Thursday, December 06, 2012
DR Congo Crisis Update - Dec 6From: Charles Franzen
To: World Relief Canada
Subject: Goma and North Kivu Update -- Thursday December 6, 2012
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Partners of World Relief DR Congo,
When the rumble of trucks and the beeping of motorcars awakes one in the early hours of the morning even before dawn, then one knows that it is a “normal” day in Goma because the traffic from the port starts before the cock crows. These sounds have been absent since November 18th but today, at five in the morning, the grinding of gears and the rumble of overladen lorries is our clearest indication yet that life is returning to some sense of normalcy after weeks of conflict and uncertainty. UN planes and helicopters are now fully utilizing the airport although commercial traffic has not yet been permitted. All of this is very positive.
The negative of this development is that with the port re-opening, the precious foodstuffs which have been stored away here will now be sent to Bukavu for sale at a much higher price. With our main supply routes for food to Rutshuru and Masisi being inaccessible at present, we can anticipate a much higher food cost for the consumer in the next couple of weeks.
Otherwise, it has been a very quiet three nights since our return on Monday afternoon and I see no reason why it cannot stay that way for a while. The cloud on the horizon, however, is the Kampala Summit – one wonders whether a summit composed of second-hand men, yesterday’s leaders and jokesters can achieve anything. Meanwhile, like cats looking up from bowls of fresh milk, the M23 sit on the rise overlooking the city biding their time until their commanders tell them to return to Rumangabo or Kibumba or enter and retake Goma. All hangs in the balance. It is a very precarious balance and one that depends very much on the restraint brokered between the government troops and the M23 rebal fighters by the UN.
Alas, that is where we are now and where we are likely to be for the foreseeable future. The great and good thing is that as every day passes without conflict, it increases the likelihood that we will get more violence free days and these can, if the soil is rich and the water abundant, lead to a more fertile ground in which peace can sprout and flourish.
Today we welcomed our dear brothers from Rutshuru, including pastors, who have come to Goma at our request to talk about their recent experiences. We were told of the numerous young people who have been recruited into the M23 as well as the increased danger of landmines as a consequence of the many planted in the areas around previous camps, especially in Kiwanja. We also heard that although the M23 has only a few people to administer a large area, they have done a relatively good job with a very great decline in the numbers of robberies and assaults committed since their arrival. Nevertheless, the pastors expressed their sadness and helplessness about being in a place that is no longer a normal part of the unitary Congo state and desire a great return to the union.
Many thanks for all your kind words, generous donations and prayers on our behalf – the sun is out for the first time in days and it sure feels great!
All the best,
Democratic Republic of Congo
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Thursday, December 06, 2012
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