United Nations officials say civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo are living in a "constant state of fear," because of widespread violence, rape, and looting. A cease-fire is between the Congolese government and the rebel forces led by general Laurent Nkunda is reportedly holding. But officials said there is persistent unrest throughout the country.
This week the United Nations pledged an additional 3000 troops to enhance the already largest peacekeeping force of 17,000.
Mduduzi Khumalo is a research specialist with the Peace & Security Research Unit of the Africa Institute of South Africa. He told VOAS’ Akwei Thompson that the DRC problem cannot be solved by means of troops. He said the solution to the problem is to integrate Nkunda into either the Rwandan or the Congolese army.
“The biggest thing we currently have got to do is to get this General Nkunda on to the table and he has got to agree with him being integrated into the army, whether it’s the Rwandan army or the DRC army – in any one of the armies – that’s the solution to the DRC problem at the moment.”
Khumalo emphasized that the key to the solution is diplomacy. He said getting Nkunda to the table will depend on what package newly appointed Special Envoy to the DRC, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is “putting on the table for him.”