Friday, June 02, 2006

CNN Exclusive: DR Congo President Joseph Kabila interviewed about mass rapes in the Kivus

CNNI Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange has scooped a rare interview with the Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. The video footage is airing today in Europe as a follow-up to the riveting report by Koinange on May 26th about the mass rape victims of Bukavu and other eastern DRC cities, towns, and villages. Femi Oke of the CNN Inside Africa program will hopefully air this report again this weekend. As I am writing this post the CNN Website team has finally published the story with video file to the Web:

Congo president on military rapes: ‘Unforgivable’ – CNN May 31, 2006

During the interview Jeff (we’re on a first name basis) visits President Kabila at his compound in Lubumbasha and shows him the video footage from the May 26th CNN broadcast. Sitting at an outdoor garden table with Jeff’s Apple notebook computer in front of him President Kabila displays a look of shock and disgust as he views the testimony of a 15 year old boy who was gang-raped by soldiers that had first killed both of his parents, then raped his two young sisters to death, before starting in on him for hours or days. The boy says that he was sodomized by at least 20 uniformed soldiers who had told him when they seized him and tore off his clothing that his “sisters had not satisfied them”. This youngster was only 12 years old at the time of his rape. The surgery and medical care needed to restore the young man back to health took more than 6 months. He is presently living in the temporary custody of a local minister and the women of his community. This unfortunate young man is now psychologically scarred for life because of this senseless brutality.

Koinange asked the young president about how he feels after viewing this report and President Joseph Kabila replied after a long pause, “Shocked!” President Kabila was then asked what he would do if such acts were carried out against his own twin sister, mother, or six-year old daughter and he replied, “You already know the answer to that [question].” Kabila went on to say that over 300 soldiers of the Congolese Armed Forces and rebel militias had already been prosecuted for such crimes in the DRC, in stark contrast to various reports by human rights groups i.e. Amnesty International (Congo report 2005, AI DRC report library) and separate investigations by the United Nations and MONUC.

President Kabila, who served under his late father Laurent Désiré Kabila as a military commander in the two Congo Civil Wars and later went for advanced military studies to the People’s Republic of China’s National Defense University (there’s that China-Africa Win-Win policy again) also stated in the CNN interview:


"It's shameful that soldiers anywhere are allowed to do such things," he said. "That's why I want to be president. I want to change this. I want to make security one of my first priorities so that these and other acts come to an end once and for all."


I can only say, “So do we the people of the world, Mr. President. We demand that you do everything possible to bring an end to this indescribable violence against innocent women and children in your country. Just let us know how we can best help you. Keep on talking with us.”

Below are links to additional information about the crisis in the eastern DR Congo provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. Pay particular attention to CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper’s blog report on the victims of mass rape being treated at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu and please note the special work being done by the Goma Film Project where our friend and fellow blogger Louis Ableman has devoted so much time and energy to help the victims of mass rape in Goma.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° blog
Gang raped and mutilated but still praising God – May 25, 2006


CNN International
Rape, brutality ignored to aid Congo peace – CNN May 26, 2006
Congo president on military rapes: ‘Unforgivable’ – CNN May 31, 2006
CNN Inside Africa program with host Femi Oke

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Democratic Republic of Congo
Kinshasa

Relief Web Maps of the DR Congo: (see maps)


Contact DR Congo President Joseph Kabila at his official website and let him know that you read this post and saw him on the web and on CNN and that we are all hopping mad about what’s going down in the eastern DR Congo. And while you’re at it, ask him to get some English language pages up on his website. After all, his English skills were very good today on CNN. Indeed.


Technorati Tags:

18 comments:

Imnakoya said...

Thanks a million BRE for shedding light of the evil acts inflicted by Africans on their brethren. These are shameful acts, and are despicable and the most evil acts ever!

Honestly, it is hard to not believe that all hope is lost as regards Africa. Why has the issue of ethnicity been some devasting on this continent? Why are there issues that seem to defy all logic and solutions? Why have our leaders grown thick skins and impotent in addressing the core issues in the land? It seems they have not only lost their minds- their souls are gone too!

