Archive for category Congo

Industry Talk: DynCorp Wins AFRICAP Training Task Order For The DRC

I couldn’t find anything more about this on FBO.  Hell, I couldn’t even find the task order. I did find my old post about AFRICAP and all of the folks involved, but that is the last I have heard about it.

This latest deal for the Congo will be quite the contract. That place is definitely a hardship tour, but it also fits in with DynCorp’s future leaning statement the other day. -Matt

DynCorp International Wins AFRICAP Training Task Order
June 01, 2011
DynCorp International (DI) announced today that it has been awarded a task order under the Africa Peacekeeping Program (AFRICAP) to provide basic leadership training to personnel within the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“DI has extensive experience and success in providing training designed to enhance the leadership and management capability of our partners in the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
“We are proud to continue our work in promoting peace and stability in Africa,” said DI President Steve Schorer. “DI has extensive experience and success in providing training designed to enhance the leadership and management capability of our partners in the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
The task order, awarded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, has one base year and two option years. The total potential revenue is $17.1 million if both option years are exercised. The AFRICAP program supports regional stability in Africa by building the capacity of African countries and regional organizations to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts on the African continent.
Under the task order, DI will provide basic leadership and specialty training focusing on junior and mid-level military personnel in functional areas such as communications, logistics, and engineering.
Link to press release here.

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Africa: The Lord’s Resistance Army Massacres 321 People In The Congo

  One of the biggest pigs feeding off of that Anarchy Gravy Train I was talking about, is the LRA.  If there was any a reason to step in with military action to effectively shut down an insane and highly murderous group, these guys take the cake.

   I posted two stories here, and this first one is about the massacre in the Congo these guys just committed. The other story is about legislation being passed in the US to support efforts to stop the LRA and support Uganda.  The second story also presents some very interesting angles about how certain aid groups and charities are really pushing for military action against the LRA–which is kind of a shocker to hear from such groups.  The article also talks about AFRICOM , and it’s roll in Africa, by getting us more involved with dealing with these ‘insane clown posses’ that continue to roam and terrorize Africa.

   My only input on all of this, is that the LRA is taking advantage of jungle cover, weak governments, and weak borders to keep surviving and killing. And if Uganda is able to push them out of their country, that is great, but these folks will just go across the border to the Congo and kill people there.  So now the Congo has to deal with these guys.  If everyone in the region came together and decided that destroying this group was the right thing to do, then and only then will there be a chance at ending this horror once and for all.

   And when I say destroy, I mean kill every last one of them.  You can’t negotiate with Joseph Kony, just like you can’t negotiate with a psychotic killer going on a rampage in a mall. You kill him, and if any of his troops want to continue the fight afterwards, then you kill them too.  It is absolutely vital that you destroy the leader of this group, and any trace amounts that could lead to it’s resurgence after said actions.  The leader, sub-leaders, or whatever.  The LRA should become just a horrible memory after you get through with them.

   As to the child soldiers or child sex slaves?  Hopefully you can rescue them, and get the help they need to become normalized again.  But once again, if you want to eradicate a group like this, forces will be fighting child soldiers along with the adult soldiers of the LRA, and that would be an unfortunate reality of the situation. (please note that a child did this to the woman in the picture below)

   So are  western nations prepared to do this, or are they willing to support other African nations in doing this task? Is the political will there, in order to do the dirty work of removing the LRA from the face of this planet?  That is my question, and until a conclusion is reached, we will continue to watch the LRA and groups like it murder/rape/mutilate/enslave and otherwise create living hells on earth for the innocent people of Africa.  -Matt

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LRA mutilation

Lokeria Aciro, 40, rests at Saint Joseph’s Hospital near Kitgum after an LRA attack in which a boy of about 11 cut off her lips and ears. She had been collecting firewood outside a camp.

Lord’s Resistance Army killed 321 people in Democratic Republic of Congo

March 29, 2010

Jonathan Clayton

At least 321 people were killed and hundreds were abducted in one of the worst massacres by Africa’s most feared rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December.

A three-year-old girl was burnt to death during the attack on men, women and children, an investigation by a human rights group has revealed.

Villagers who escaped death were sent back with their lips and ears cut off as a warning to others of what would happen if they talked — a tactic used frequently by the LRA, which has terrorised much of northern Uganda and the border areas with Sudan and Congo for more than two decades.

