Africa Great Lakes

Applies to releases from countries like Uganda, Congo, etc.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Doing peace in our countries

Cliff Kindy with nonviolent workshop participants in DRCIf you fled a war zone for your safety, would you voluntarily choose to return to that zone of violence? A church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) chose to do so. Self-identified as Church of the Brethren (COB) this group of eight congregations and about eight hundred members felt a call to return to their communities as bridge builders and peace makers despite the dangers. The peace churches attracted them because of the emphasis on living alternatives to war and violence. They previously held a trauma care training with the Friends in the Africa Great Lakes Region because trauma is endemic in the DRC, where six million people have been killed since the 1990s.

UGANDA: LGBT activist David Kato murdered

In 2007, members of CPT's Great Lakes team met with David Kato and two of his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda.  His murder on 26 January 2011 is a significant loss to the LGBT community in East Africa.  Kato was an outspoken activist and faced numerous threats to his life, the most recent after he successfully sued a Kampala newspaper for publishing his (and others’) photos with a message that they should be hanged.  His funeral took place on 28 January.  An obituary is available here.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES UPDATE: February 2009

8 February
CPT visited the town of Minova and village of Kashenda for a third time and participated in a meeting with representatives of a newly formed nonviolence committee in Kashenda, as well as with representatives of the Bweremana Peace Committee, which included members from Minova.  Following the meeting, CPTers also met again with "Rebecca" a rape survivor who works tirelessly as wounded healer, assisting and advocating for other survivors of sexual violence.  She is connected to Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (SFVS) and brought the team her ledgers showing the incidents she had documented since the team's prior visit on 11 January 2009.  During that time, she had assisted forty new survivors of rape, aged eleven to over fifty-five.  She showed how she wrote in code to protect herself and the survivors.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: To Bunia and back

Last November the international press depicted North Kivu, DRC, as a war zone.  Media reported homes burning, people chased by gunfire, the rapes of women, and children taken to be soldiers.  Gunfire and screams filled the TV screen.

On 21 January 2009, Rosemarie Milazzo and Cliff Kindy left in the morning darkness on a bus full of baggage and travelers, eager to get to Butembo on the way north through North Kivu to Bunia.  At the first checkpoint, soldiers laughingly said, "All is well.  The war is over."  The scene was one of movement: CNDP rebel soldiers traveling south towards incorporation into government forces, government soldiers traveling north to replace the rebels.  Further north CPTers saw Rwandan troops.  A passenger explained they had crossed the border under an agreement with the DRC government.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Taking the initiative from violent actors

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently integrated rebels from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) into the country's military.  President Kabila also invited the Rwandan military to join an operation against militias of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).  Some FDLR combatants are considered responsible for the Rwandan genocide, and they control many of the mines in South and North Kivu Provinces.  Planners hope this operation stops the conflict engulfing eastern DRC for fifteen years.  But nonviolent activists are seeking to reframe the conflict, so that they, rather than violent actors, hold the initiative.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES UPDATE: January 2009

Friday 2 January -- Accompanied by GMLK members, the team visited Mugunga 1 and Mugunga 3 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). They talked to families who had been forced to leave their homes because of fighting by rebel National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) soldiers. Several of the women willing to share their stories had been raped by CNDP soldiers. Young men told of CNDP and Rwandan soldiers forcibly taking children from their villages to be trained as soldiers. IDPs are living in banana-leaf huts, in deplorable conditions, with little to fill their time. Some have taken refuge in Mugunga 1 for over a year, while others fled their homes during the conflict last fall.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES REFLECTION: Taking the initiative from the actors of violence

In violent settings, nonviolent activists need to re-frame the action so that they, rather than violent actors, hold the initiative.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES ACTION ALERT: Call for compliance with processes of International Criminal Court

Africa Great Lakes CPT (AGLCPT) requests supporters to contact their governments and the embassies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to encourage compliance with the processes of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

AFRICA GREAT LAKES POEM: to Masika

Does the moon still shine woman of Congo
as your heart overflows tears
Can the moon light your sky
Has the spring run dry
Has the Light gone where no one knows?

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Meeting Masika

I met Masika last month, when our Christian Peacemaker Team traveled to Minova.
Masika was with her husband and two daughters when Nkunda's rebel soldiers
came into her home in Buganga.  They shot and killed her husband and forced her to lie in his blood. Then 14 of the men proceeded to rape her. They also raped her daughters, one 14 and the other16 years old.  Both girls became pregnant from the rapes. Masika reported the rapes to the police, who did nothing.