Does the solution lie in economic and political empowerment of the people? Maybe. Things shave gone so bad that there appears to be no clear-cut solutions to the anachy and evil the have enveloped the African regions.

Black River Eagle said...

I'm a little pressed for time today Imnakoya so I cannot respond as I would like to your questions. One thing is for sure, it is going to take a lot of work and time to sort these kind of problems out between the various ethnic groups and other interest groups and individuals in this huge country and in the African Great Lakes region.

I have a suspicion that horrific violence between ethnic groups and other elements in this region may have a very long history___ perhaps for centuries. It is certainly time right now to put a stop to it once and for all. The DR Congo needs a well educated, honest, and very strong leader to emerge from the upcoming national elections in July, but the pickin's are looking a bit slim if you ask me. Let's see how the young President Kabila and other DRC politicians handle this violence by their own government soldiers and police and how they respond to the enormous increase in international outrage and media attention.

There are plenty of reasons to have great hope for Africa. Don't let these atrocities taking place in one country or region speak for all the people of 54 different and distinct nations. You want to find the tangible hope for sub-Saharan Africa, just go look into the mirror for starters, and then re-read your own writing for the past several months. It's people like yourself that give all of us hope here in the blogosphere. Don't you dare give up. Damnit!

The Humanity Critic said...

when I read that I felt overwhelming sadness, Very informative.

TheMalau said...

Ah, BRE, sooooo many things to say, that I do not think it would be productive to blurt it all here.

First of all, a little jab at you: Congo's official language is French, as much as you hate the French. It is normal that the countyry's top website be in French. Kabila speaks English better than he does French because he was raised in Anglophone East Africa. That has actually been a major popular argument against him. It is about time that people who speak english learn other languages. Whoever said there was something wrong with multi-linguism? Why do we (non-english speakers) ALWAYS have to conform? :)

Okay, that is one thing. On the CNN stories... I was not shocked, strangely enough. Not at all. THese are things that have been going on for 8 years now, and we all knew about it. Some people - including, unfortunately, President Kabila - simply chose to hide their heads in the sand, and that is their burden.

Now Kabila and Amnesty International are not contradicting each other, actually. Kabila talked about 200 people. The fact is, there are thousands of soldiers doing this, both in the FARDC, and in the rebel groups. So 200 is very little, and I can understand that various inquiries would say that not enough is being done.

Like on every other continent, there is a long history of conflicts between ethnic groups, chiefdoms, kingdoms, and empires in Africa. No one with half a brain would even dare to oppose that, as we know that humans have been at humans' throats since the dawn of time. I only object to the characterization that has been made of violence in Africa, as the result of a savage, inferior, uneducated people, that simply couldn't help themselves: brutal and senseless violence is in their genes. Well if it is, it is in all humans' genes; because I see no higher moral value to the bloody massacres and rapes that went on during the wars of Europe's formative years : 100 years war, the crusades, the various pogroms, etc. So yeah, humans are violent, and yes it needs to be curbed. But Africans are not any more genetically prone to violence than anybody else.

As far as hope is concerned, despite all the crises, I am still very hopeful that things will change in Africa. We have only been at it for 40-50 years, give us a break! And 30 of those years were under Cold war policies... In an ideal world I would say that the West should stop looking at its own material interests for half-a-second, and stop playing favorites on the basis of who will guarantee their access to certain particular resources. But we do not live in that world, so I will say that the West should at the very least take human death - any human death, White, black, Arab, Jewish or other - as equally valuable, and worthy of protection, as natural resources. Is that too much to ask?

Black River Eagle said...

Ouch Ali (the Malau)!!!

That's funny, it was just this morning that I was having some of the very same thoughts that you present here. Your statements about humans having a very long history of brutality and savagery toward one another is correct.

If you don't mind I will follow-up on this interesting comment of yours a bit later. Pressed for time at the moment.

Where did you ever get the idea that I hate the French??? I often challenge the pundits and politicians of France on a variety of issues, but hate them? Non! Ich bitte dich. Read my previous post about "An evening on the Mississippi..." to better understand my family's long realtionship with the French.

