboyayi was released in late November 1997, on the orders of President Kabila (ibid.; AFP 18 Nov. 1997; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 2a; Africa News 2 Dec. 1997).

Michel Luya, the editor of Le Palmarès newspaper, was arrested by the authorities on 28 September 1997 for [translation] "‘purposes of investigation'" and released on 3 October 1997 (AFP 3 Oct. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 17 Oct. 1997a, 3; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 2a). Luya was not informed of the reason for his arrest (ibid.; AFP 3 Oct. 1997).

The managing editor of the Congolese newspapers Mambenga, Essor Africain and L'Alarme, Bonsange Yema, was arrested on 18 November 1997 on accusations of having provided information to the UN investigative mission (AFP 24 Nov. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 3; HRW Dec. 1997, 39). The Kinshasa newspaper Le Phare reported his release on 27 November 1997 (AFP 27 Nov. 1997; HRW Dec. 1997, 39). He was reportedly arrested again around 7 February 1998 following the publication of a press release calling for FONUS president Joseph Olenghankoy to be freed (IFEX 12 Feb. 1998; AFP 9 Feb. 1998). The authorities also arrested eight members of Yema's family (ibid.), but released them a short while later (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998).

About 10 journalists were taken into custody on 25 November 1997 in a bar near the residence of Forces of the Future president Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma, who had just been arrested (see Section 3.3 above); they were taken to a police station and whipped before being released (AFP 25 Nov. 1997; RFI 26 Nov. 1997a; Africa News 2 Dec. 1997).

AFP reports that on 30 November 1997 the security services confiscated a thousand copies of the international edition of the newspaper Le Soft, edited by Kinkiey Mulumba, a former Information Minister under the Mobutu regime (AFP 4 Dec. 1997; AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998). The confiscated edition contained an article stating that Kabila would not be able to convince friends of the DRC to inject funds into the country (AFP 4 Dec. 1997). AZADHO considers this to be an isolated incident (27 Feb. 1998). However, AFP reports that Le Soft has been the target of two other similar incidents (24 Feb. 1998).

The offices of the daily newspaper Elima were completely ransacked on 22 December 1997 after having been occupied by soldiers for two months; no explanation was given by the soldiers for this action (AFP 27 Dec. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a; IFEX 29 Dec. 1997).

Pontien Tshisungu, a journalist with the state radio and television corporation, has been in detention since his arrest in December 1997 following the broadcast of a report that there had been an unsuccessful attack against the Interior Minister during his visit to North Kivu (IFEX 23 Dec. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 26 Jan. 1998a; AFP 22 Dec. 1997). The minister denied the report (AFP 22 Dec. 1997). AZADHO did not have any recent information concerning the journalist's fate (27 Feb. 1998).

The editor of the newspaper Le Potentiel, Modeste Lutinga, was arrested by the authorities on 25 February 1998, a few days after the publication of an article claiming that some of Kabila's close associates from his home province of Kasai were concerned by the government's decision to exile Tshisekedi to his native region (AFP 26 Feb. 1998; United Nations 26 Feb. 1998). Lutinga was released on 28 February 1998 (AFP 1 Mar. 1998; United Nations 2 Mar. 1998).

3.5 Other Groups

A member of the clergy was placed under strict surveillance by the security forces (AZADHO 28 Jan. 1998). The clergyman, Protestant pastor Théodore Ngoy, was arrested in early December 1997 for comparing the current authorities' actions to those of the Mobutu regime (AFP 9 Dec. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997b, 4; AZADHO 19 Jan. 1998; Africa News 15 Dec. 1997). As of late February 1998, he was still behind bars but had not been charged (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; see also Country Reports 1997 1998, section 2c).

In another incident, 200–400 Katangan soldiers were imprisoned; sources consulted offer differing explanations of this action (PANA 18 Nov. 1997; New African Dec. 1997; De Financieel-Economische Tijd 19 Nov. 1997b). According to PANA, the soldiers were jailed because they had demanded autonomy for Katanga (18 Nov. 1997), but De Financieel–Economische Tijd states that they were just asking to be paid their wages (19 Nov. 1997b). New African suggests that the arrests were triggered by the fact that the Katangan chief of staff, General Mulanda, had prevented Rwandan soldiers from killing fleeing Hutu refugees (Dec. 1997). General Mulanda was arrested in May 1997 and taken to a prison in Lubumbashi (PANA 18 Nov. 1997; La Libre Belgique 27 Sept. 1997; New African Dec. 1997). They were all reportedly released in September 1997 (Africa Confidential 20 Feb. 1998, 5; AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998).

