Congolese Refugee Crisis In Angola

Congolese Refugee Crisis In Angola

Grigoriy Trofimchuk Grigoriy Trofimchuk

19.05.2017-Moscow / The UN declared that over 20,000 refugees were now in the northeastern part of Angola, with several thousand having streamed in over the weekend. Most of them were fleeing militia violence in their home province of Kasai, which has become somewhat ungovernable over the past year. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in the throes of a slowly unfolding Hybrid War ever since President Kabila postponed his country’s planned elections last December and announced that they’ll instead be held sometime in early 2018. He said that the country wasn’t logistically prepared for holding the vote, which would have been the first peaceful transfer of power in the country’s post-independence history, and certain segments of the Congo rose up in opposition against him ever since that time. The Kasai militias aren’t necessarily "democratic freedom fighters”, however, as they’re more like provincial bandits which are justifying their crimes through the convenient cover of the country’s current political crisis.  

 In fact, some the latest militia attacks included the wanton killing of civilians and even beheading a UN hostage. The ragtag bandits that are fighting in central Congolese region of Kasai would rightly be regarded as terrorists if they were in Syria, but because their destabilization is politically convenient for the outside powers which want to see Kabila step aside or ousted, and also due to the fact that it’s impossible to pin the blame for the carnage of "Islam”, the international community has thus far refrained from labeling these groups as the terrorists which they are. That’s a major problem, too, because the latest round of fighting over the past few months is what’s responsible for producing the thousands of refugees which have flooded into Angola. Let’s remember that Angola isn’t well-equipped to handle this humanitarian influx, let alone in such an isolated frontier region as its northeast, so there’s a real chance that the crisis will be exacerbated in the coming months if fighting intensifies in the Congo and more refugees swarm across the border.

  Instead of threatening the Congolese government with sanctions because of perceived "anti-democratic” transgressions, and giving a wink-and-a-nod of support to the terrorist groups ravaging the countryside, the West should de-politicize Kinshasa’s War on Terror by supporting Kabila in his quest to restore order to the country. The more unstable that the Congo becomes, the less likely it is that those very same elections which the West wants to occur will continue to be delayed, perhaps even indefinitely depending on the circumstances. We’d all do well to remember that Africa’s worst conflicts started in the Congo, both during the Cold War and afterwards, and that conventional estimates largely agree that roughly 5 million people were killed either directly or indirectly the last time that the country collapsed into civil war. Congo’s conflicts have a tendency to spill across its borders and involve neighboring states, such as it did with Angola on almost every occasion, so while the current refugee crisis might seem minimal by historical comparison, it could also be a sign of what’s to come.  

Andrew Korybko -Political analyst - Radio sputnik

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