P.S. I am fluent in 3 languages and can comprehend at least 3 more AND I acquired these skills in American public schools. So cut the crap about people who speak English need to learn other languages. Our elementary school teachers got us started with the French language in the 4th grade.

P.S.S. Dear readers, Ali (the Malau) is a dear online friend and blogger from the DR Congo (Kinshasa) so don't be upset with the tone of our "conversation". We are both simply passionate about this subject the Congo, as we should be.

Michoko said...

Done !
Wrote a mail to Kabila and asked for an english ersion of his website ... come on, Ali, wether we like it or not, english is the international language (but chinese is well on the way ...)
I was horrified by the situation in Kivu. I thought about you yesterday evening, BRE, (lol) because I watched a documentary on Arte about children soldiers in Uganda. It is just unbearable. But as Ali, I am positive about the future on the african continent.

Black River Eagle said...

Wow. It is so good to see readers pickup on the crisis with mass rape victims in the eastern DRC. Michoko, I might CALL President Joseph Kabila on the phone to help get this mess sorted out. This young man needs to know that plenty of people care about his country and his people AND that he personally needs to do a lot more to empower the people of the DRC so they can better help themselves.

To be fair I have been working on more "Good News" stories about the DR Congo, because there is some good news coming out of this vast, troubled country if you just bother to look for it.

If you want to see some really interesting journalism about the eastern DRC, checkout "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone" blog from October 3-14, 2005 over at Yahoo! News. I noted that just one of his excellent reports and posts had more than 1699 comments from readers around the world. Here is the link:
http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs1152

I also found some text and video footage of in-depth interviews with President Laurent Desire Kabila (Jan. 2000) and with President Joseph Kabila (Feb. 2001) during their respective visits to New York and Washington D.C. These reports are still available over at the PBS Online Newshour website. Interesting to listen to what they said back then and compare it to what is still happening in certain provinces in the DRC and to what President Joseph Kabila said during the recent interview by Jeff Koinange on CNN.

Yes, there is still Hope for Africa Honey. Hope is in the House!

Anonymous said...

Reading such sad stories about these mass rapes or the "African World War" makes one feel like crying. And it's good to know that some people still care about the "lost continent". I agree that there is still hope for Africa and blogs like yours are one of the reasons for that hope. So thanks a lot for this great site!

Paul13

http://napauleon.typepad.com/nobloodforsauerkraut/

Black River Eagle said...

Heads Up Y'all!

Shay of the Booker Rising blog over in Chicago points us to a Washington D.C. based NGO named "Friends of the Congo". The organization has written a critique about the TIME Magazine June 5th cover story "The World's Deadliest War", that readers who follow news and reports about the DR Congo may find both informative and interesting. Here is the link:
http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/time_critique.php

You can visit the FOTC website at the following URL:
www.friendsofthecongo.org

DELMO said...

It's very disgracing to see a young President without a vision leading a big country like Congo.Can you imagine being a president of country answering in a question like that.that is horible.No President in this world can enswer a question...Who is in charge ? Is not him ,why he says if elected president he will eradicate this evils acts.Why not now .Any responsable governement after aving nolege of the issue will take action imediatly...No one will wait to investigate the issue and to condamne those responsable of this attrocity...It show clairely that Joseph Kabila thasn't contol the Democratic Republic of Congo...He knows the game is plying ...to use rape of propaganda war by is own Army...It chamefull...He as to leave Congo before it's to late.He is not congolise,he is not the son of the late president Desire Kabila who was killed by Joseph kabila...The first son of Desire Kabila is known by Etienne Kabila in exile in Sout Africa sait that he was adopted from D. Kabila Rwandese girl friend,he doesn't have congolese blood...It time for him to leave the Congo in peace now before it's to late

Zebol said...

Joseph Kabila is responsible for all the rape charges comited by members of is army because he doesn't investigate the issue in his gouvernement...He doesn't care..Only think he has to said is if I'm elected president I wiil eradicate all these acts...What's he is doing now ? He is not the president ??

Black River Eagle said...

