Warlord returns to Southeastern Congo

According to an article by the Washington Post, the return of Kyungu “Gedeon” Mutanga, a warlord who broke out of jail last year, has spread fear in Southeastern Congo, which has led thousands to flee the area.

Aid workers say, as a result, so far, 12,500 people have been displace, 1,000 children are malnourished, 10 women have been raped by his Mai Mai militia and 25 people have died in the Katanga province.

In 2009, Mutanga was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity and rape. However, he escaped from jail in September 2011. Despite the $100,000 bounty on his head, he is still at large.

Aid workers are calling for humanitarian aid for the people who have been displaced. The minister of the interior of the province, Dikanga Kazadi, said they are evaluating the situation and they are in touch with aid partners in order to get assistance quickly. They are also planning a counterattack against Mutanga and his militia. However, they believe it is too early to call it a humanitarian crisis.

While I believe this could be true. I also believe that early warning signs need to be taken seriously. Too often has the international community ignored these signs- like with the famine in Somalia- only to see that in hind sight they should have acted sooner. Like I have said before, we must learn from our past mistakes.  We must learn that acting sooner will not have negative ramifications.  It will only resolve the conflict and/or crisis sooner with not as many lives lost.

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About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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