According to Amnesty International, students suspected of being ardent supporters of the opposition are at risk of being arrested and ill-treated (AI 3 Dec. 1997, 29). AZADHO and VSV representatives add that students no longer organize activities or at least do so discreetly since learning that some fellow students were reporting on them to the authorities (AZADHO 26 Feb. 1998; VSV 26 Feb. 1998).

AFP reports that AZADHO has learned of several cases where students were shot dead by soldiers (AFP 26 Sept. 1997). A few days after a student at the Institut pédagogique national (the national teachers' college) was killed on 26 August 1997, [translation] "about 20 students on an outing [...] drowned in a swimming pool when they were thrown into a panic by AFDL soldiers firing shots in the air"; the exact circumstances surrounding this incident have not been established (ibid.; also Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997c, 3; PANA 2 Sept. 1997).

About 10 Lubumbashi University students were arrested for organizing demonstrations on 11 and 12 August 1997 to protest against the killing of a fellow student by soldiers; they were held in detention without due process being followed (AFP 18 Sept. 1997b; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d). They were released in mid-October 1997 (Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d; VSV 26 Feb. 1998; HRW Dec. 1997, 32).

One of the Health Minister's guards was sentenced to death by a military court on 25 September 1997 for shooting and killing two students taking part in a meeting at a college located near the minister's residence (AFP 25 Sept. 1997; AFP 26 Sept. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 17 Oct. 1997b; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 32). Amnesty International has expressed concern at the undue haste with which the case was handled by the military court (ibid.).

In late January 1998, the Congolese authorities arrested several prominent personalities in South Kivu, including several customary chiefs and academics accused of supporting the Mai-Mai warriors; these people, who were arrested in Bukavu, were then transferred to a detention centre in Kinshasa (Le Soir 2 Feb. 1998; AZADHO 1998b; RFI 31 Jan. 1998; La Tempête des tropiques 5 Feb. 1998).

Congolese who fled Zaire during the AFDL-led rebellion have reportedly experienced no difficulties in returning to their homes when they came back to the country; this is true in particular of the Conglolese who had found refuge in Brazzaville or Tanzania (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998; AFP 13 Feb. 1998b; Africa News 22 Dec. 1997). However, according to AZADHO, those who publicly criticize the current regime while they are abroad cannot return to the country without running the risk of being arrested (AZADHO 27 Feb. 1998).

4. SITUATION IN THE EASTERN PART OF THE COUNTRY

AFP reports that Lawyers Without Borders has expressed its concern over the deterioration of the human rights situation in the eastern part of the country since the creation of the UN investigative commission; it is particularly worried by "‘the situation of human rights activists, aid workers and journalists in the east of the country'" (24 Nov. 1997). The organization called for an end to "the totalitarian drift in political, administrative officials" in the eastern part of the country (ibid.).

The eastern part of the country continues to be subject to the ethnic tensions that have been a fixture in the region for the past several years (The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997; HRW/FIDH Oct. 1997, 32; AZADHO 4 Sept. 1997). Violence reportedly flared up anew in July 1997 in North and South Kivu when the new regime appointed Tutsis to the top posts in the local administration (AFP 5 Sept. 1997; Courrier international 11–17 Sept. 1997; AZADHO 4 Sept. 1997). Although Tutsis are a minority within the AFDL, many of them played leading roles in the struggle to topple Mobutu and, after the AFDL's victory, they were rewarded with appointments to high-ranking positions, a fact that aroused the envy and resentment of the other ethnic groups (The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 3–4). Tutsi families who had fled the country during the war received a frosty reception when they returned after Kabila's victory and tried to retake possession of their land and belongings (The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997; HRW/FIDH Oct. 1997, 32–33; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 87).

North Kivu (especially the Masisi region) was the scene of an armed conflict between AFDL forces and a group of rebels consisting of former FAZ soldiers, former Rwandan Armed Forces (Forces armées rwandaises, or FAR) soldiers, Interahamwes[5]4 and Mai-Mai warriors (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 11 Aug. 1997d, 4; Courrier international 11–17 Sept. 1997; La Presse 16 Sept. 1997; United Nations 17 Oct. 1997, para. 87). In particular, in July 1997, Rwandan soldiers who had been lent to Kabila's forces set fire to some fifty villages in Masisi, ransacked houses and killed more than 2,000 civilian inhabitants in order to avenge the killing of 162 AFDL soldiers by Mai-Mai warriors (AFP 5 Sept. 1997; AZADHO 4 Sept. 1997; Courrier international 11–17 Sept. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 4; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 17). The Mai-Mai warriors had themselves been avenging the insult suffered by a customary chief in South Kivu when he and his assistants had been forced by AFDL Tutsi soldiers to carry their baggage (AFP 5 Sept. 1997; AZADHO 4 Sept.1997; Courrier international 11–17 Sept. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d). It was in Masisi that the violence against the Mai-Mai warriors was the most devastating (The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 4; AZADHO Nov. 1997, 8).

