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Home > Missions > DR Congo > DR Congo background

DR Congo - Mission Background Information

Equip Disciples began work in Goma, DR Congo in the summer of 2008. At that time, we led two conferences: one for rural pastors who lived in the mountains of eastern Congo, and one for former child soldiers who at that time had been rescued by the UN and were being reintegrated into civilian life.  After the training, pastors returned to their congregations in the mountains.  We were able to provide them with discipleship materials, HIV/AIDS booklets, and reading glasses.  At the time, we were not able to get Bibles to them.  Soon after their return to the mountains, the rebel groups forced them and other civilians from their homes.  These pastors and many from their congregations fled to IDP (internally displaced people) camps outside of Goma.  It was at this time, we were able to get Bibles to them.  God knows all things.  Had we given them Bibles earlier, they would have been lost in the war zone.  By Christmas of 2008, we provided some relief funds for displaced people in and around the city of Goma. Some of the funds went to purchase food, some for cooking utensils, and some for clothing.  Over the next year, families began to return to their homes in the mountains. Rebel groups still operate in the mountains, making the region unstable. 

The 40 former child soldiers became followers of Jesus while attending our youth discipleship camp that summer.  Fourteen of them did not have a home or family to return to, and some of them feared they would be reintegrated into the rebel groups or killed by them for deserting.  Equip Disciples has been supporting these young men by providing school fees, a place to live, food, and some vocational training in partnership with Beyond the Bridge Ministries.  We are currently trying to start a business for them so that they can be self-sustaining. This summer (2010), we plan to hold a youth Bible study for them and train them in some business skills to run this business.

Here are some descriptions of the different military and rebel groups operating in eastern DR Congo. All of the armed forces have committed war crimes:

  1. "Rebel" forces under Laurent Nkunda = CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People). Tutsi tribe, the tribe that is currently in power in Rwanda.
  2. Hutu militia = FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). The militia that carried out the Rwandan genocide in 1994 fled and remain in Congo. Sometimes work with government troops.
  3. Mai Mai "pro-government" militia. Heavily involved in traditional African religious witchcraft practices.
  4. Government forces = FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). Most of the troops are former militia members.
  5. UN peacekeepers = MONUC (Mission of the United Nations Organisation in Congo). 17,000 strong, with 3,000 more troops newly authorized.

In the summer of 2009, Equip Disciples lead a pastors conference on the border of DR Congo and Rwanda. One of our translators there learned our discipleship materials and led a conference for pastors in DR Congo last fall.  The materials are still in use in many churches through-out the region.

News - Current Events

18 militia groups agree to disarm
Further progress towards peace. 04/21/09
Volcanoes pending eruption
Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira on alert. 04/15/09
Christian Bikers Bike for Bibles
Christian Bikers in Scotland are raising funds for motorbikes and Bibles for distribution in Congo. 08/26/08
Pushing for Progress towards Peace
UN representative visits Goma and urges militia leaders to carry through with peace accord. 08/20/08
Grim Statistics for Congo
Survey of last 15-year nightmare in North Kivu and other provinces is sobering. See also alternative write-up or read the complete original study. 08/19/08
Threat of renewed violence
Groups said to be re-arming in the east. 08/01/08
Nkunda claims he wants peace
Tutsi leader says no dealings in minerals. 05/28/08
Rise in Spontaneous IDP Sites
North Kivu - more than 857,000 IDPs and more people being displaced all the time. 05/28/08
Some progress since the peace deal in January
Since the January peace deal and the agreement to pursue the FDLR, fighting has decreased in the Kivus, although human rights and the humanitarian situation have not improved. 05/08
FDLR child soldiers
These child soldiers have been bred on hatred for the current Tutsi dominated government of Rwanda. Their parents may have fled Rwanda after the genocide, or they may have been born in Congo. 05/08
Outlawing accusations against child witches
Audio report on the problem facing many street children in Congo: they have been driven out of their homes accused of being witches. Families often use this accusation to reduce the number of mouths they feed. Report is from Kinshasa, the capital, which is far away from eastern Congo where we are going; the actual problem is pervasive throughout Congo--including in the east. 03/08
Horror of Congo's forgotten war
TV report on North and South Kivu and the horrors resulting from 14 years of war in eastern Congo. This is the region we are headed to, although the report focuses on the issues in the countryside where the militias terrorize villages, not in the city. We will be in Goma, the capital of North Kivu. This report is a cumulative report of long term problems, and does not recognize recent positive trends. 03/27/08
AIDS and TB co-occur in Congo
Egg project feeds refugees
The Greatest Silence: Rape In The Congo
A chilling documentary chronicling the endemic sexual assault of women and girls in the DRC, will makes its broadcast debut April 8 on HBO. 03/17/08
UN Security Council demands that rebels disarm
FDLR militia who fled to Congo from Rwanda in 1994 after committing genocide must disarm. 03/13/08
Nkunda rejoins peace process
After a brief boycott to make a political point, Nkunda rejoins the peace implementation process. 03/04/08
Progress in implementing peace deal
UN representative welcomes progress. 02/11/08
5.4 million dead, 40,000 die each month due to effects of war
Report analyzes death toll since outbreak of the 1998 war. 01/22/08
01/23/2008 Peace deal signed
More than 20 rebel groups and several governments signed peace deal in Goma after several weeks of wrangling in peace conference. 01/23/08

Societal Issues

UNHCR Refugees magazine
Issue devoted mostly to Congo, several articles covering different issues. 01/07
Sexual violence in war
Blog on recent UN conference on women targeted by armed groups.
Rescuing Child Soldiers
Report from Save the Children in Goma rescuing children and seeking to help them reintegrate. You can also listen to the interview (mp3). See also an additional related report that provides many historical resources as well.
Controlled Logging
Use of Pygmies and GPS units to mark trees. See additional article on logging. 05/27/08
The roots of war in Eastern Congo
More detailed history of the conflict in Eastern Congo, listing several of the militias and armies that have been involved, and giving some sense of the fluid dynamics. 05/08
Forever in chains: The tragic history of Congo
Concise history of Congo from 19th century through 2006 election. 05/08
One dead gorilla is news a guerrilla war is not
Discussion of why there is so little news about ongoing conflict in Congo. 05/08
Conflict in Congo
Summary of current situation with links to recent news on the conflict and needs of Congo.
The Greatest Silence: Rape In The Congo
A chilling documentary chronicling the endemic sexual assault of women and girls in the DRC, will makes its broadcast debut April 8 on HBO. 03/17/08
AIDS and TB co-occur in Congo
Enslaved Pygmies in the Congo
Pygmies have traditionally been viewed as subhuman, so their enslavement is often tolerated. Progress is being made in freeing them from slavery. 03/06/08


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