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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Is DR Congo marching back to war?
Congolese refugees fleeing to Burundi
Some 36,000 people have fled the recent unrest in eastern DR Congo
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is threatening to collapse into chaos again following fighting earlier this month between dissident troops and the regular army.

Thousands of civilians have fled the area around the border town of Bukavu, and the Congolese government has deployed an extra 10,000 troops to the region.

Accusations and counter-accusations have been flying between DR Congo and Rwanda, with each side accusing the other of trying to destabilise the region.

The UN Security Council has warned neighbouring countries not to interfere in DR Congo and United States and UK envoys have been sent to the two countries, appealing for restraint.

Do you think DR Congo's fragile peace is now over? Is the Bukavu conflict likely to escalate into an international war, involving DR Congo and its neighbours? Did the five-year war, which killed over three million people, ever really end?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The DR Congo's fragile peace agreement is definitely not sustainable for the simple reason that instead of focusing on strengthening what they have achieved, the Kinshasa government is focusing more on acts of war.
Ivan Rugema, Cape Town, South Africa

DR Congo is forced to wage another war because the Rwandan president can not see another way of developing his country except by using Congolese wealth. As long as he in power, DR Congo will never enjoy peace.
Kunda John, Montreal, Canada

The Congolese government should protect the Banyamulenges' rights. It seems that they are seen as Rwandans by the Congolese. This country is simply too big to be governed. How could it be possible that all Congolese problems are due to Rwandan actions?
Nelson Rotsaert, Belgium

It is a sad state of affairs when potentially the richest continent is bogged down in petty wars, how much progress has been impeded by these needless conflicts?
PointGiven, Edmonton, Canada

It breaks my heart to see all these children and the elderly as victims and young children being raped by soldiers taking advantage of instabilities. Why can such a rich country not at least have a little bit dignity?
Francois, Oslo, Norway

While it is highly likely that there will be short term pauses in the conflict, an end to the war is not at this moment possible. Reason being ,that, the underlying causes of the conflict have not been resolved nor even seriously addressed ,i.e. the redistribution of the natural resources between tribes, regions and countries; the level of autonomy to be enjoyed by tribes and regions and the role of the central government.
Donovan Fletcher, Kingston, Jamaica

I don't agree with people who are saying that this country is too big to be governed. If people would leave the Congolese people to resolve their problems in peace, maybe there would not be problems. There are many countries in the world that are bigger than the DRC, and yet they are being governed without a problem. Give us a chance.
Mukanda M, DRC/Living in USA

Congo/Zaire/Congo: It was always an externally imposed creation and once the Cold War client-state funding disappeared came the ensuing power vacuum. This space was filled by disparate local actors, funded externally and locally, with few common interests other than plunder. It is very sad, but without great political will both internally and externally the "falling apart" will tragically continue to unfold.
Doug Petersen, Twin Falls, ID, USA

It is shameful that a few rebel generals continue to put their selfish interests ahead of the safety and well being of the thousands in eastern DR Congo who have already suffered so much. War, if it comes, will be disastrous for millions of Congolese and the UN and the international community need to send sufficient peacekeepers who are given sufficient powers to prevent these militias from wreaking havoc. Rwanda and Uganda must respect the sovereignty of the Kinshasa coalition government in the eastern provinces. The UN must back up their warnings with consequences for any party that seeks to destabilise the region and the country.
John Sullivan, Ithaca, New York

Peace would prevail, only and if foreigners keep their hands and greed off DRC wealth. If USA can be governed, how can one talk of DRC being too big to govern?
Linda, Dar es salam, Tanzania

There is a proverb which says that if a fish comes out of the river and tells you that the crocodile has wings, believe it. The Congolese government has been telling the world that they want peace for their people. If they think peace is attainable I think we should give them a chance to pursue this noble cause for we all know that it is not easy.
Ndekazi Kaluwa, Lusaka, Zambia

Blaming Rwanda is not the key for Congolese political instability because the internal crisis reflects that DRC has its own problem such as the two coup attempts just show the danger in which the situation of DRC is. Why does DRC not disarm Rwandan militiamen instead of blaming Rwanda? DRC and MONUC should first of all disarm those militiamen who committed genocide in Rwanda and then I think Rwanda will never have concerns about DRC.
Chris, Rwanda

The international community has been attempting to stitch together this country for 50 years with utter failure. It is time to try something different - demarcate this monster country into smaller governable countries. Kinshasa has no control over the whole country and never did with any certainty even during Mobutu's time. It's time to partition the DRC.
Kene Kaala, Joburg, South Africa

Unfortunately I think this peace is over, because the leaders of both sides are too egotistical to put the nations' interest before their own. Why is it that all these rebels have access to guns? If the international community does not wish to intervene the least they can do is curb the movement of weapons into these countries.
Chebbet, Kenya/US

It's about time that UN Security Council sends a serious warnings to parties trying to destabilise the region and any violations of these warnings should followed by sanctions.
Joseph Lievin, Johannesburg, South Africa

Greed, power, hatred!! I can not understand just how the blood shed in DR Congo can be justified by those behind the war. Just what stone hearts can be the engineers of such crimes? I really do not think we're dealing with humans here....how do they sleep knowing that your selfish interest has many wandering in the bush? How I wish fire could just come from heaven to consume them all. If this were to happen the rest of the world would learn some fearful lesson but it would hopefully eradicate this foolishness.
M Mundia, Zambia

DR Congo should concentrate on internal matters rather than looking for scapegoats. Both Rwanda and DR Congo do not need war to develop.
BURUNZI Ephrem, Kigali, Rwanda

It is clear that the problem in DRC is not the size of the country but that of selfish hearts.
Franklin David, Lilongwe, Malawi

Can these people not see the destruction that they are causing can they not see that fighting is not working how can they ever expect a normal life if they won't put down there guns and sort things out like civilised human beings they obviously are animals so that is the way should be treated let them kill themselves off because the rest of the world does not need animals like that.
Kurt Rohlf, Durban, South Africa

If I'm not mistaken the Banyamulenges are closely related to the Tutsi. Therefore it's only natural for Rwandans to want to try help them when Congolese are causing them problems especially after the 1994 genocide. Don't forget President Paul Kagame is the man who saved Rwanda with his army, and after what he and his country have gone through the last thing they want is to be involved in any war situation. It's up to the Congo to find a solution as fast as possible.
James Taylor, Kigali Rwanda

DRC is not marching back to war but is being forced by neighbouring countries to march towards war. The reason is that those countries are very jealous of Congolese minerals. I think Rwandese, Ugandans and Burundians should be more involved in developing their own minerals if they have rather than imposing war on the Congolese whose culture is not one of war and ethnic killings.
Muhanuzi Katabana, Quebec, Canada




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