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The EU waits for the next Kiwanja

December 8, 2008

“The twin issues of Rwanda’s war displaced into Congo and the conflict minerals rush remain largely unaddressed,” John Prendergast said. “It is likely short-term ceasefires can be forged, but in the absence of significant new strategies dealing with FDLR and illicit minerals, the war will remain unresolved.”

Wise words from an expert on bringing the world´s attention to African wars.

Unfortunately,  Javier Solana has recently affirmed that the situation is getting slightly better in North Kivu. This may be true. However, these words prepare the ground for the announcement that no EU forces will be sent here. Oxfam has already denounced this today:

“With high level after high level visit from European leaders, the Congolese people began to dare to hope that the EU would come forward with the urgent protection they needed. Today it seems that those hopes have been dashed. The European response to this crisis was a test of the true mettle of European willingness to respond to the world’s worst crimes, to protect those most in need, but all we have had is fine words and no protection”, said Elise Ford, Head of Oxfam´s EU Office.

Other news say that Spain might be prepared to take charge of the force, even though Madrid denies this. Meanwhile, impunity continues.

Muzong Kodi , an Associate Fellow of Chatham House’s Africa Programme, pointed out las month in an article that troops of this kind have been sent before in the DRC, in 2003 (Ituri) and  in 2006-7, before and during the elections. In both cases the deployment of an EU force stabilised the situation and provided security. However, this time things are different. Even if the UN Secretary General himself is asking for a deployment of soldiers.

I wonder how many Kiwanjas are necessary for the EU to take action. If a massacre of this kind takes place again, the UK and Germany will be placed in an embarrasing (read shameful) position.

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