In early August 1997 AFDL troops killed 800 people when they attacked four villages to the south of Fizi where they thought a group of rebels were hiding (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 3; New African Dec. 1997, 13; AI 3 Dec. 1997, 17). The rebel group in question, called the Alliance for Democratic Resistance (Alliance pour la résistance démocratique), is made up of ex-FAR soldiers, militias of the Babembe, Bafulero and Bavira ethnic groups, and members of the Front for the Defence of Democracy (Front pour la défense de la démocratie, or FDD, made up of elements of the Burundi rebellion); it reportedly wants to destabilize South Kivu translation] "by targeting in particular the ‘Tutsi' authorities and the Banyamulenge population" (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 3)[6]5.

In September 1997, a hundred or so Mai-Mai warriors (600 according to AZADHO) who had gone to the Kinyogute military camp in North Kivu to surrender their arms and enrol in the National Congolese Army (Armée nationale congolaise, or ANC) were reportedly executed by Congolese and Rwandan soldiers (AFP 19 Sept. 1997; RFI 20 Sept. 1997; AZADHO Nov. 1997, 5). According to AZADHO, there were 17 survivors (ibid.). AFP reports that the local authorities denied these allegations and stated that there had been no massacre (19 Sept. 1997).

In the hope of finding a definitive solution to interethnic rivalries, the authorities set up a [translation] "pacification commission" on 10 September 1997 (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d; The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997). However, according to one source, Kabila seems to want to play down the extent of the conflict (ibid.) by blaming it on the Interahamwes and suggesting that the Mai-Mai are nothing more than bandits (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997d, 4).

In Goma and further to the south, clashes between the Mai-Mai warriors and AFDL troops continued into October 1997 (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 17 Oct. 1997c). Hostilities also continued in South Kivu (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 14 Nov. 1997b; see also AFP 11 Dec. 1997). According to an AZADHO report, the situation in Masisi continued to be troubled due to the activities of the Congolese and Rwandan armies and the Mai-Mai warriors (Nov. 1997, 2). A relief worker told AFP in January 1998 that both North Kivu and South Kivu were [translation] "‘zones of instability'" and that relief organizations could no longer continue to operate there (AFP 24 Jan. 1998a). AZADHO reports that in the locality of Mutembo, situated on the northern edge of North Kivu, soldiers killed about a hundred civilians during the night of 18 February 1998 in revenge for an earlier rebel attack (26 Feb. 1998).

NOTES ON SELECTED SOURCES

AZADHO

The Human Rights Association of Congo-Kinshasa (Association de défense des droits de l'homme de Congo-Kinshasa, or AZADHO) was founded in 1991. AZADHO is a member of a network of 250 NGOs and has regional offices in addition to its head office in Kinshasa. Since the AFDL takeover, death threats have forced AZADHO president Guillaume Ngefa and other AZADHO leaders to go into exile. AZADHO regularly issues press releases to express its concern about the situation of various individuals and groups. It also publishes an annual report on the human rights situation in the DRC.

Info-Congo/Kinshasa (Montreal)

Formerly known as Info-Zaïre, Info-Congo/Kinshasa is published by the Montreal-based Round Table on Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Table de concertation sur les droits humains en République démocratique du Congo). It was founded in February 1992 by Denis Tougas, its current editor. Info-Congo/Kinshasa is published monthly and distributed to about 300 groups and individuals in North America and Europe who are interested in the political, economic and human rights situation in the DRC.

Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme (VSV)

This organization, whose name means "Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights," was founded in 1983 by students and other young intellectuals in order as an instrument in the fight against the Mobutu regime. VSV is a non-governmental organization that publicizes and defends human rights and assists those whose human rights have been violated. The organization has bureaus in various regions, including North Kivu, South Kivu, Upper Zaire and Kinshasa. Its president is Floribert Chebeya. VSV regularly issues press releases condemning human rights violations in the DRC and also publishes reports on the human rights situation in that country.