The attack — which was unreported until now — confirms that the LRA has restarted terrorising the region despite losing its bases in Sudan a few years ago, when Khartoum, its main backer, signed a peace deal with south Sudanese rebels. According to Human Rights Watch the LRA also abducted at least 250 people during the attack, including 80 children.

Anneke Van Woudenberg, of the New York-based rights group, called the massacre in the Makombo area of northeast Democratic Republic of Congo “one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history”.

The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, a warlord dubbed the Wizard of the Nile who mixes traditional African beliefs with fundamentalist Christianity. He has made a point of abducting children terrified of his supposed magical powers to perpetuate the movement. Kony turns the boys into killing machines, often unleashing them on their relatives, and takes girls as child brides for himself and his commanders. Peace talks with the group began about two years ago but failed after Kony executed any of his commanders who showed interest in reaching a settlement.

The majority of those killed in the December attack were men. They were tied up, some bound to trees, before being hacked to death with machetes or having their skulls crushed with axes. The dead included 13 women and 23 children, according to the report, which was written after a mission visited the region in February.

Dieudonne Abakuba, a clergyman at Isiro-Niangara, in the north east of the country, confirmed that 30 members of the LRA attacked about a dozen villages of the nearby Haut Uele district.

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Congo: The Conflict Mineral Problem and The PMC Solution

Changing this situation requires physically securing the major mines and wresting them away from the control of armed groups. This is an urgent priority, but has thus far been ignored by the UN and other actors. 

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     Ok, this one pisses me off.  All of these ‘Save Africa’ organizations, or anti-conflict mineral groups are pretty idealistic, but lack any kind of realistic solutions. Most seem like they are more concerned with raising money to maintain their salaries and organization size, as opposed to promoting any kind of real solutions.

    I took a snippet of a paper written by the Enough Project, which supposedly is the answer to the Congo’s conflict mineral problem.  I thought it was interesting when they started talking about actually ‘securing’ strategic mines, so I thought I would expand upon that. Securing anything requires taking something from someone, and that requires organized violence and offensive capability.

   How do these guys expect to secure anything, with the kind of force they are talking about? MONUC is the solution?  Pffft.  Obviously the folks at the Enough Project have way more faith in the UN’s mission in the Congo than I do, and that is scary.

   Now if we wanted to get serious about securing mines, and especially if those mines are controlled by rebel groups, then it is going to take some capable folks who can do a job like that.

     Ideally it would be a professional army that would take this task on.  But if anyone has been following the news these days, all the professional armies out there are kind of busy right now.  That whole global war on terror thing is really sucking up the man power if you know what I mean.  Plus, I just don’t see anyone jumping up and down, ready to lend their ultra kick ass troops to the UN to do anything.

   Which brings us to the next possible solution, and that is the private military company.  A company like Executive Outcomes is a prime example of the type of PMC I am talking about. If the UN or the Enough Project really wanted a mine secured, and wanted to dry up the financing for these rebel groups, then it could be contracted out, and the task would be accomplished.  This is not conjecture, this is not pie in the sky dreaming, this is reality.  Executive Outcomes actually did secure mines when they were in existence, and in some of the worst areas of Africa, and they were quite good at it.

   I also like to bring up this concept of responsibility to protect, or R2P, my favorite ‘save Africa’ quote.  Born from the ashes of the Rwanda genocide, R2P was the West’s way of saying never again. Whatever……

   Guess what, the war in the Congo is the deadliest war since WW 2, and over five million people have been killed there.  What happened to responsibility to protect?  If we have the means to stop something like this, and it is blatantly obvious that there is a viable solution, then we are not doing everything in our power to stop it.  We are thus allowing a crime against humanity to happen, and on an epic scale. Responsibility to protect should instead be responsibility to do nothing while millions of people are killed.

   So for the folks at the Enough Project, good luck with your hollow strategy.  I am sure it will get you a few donations from some guilt ridden grandma in Michigan with a big fat diamond ring. Better yet, I am sure it will get you invited at a few of those pity parties in hollywood. -Matt

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A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals-Strategy Paper

From the Enough Project

2) Identify and secure strategic mines

The U.N. Group of Experts has documented how armed groups on all sides of the conflict, including the Congolese military, profit from resource exploitation and threaten the local population. They control mines, tax commerce, and prey upon civilians involved in the trade. State mining inspectors are intimidated or co-opted by armed groups and are incapable of reigning in these activities. While MONUC’s mandate has recently been broadened to monitor illicit resource flows, it will take a much more concerted international investment to truly change the security calculus in the mineral-rich areas.

