Democratic Republic of Congo​ & rebels call truce

This item appears on page 17 of the March 2008 issue.

In a hopeful move, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Jan. 21, 2008, reached an agreement with rebel generals to end hostilities.

They will withdraw troops from some positions and allow the UN to set up a buffer zone. In return for ending the rebellion, the insurgents will be granted amnesty and be integrated into the national army. If the truce holds, it is good news for the over 400,000 people displaced during the last year of civil war.

In a prior Travel Warning, issued on Jan. 8, the Department of State again had warned against travel to the DRC due to fighting between armed rebels, Congolese military forces and UN peacekeeping troops in the provinces of eastern Congo.

The Travel Warning added that armed groups and active duty and demobilized Congolese troops in parts of the country were known to pillage, carjack and steal vehicles, kill extrajudicially, rape, kidnap and carry out military or paramilitary operations. Large numbers of former rebel and government soldiers to be demobilized, as a result of an earlier peace process, remained a security concern. Travelers were frequently detained and questioned by poorly disciplined security forces at roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country.