This last summer I spent several days in southern Uganda, around the city of Kabale. Nearby, just across the border, is the Congolese city of Goma. According to Time magazine (3 Dec 2012):
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war-torn, mineral-rich east reportedly seized the city of Goma, overrunning government forces. . . The rebellion, waged by a faction known as M23, has displaced tens of thousands, with aid agencies warning of a growing humanitarian crisis. Here are 3 reasons Congo’s chaos and violencee are so intractable:
- Lawlessness: The government exercises little to no control over the country’s east, where a jumble of ethnic and factional militias run roughshod over a beleagered U.N. force.
- Foreign Agendas: Though it publicly denies it, neighboring Rwanda is thought to be backing and arming the M23 rebels, many of whom are ethnic Rwandese and hold long-standing grievances.
- Wealth of Resources: The region is rich in metals and minerals, including gold and diamonds. That natural wealth has fueled numerous insurgencies and is coveted by governments in neighboring countries.
In addition to concern for the refugees and a possible humanitarian crisis, there is also concern for the Mountain Gorillas that live in the surrounding rain forests. There are fewer than 700 left in the wilds. All located at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda, and the DR Congo.