Changing this situation requires physically securing the major mines and wresting them away from the control of armed groups. This is an urgent priority, but has thus far been ignored by the UN and other actors. The recent joint Congo-Rwanda military operation—ostensibly against the FDLR, though direct engagements with the FLDR were infrequent—removal of CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda, and incorporation of CNDP into the local political and military authorities in North Kivu has jolted the status quo. A mutually acceptable security context around the mineral trade in eastern Congo is a critical component of a lasting détente between Kinshasa and Kigali, and the international community has an opportunity in the wake of recent events to support solutions that benefit ordinary Congolese.

Different strategies must be employed for armed groups with diverse origins and agendas. Former CNDP, Mai Mai groups, and non-integrated army brigades may be best dealt with via security sector reform. These efforts are unlikely to completely demilitarize the mining sector in the short-run, but have the best prospects of shifting the status quo toward fostering legitimate trade in the medium-term. In contrast, operations against the FDLR will require much more military strength in a concentrated effort to weaken the FDLR leadership, deny them access to minerals wealth, encourage defections, and protect civilians from reprisals.

In the short-term, poorly planned action by ill-disciplined Congolese forces incapable of protecting civilians or actually holding FDLR territory will only compound already dire circumstances in Congo. But the identification of strategic mining sites can begin now. MONUC should collaborate with the government of Congo in identifying key mining sites under the control of armed groups. Such efforts should not focus on any one militia, but instead should be selected based on size, proximity to transit routes, and the ability of MONUC or trained and vetted Congolese forces to maintain their security.

Securing critical mining sites

There are hundreds of mines controlled by gunpoint in eastern Congo. But these following mines are particularly key to armed groups:

Bisie Mine, Walikale District, North Kivu: Produces the lion’s share of tin ore in North Kivu. Recently shifted hands from the non-integrated 85th Brigade of the Congolese Army—a de facto Mai Mai militia—to an integrated brigade under the command of a CNDP commander, Colonel Manzi. It is unclear whether the new soldiers are physically present in the mines, but they are already active at checkpoints and are taxing miners.

Lueshe Pyrochlore Mine, Rutshuru District, North Kivu: Now under the control of the Congolese Army and CNDP. One of the few industrial mining sites in the Kivus, produces Niobium, which is closely related to Tantalum. One of the sites most immediately conducive to start-up of industrial operations.

Bisembe, Mwenga Territory, South Kivu: Mines around Mwenga are controlled militarily and economically by the FDLR, who have established a mini-state in this region of South Kivu. Securing this area will require significant efforts to sever the FDLR’s military and administrative control, and should only be considered with ample planning, including provisions to protect civilians.

Other important mining areas include the Misisi gold mine in Fizi, South Kivu, tin, tantalum and gold mines in Ziralo, Kalehe South Kivu and the gold mines around Ksugho in North Kivu’s Lubero territory.

 Properly integrated Congolese security forces—supported by MONUC and international military observers—should secure these mining sites and the transit routes associated with their trading chains, including select airfields, ports, and border crossings. To the maximum extent possible, this should be carried out via negotiation and with positive incentives for commanders willing to relinquish their hold over these sites and enter into DDR programs. Such initiatives will require a far more robust approach than prior Congolese demobilization programs, which have wound up providing cover for continued coercive minerals exploitation without reducing its militarization. With thorough vetting to screen for human rights abusers, and following a significant training process, the rank-and-file from armed groups should become eligible for integration into security services. Together with a strengthened MONUC, such a force could provide the immediate physical security necessary to regulate the trade in minerals, from these specific mines to markets to export points in eastern Congo. This approach must be grounded in a more comprehensive and coherent effort to support broad security sector reform in Congo.

From the Enough Project

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Cash The Killer

December 11, 2009

The UN has concluded that the primary problem with violence in eastern Congo is the illegal trade in illegal trade in valuable minerals. For example, Hutu rebel militias control the mining of cassiterite. While the major source is Bolivia, Congo contains large deposits. Cassiterite is a component of tin ore and is used increasingly in electronics. It sells for over nine dollars a pound (nearly $20 per kilogram). The Hutu warlords have established an informal, and illegal, network that mines and transports the cassiterite from eastern Congo to Uganda and Burundi, and eventually the United Arab Emirates, where its enters the world market. This network also supports the mining and smuggling of coltan and wolframite. This trade is similar to the one that supports, or supported, rebel movements in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory coast. The valuable commodity there was diamonds. The illegal trade in Sierra Leone and Liberia have largely been shut down.