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La Libre Belgique [Brussels]. 27 September 1997. "Katanga Tigers Leader Urges More Power-Sharing by Kabila Government." (BBC Summary 1 Oct. 1997/NEXIS)

Le Monde [Paris]. 14 February 1998. "Polémique autour de l'enquête sur les massacres dans l'ex-Zaïre." (NEXIS)

Le Monde [Paris]. 6 November 1997. Frédéric Fritscher. "Les Kinois font un bilan sévère des six mois de pouvoir de M. Kabila; ils dénoncent une dictature au nouveau Congo." (NEXIS)

Le Monde diplomatique [Paris]. December 1997. "Gouvernement à vue au Congo-Kinshasa." [Internet] (http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/) [Consulted 11 Feb. 1998]

New African [London]. December 1997. François Misser, Alan Rake. "The Congo Falls Apart."

The New York Times. 8 December 1997. Howard W. French. "Congo's Opposition Pays Price of Defying Kabila."

Panafrican News Agency (PANA). 13 February 1998. "Opposition Leader Tshisekedi Arrested in Kinshasa." [Internet] (http://www.nando.net/) [Consulted 13 Feb. 1998]

Panafrican News Agency (PANA). 18 November 1997. "Katanga Rebels Vow Armed Struggle Against Kabila." (BBC Summary 21 Nov. 1997/NEXIS)

Panafrican News Agency (PANA). 2 September 1997. "About Fifty Drowned in N'Sele Pool." [Internet] (http://www.nando.net/) [Consulted 20 Jan. 1998]

La Presse [Montreal]. 16 September 1997. Jooneed Khan. "L'Est s'embrase à nouveau."

La Presse [Montreal]. 28 August 1997. "RDC: des défenseurs des droits de l'homme s'inquiètent des 'dignitaires' de l'ancien régime."

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 31 January 1998. "Bukavu University Rectors, Traditional Leaders Said Arrested." (BBC Summary 3 Feb. 1998/NEXIS)

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 25 January 1998. "UDPS Official Denounces Sentencing of Opposition Activist Prof Kalele." (BBC Summary 27 Jan. 1998/NEXIS)

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 2 December 1997. "DRCongo; Ngoma's Detention Conditions Cause Concern." (FBIS-AFR-97-336 2 Dec. 1997) [Internet] (http://wnc.fedworld.gov/cgi-bin/retrieve) [Consulted 11 February 1998]

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 26 November 1997a. "Congo-Kinshasa; Opposition Leader, Journalists Arrested." (FBIS-AFR-97-334 30 Nov. 1997) [Internet] (http://wnc.fedworld.gov/cgi-bin/retrieve) [Consulted 2 February 1998]

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 26 November 1997b. "Kabila Aide Major Masasu Nindaga Reportedly Arrested." (BBC Summary 28 Nov. 1997/NEXIS)

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 20 September 1997. "Government Said to Have Situation in Kivu 'Under Control' After Clashes." (BBC Summary 22 Sept. 1997/NEXIS)

Radio France Internationale (RFI). 13 August 1997. "DRCongo; Press Agency Director Released from Detention ». (FBIS-AFR-97-225 13 Aug. 1997) [Internet] (http://wnc.fedworld.gov/cgi-bin/retrieve) [Consulted 2 February 1998]

Radio-Télévision nationales congolaises [Bukavu, in French]. 28 décember 1997. "Court Martial Sentences Two Bukavu Soldiers to Death for Indiscipline." (NEXIS)

Reuters. N.d. "Kinshasa." E-mailed document.

Le Soir [Brussels]. 6 April 1998. "Kinshasa célèbre à sa façon la Déclaration universelle." [Internet] (http://www.lesoir.com) [Accessed 6 Apr. 1998]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 2 April 1998. Colette Braeckman. "Kinshasa bannit pour de bon Étienne Thisekedi." [Internet] (http://www.lesoir.com) [Accessed 2 Apr. 1998]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 6 February 1998. Colette Braeckman. "Kabila dans la cible des mobutistes." [Internet]http://www.lesoir.com[Consulted 6 Feb. 1998]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 3 February 1998. Colette Braeckman. "Mauvaises habitudes à Kinshasa." [Internet]http://www.lesoir.com[Consulted 3 Feb. 1998]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 2 February 1998. Colette Braeckman. "Dans les Grands Lacs, les crises se contaminent." [Internet]http://www.lesoir.com[Consulted 2 Feb. 1998]

Le Soir [Brussels]. 16 September 1997. Véronique Kiesel. "Arrestations politiques en cascade au Congo/Kinshasa, capitale de l'arbitraire." [Internet]http://www.lesoir.com[Consulted 20 Jan. 1998]

