by Bryce McGraw, staff writer
But the continent of Africa has experienced a multitude of conflicts that have gone virtually unnoticed, specifically by the United States and other major world powers, in connection under NATO. Among the many events that have risen and fallen throughout the continent, one conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has scorched the land dry and developed into one of the largest humanitarian crises since the Second World War, yet so little is being done.
For over 30 years, conflicts have risen and fallen within the Congo, leaving over 6 million dead, 26 million struggling to eat, and more than 4.5 million displaced from their homes. The struggle is focused between the Congolese Army, and the regional rebel group, M23.
However, as with any war, Congolese citizens find themselves becoming victims caught in the crossfire.
On April 5, 2023, CAJ News Africa released the article by Jean Kassongo, “Hundreds Killed, Raped in Escalating Congolese Conflicts,” where she discusses that 1,400 have been killed since the beginning of the year with over 340 cases of sexual assault during that time. “More than 600,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since violence escalated in June 2022,” Kassongo says.
Moïse Katumbi, former governor of Katanga province in the DRC, also voiced his concern with the escalating violence throughout the country. “If things continue along the current trajectory, the situation in the Congo could deteriorate rapidly, spreading further instability and greater suffering across the region,” Katumbi says in an article also released on April 5th.
Katumbi also says, “This conflict might be far away, but it should still matter to Europe,” simply because Africa is home to massive deposits of natural resources that the rest of the world requires. For example, within the Congo, including the Eastern regions where the intense fighting is located, accounts for two thirds of the world’s cobalt; making the Congo a major supply hub for resources needed to make materials like batteries used in electric vehicles, computers, tablets, and smartphones. In addition, resources such as lead, gold, natural gas, oil, rubber, and of course diamonds make Central African nations essential to the development of western production. As fighting develops around these resources, western production is threatened to reduce, and product lines are at risk of thinning.
As fighting is beginning to spread throughout the Congo surrounding nations are also being affected by the growing conflict. In December of 2021, ISS PSC Report wrote about numerous developing conflicts across Africa, including a Civil War in Ethiopia which began in November of 2020, violent fighting in the Central African Republic, and massive recovery effort in Sudan following its catastrophic civil war.
Neil Corkery, President of the Sudan Relief fund, stated in an interview with EWTN in 2018, “Almost 50% of the people are in what the UN describes as a ‘severe food crisis’, and the problem is that it all goes back to the civil war that’s been going on for almost 3 years now. Now the people are unable to plate crops and have been forced from their homes.”
Now in 2023, the massive famine still heavily affects the region and joining regions like the Congo. In addition to Sudan, Ethiopia, and other surrounding nations Kenya has also stated its military involvement in the Congo.
Richard Kagoe with BBC News, Nairobi, published an article in November of 2022, DR Congo conflict: Why Kenyan Troops Are Joining the Battle, where he explains the mission of the Kenyan Troops to help liberate M23 held territories. “Kenyan soldiers will focus on rebels in the North Kivu area where some of their counterparts are already embedded in the UN force,” he says.
Yet even with support from other East African countries, Western European countries and first world superpowers like the United States demonstrate little enthusiasm to help secure or develop these nations.
With heavy, long-term fighting effecting the lives of innocent people throughout the Congo, the question of why the United States and other developed nations render so little aid becomes more prominent. It would seem reasonable for such nations to intervene, secure, and protect the resources produced from these regions or to provide relief towards the large humanitarian efforts within the DCR. A developed society that focuses efforts on preserving the livelihoods and cultures trapped in the middle of major conflicts, may prove to be the stabilizing factor that benefits the further development of modern society, yet the fact remains that most of the modern world is focused on the conflicts elsewhere.
Meanwhile, nations are continuously caught in internal power struggles, and local civilians suffer as violent struggles escalate around them.
Corkery, Neil. “Neil Corkery, President of the Sudan Relief Fund.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Mar. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxHzccfeFSs.
Kagoe, Richard. “DR Congo Conflict: Why Kenyan Troops Are Joining the Battle.” BBC News, BBC, 5 Nov. 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-63513678.
Kassongo, Jean. “Hundreds Killed, Raped in Escalating Congolese Conflicts.” CAJ News Africa, 5 Apr. 2023, https://www.cajnewsafrica.com/2023/04/05/hundreds-killed-raped-in-escalating-congolese-conflicts/.
Katumbi, Moïse. “A Resurrected Conflict Is Raging in the DRC. Europe Should Take Notice.” Euronews, 5 Apr. 2023, https://www.euronews.com/2023/04/05/a-resurrected-conflict-is-raging-in-the-drc-europe-should-be-paying-attention.
Report, PSC. “African Conflicts to Watch in 2022.” ISS Africa, 17 Dec. 2021, https://issafrica.org/pscreport/psc-insights/african-conflicts-to-watch-in-2022.