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Congo: Conrad Thorpe Trains Anti-Poaching Units in the Virunga NP

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Congo: U.N. Peace Mission Fueling Violence in Congo, Report Says

   Shameful.  The worlds largest peace keeping mission, and it is a total failure.  I actually think those in the U.N. who were responsible for managing such a cluster, should face a war crimes tribunal for allowing such a thing.

   Now if the U.N. were to pull their collective head out of their ass, and realize that if there is no peace to keep, then you do not send in peace keepers.  What needs to happen, is the conflict(s) must end, and the only way that happens is the two sides fight it out and to the victor go the spoils.  Or, the U.N. picks a side, and completely supports that side of the war by sending in war fighters with the mission of defeating the other side. All out warfare, and no half measures.

   You either contract it out to an Executive Outcomes type company, or assemble a coalition of actual war fighters from donor countries, or don’t do anything at all.  But all of that would take a mandate from the U.N. Security Council, and it would also take resolve and the will to fight a war like that.  Companies like EO are proof positive that a professional PMC could definitely do what has to be done, and I would say, for a reasonable price.  Much more reasonable that what the U.N. is paying for now, which is only doing more harm to the Congo. Shameful. -Matt

Edit: Here are some excerpts from the report, to include the summary, here at a blog called Congo Siasa.

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UN peace mission fueling violence in Congo, report says

Security force costing $1bn a year has not defeated Rwandan Hutu rebels or halted plunder of lucrative minerals, experts find

Wednesday 25 November 2009

The world’s biggest UN peacekeeping mission has been branded a failure by experts who say it is fueling a surge of murders and rapes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN security force of 25,000, estimated to cost more than $1bn a year, has proved unable to defeat Rwandan Hutu rebels or to halt the plunder of lucrative minerals in the east of the country, according to a scathing report.

Among the most damning findings of the UN-mandated Group of Experts is the free rein given to a military commander and war crimes suspect known as “The Terminator”, which the UN mission has previously denied.

The mission in North and South Kivu agreed to back Congo’s army in an offensive this year against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), some of whose leaders helped to orchestrate Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

The experts found: “Military operations have … not succeeded in neutralising the FDLR, have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the Kivus and have resulted in an expansion of CNDP [the Congolese Tutsi militia National Congress for the Defence of the People] military influence in the region.”

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Africa: UN’s Congo Operation Under Scrutiny

   I posted another story below this about the UN screwing the pooch on Afghanistan as well, when they sacked Peter Galbraith for speaking truth to power about the elections there.

   But the real star of this post, is the UN and their criminal work in the Congo.  I say criminal, because to sit there and allow these rapes and murders to happen, while standing there with a gun in your hand and calling yourself a peacekeeper, is beyond just incompetence–it is criminal. What happened to the Responsibility to Protect?  How do you allow this to continue and say that it is ok, while in the same breath calling yourselves peacekeepers?  Some heads need to roll on this one, and some top leadership needs to be held accountable. Or better yet, hire some professionals to do the job right, or don’t do the job at all.-Matt

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UN’s Congo operation under scrutiny

By Harvey Morris at the United Nations

Published: October 18 2009 23:15 | Last updated: October 18 2009 23:15

The strategy of the United Nations’ biggest peacekeeping force is under scrutiny following reports that government forces it is supporting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have used wide-scale rape and murder as weapons of war.

Abuses committed in a campaign against rebels in the east of the country have been extensively catalogued by human rights organisations. They have now come to the fore with a claim by one of the UN’s own experts that the results of an 8-month UN-backed offensive have been “catastrophic”.

“Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, thousands raped, hundreds of villages burnt to the ground, and at least 1,000 civilians killed,” Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said in a statement last week after a 10-day visit to the DRC.

What Mr Alston termed the “nightmare situation” in the eastern Kivu region underlined the dilemma of peacekeepers required to conduct increasingly robust and proactive mandates handed to them by the UN Security Council with what their commanders often complain are inadequate resources.

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