Saturday, January 24

Nkunda's capture

The most significant part of the capture of Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda appears to be the improvement in relations between Congo and Rwanda. As recently as December, Rwanda was charged with backing Nkunda's activities in eastern Congo. But it appears that Rwanda - whose troops captured him - has dropped its support in exchange for permission for Rwandan troops to hunt down Hutu militia members inside Congo. The tension between the two countries has been a major factor in the continued instability in eastern Congo - where the 1998-2003 civil war never really ended and some million people remain displaced - and an improvement in those relations can only help the security situation there. But it is a little concerning that Congo is relying on Rwandan troops to provide security in the country (or Ugandan troops, who are hunting down their own rebels inside Congo at the moment). The role of neighboring countries inside DRC hasn't been so great in the past decade. Most analysts seem to think the latest turn of events signals the potential for a large change in the dynamics of the situation in eastern Congo, but for now it's wait-and-see. As Jason Stearns puts it: "Nkunda’s arrest is part of a larger, radical realignment. There are, however, many unknowns and risks".

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