First of all I want to thank Zebol and Delmo for stopping by to read this blog post about the interview with President Joseph Kabila and for leaving your respective comments. I assume that you are both Congolese nationals or ex-pats living abroad and it is important for me to have your views alongside those of others from around the world who visit here regularly.

Yes, it is very disturbing to learn that President Joseph Kabila did not seem to know about the extent of the atrocities committed by members of the DR Congo military and national police. What is important now is to follow-up on what actions he takes against the perpetrators of such violence, and how fast he acts. The number one job for any national leader is to provide security for the people of his or her nation. Without security from violence and war, you have nothing.

Delmo, many of us who follow news about the DR Congo are aware that Joseph Kabila's nationality and parentage is a big issue for many people of the DRC. However what the people of the DRC need to focus on now is who will be the best person to lead their nation after the elections of July 30th. This leadership is not only reserved for the office of President, but the parliamentary elections are equally if not more important. After all, the Parliament is the body that must create and vote upon the laws that govern the people of the DRC. Presidents come and go if they abide by the term limits as set out in the new constitution, whereas democratically elected Members of Parliament can stay in office and be of service to their nation for many years.

People all around the world want the DR Congo to have free and fair and peaceful elections and also want to see the people of the Congo finally be able to move forward after so many years of suffering under poor governance and rampid exploitation of their natural wealth and their human labor. It is time for the DR Congo (Zaire) to move forward and not be threatened yet again by people who seek to solve their problems and disagreements through violence and atrocities.

Expressions such as "...Kabila should leave Congo before it is too late" is a veiled threat that does not belong in the vocabulary of people seeking progress and peace in this vast, beautiful African country. I am certain that you will agree with me on this Delmo, and refrain from using such words in representing your points of view at this blog in the future. Thank you for your compliance in advance.

Peace and prosperity for the people of the DR Congo, and Good Luck at the polls in July 2006.

Black River Eagle said...

International Crisis Group has just released a new report on the positive impact of women in peacebuilding efforts in the Sudan, DR Congo, and Uganda. The report is titled "Beyond Victimhood: Women's Peacebuilding Efforts in the Sudan, DRC, and Uganda". The June 28th executive summary and full report download is available at the ICG website:
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4185

The inclusion and involvement of women in all aspects and at all levels of peacebuilding is critical to the success of these efforts in the Sudan, the DR Congo, and in Uganda. Period.

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

We would like to invite you to our special coverage of Election in Democratic Republic of Congo

Human Rights Watch has been documenting human rights abuses in Democratic Republic of Congo for number of years. Please click here to find additional information about our work on Congo (http://hrw.org/campaigns/drc/2006/katanga/slideshow.htm)

We came across your blog while searching online for blogs covering Congo. We are sending this invitation to a small group of bloggers who we thought might want to use our content to highlight human rights issues concerning people in Congo. Please let us know if you would like us to send updates about our work on a regular basis. We would be glad to add your name to our list. We hope that you will excuse us for sending one unsolicited email.

Thanking you in advance,
Lisa Okun (afr_ik2@hrw.org)
Human Rights Watch, Africa Division


Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Lisa for stopping by to visit and to leave a comment on HRW's latest report on the DRC. Your presence is always welcome here and feel free to leave updates for myself and my readers about Human Rights Watch programs and activities in the DR Congo.

I'll include a reference to your message and HRW programs in my next posting about the DR Congo which is due sometime this week. Please do stay in touch with us.

Tsholo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Black River Eagle said...

Thank you Tsholo for your kind words (see comment below this one). Does Joseph Kabila have a university doctorate degree?

It's been several months since this report last aired. I wonder if the situation in the Kivus and elsewhere in the DRC has started to show some improvement? I wonder...

Note that I have reposted your comment below and have removed your personal information for your own safety online. Thanks again for visiting Jewels today.

Black River Eagle said...

tsholo said...

Hi Dr Kabila. I'd like to say that it is sickening that the world can twist your words and intentions to suit their needs. I'm behind you all the way. I'm a young South African woman who is interested in Africa and its well being. Should you be in my country, please let me know. Maybe I can help you see the world from an ordinary African citizen's view.

March 05, 2007 3:21 PM