EXCLUSIVE- We received a despairing message this morning, Monday, October
22, 2007, from Léocadie Mukamuhigirwa, leader of the Slow Food Kiwanya
convivium in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She informed us
that the combatants who have been devastating her country have reached her
Mukamuhigirwa and her people have been forced to flee towards an area
protected by MONUC (the United Nations peace keeping mission in the DRC).
She tells us though that she still has faith in the government’s effort to
reach agreements that will bring an end to the fighting.
Political unrest and conflict have been terrorizing the country since
early revolts in the colonial period. Recent rebellions have led the
country to civil war twice, in 1996-97 and from 1998-2003. Since the end
of this past August, the North-Kivu region has been the stage for fighting
between the FDLR (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) and
dissident soldiers that support Laurent Nkunda (the Congolese Tutsi
general and former leader of the country). Nkunda claims that he is
fighting the FDLR in defense of the Tutsi minority and has an estimated
backing of 6,000 troops.
According to the UN, violence in area has caused over 370,000 people to
flee their homes.