La Tempête des tropiques [Kinshasa]. 5 February 1998. "Kivu Citizens Issue Statement to Support Mai-Mai." (BBC Summary 7 Feb. 1998/NEXIS)

La Tempête des tropiques [Kinshasa]. 27 January 1998. "Opposition Party Statement Condemns Imprisonment of its Officials." (BBC Summary 30 Jan. 1998/NEXIS)

United Nations. Social and Economic Council. Commission on Human Rights. 17 October 1997. Rapport sur la situation des droits de l'homme au Zaïre (Mayntenant République démocratique du Congo) présenté par le rapporteur spécial, conformément à la résolution 1997/58 de la Commission. (A/52/496)

United Nations. Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Integrated Regional Information Network. 2 March 1998. "IRIN Update No. 365 for Central and Eastern Africa." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int/) [Consulted 3 Mar. 1998]

United Nations. 26 February 1998. "IRIN Update No. 363 for Central and Eastern Africa." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int/) [Consulted 27 Feb. 1998]

United Nations. 28 August 1997. "IRIN Emergency Update No. 237 on the Great Lakes." [Internet] (http://www.reliefweb.int/) [Consulted 27 Jan. 1998]

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 5 January 1998. "Guidelines for Refugees and Asylum Seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 14 March 1998. "Communiqué de presse 006/RDC/VSV/CD/98."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 26 February 1998. Telephone interview with a VSV representative.

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 15 February 1998. "Communiqué de presse No 004/RDC/VSV/CD/98."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 31 January 1998. "Communiqué de presse No 002/RDC/VSV/CD/98; Deux détenus qualifiés de colis à Lubumbashi."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 22 October 1997. "Communiqué de presse No 019/BIS/C/VSV/CD/97."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 15 September 1997. "Communiqué de presse No 019/C/VSV/CD/97; Congo-Kinshasa: enlèvements comme signes inquiétants de manque de maîtrise des rênes du pouvoir."

Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights (La Voix des sans voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV). 10 September 1997. "Lettre adressée à Monsieur Mwenze Kongolo, ministre des Affaires intérieures."

The Washington Post. 10 October 1997. Lynne Duke. "Ethnic Violence Grips Eastern Congo; Fearing New War, Thousands of Tutsis Flee to Rwanda."

 



[1]1.           This paper is available on the REFQUEST database, in the Regional Documentation Centres and on the IRB's Internet Web site at (http://www.irb.gc.ca).

[2]1.           The president's special security adviser, Commander Masasu Nindaga (known as "General Masasu"), was arrested on Kabila's orders on 25 November 1997, shortly after returning from a visit to the eastern part of the country; several charges were brought against him, including [translation] "secret dealings with foreign countries" and drug trafficking (AFP 3 Dec. 1997b; Info-Congo/Kinshasa 19 Dec. 1997a, 2; Country Reports 1997 1998, section 1d). Kabila apparently believed that Masasu was preparing to stage a coup (DPA 28 Nov. 1997; see also Jeune Afrique 16 Dec. 1997–5 Jan. 1998, 42). Masasu Nindaga was one of the founders of the AFDL (ibid., 41; DPA 28 Nov. 1997). He had been very close to Kabila and played a key role in the rebellion against the former regime (ibid.; RFI 26 Nov. 1997b). According to AFP, Masasu's brother Justin Nindaga has been sentenced to 20 years of forced labour for inciting soldiers in Bukavu to rebel the day after General Masasu's arrest (28 Jan. 1998; Radio-Télévision nationales congolaises 28 Dec. 1997).

[3]2.           A non-governmental organization whose name means "The Justice of Victims" (FIDH/OMCT 28 Aug. 1997). Its goal is the defence of Maniema's rights (Info-Congo/Kinshasa 12 Sept. 1997b, 2).

[4]3.           This UN commission was tasked in the summer of 1997 with investigating the diaappearance of some 20,000 Rwandan refugees in the former Zaire between October 1996 and May 1997 (Libération 20 Feb. 1998; Le Monde 14 Feb. 1998). Numerous restrictions imposed by the Congolese authorities prevented the Commission from starting its work as scheduled (ibid.). The obstacles were finally removed and the Commission started its investigation on 12 February 1998 (ibid.).

[5]4.           The Interahamwes are Rwandan Hutu militiamen (The Washington Post 10 Oct. 1997)

[6]5.           For more information the the rebel groups fighting against Kabila's troops, see Africa Confidential 20 Feb. 1998, 5–6.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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