|Africa News Digest
Key Chaos Operative in Eastern Congo Arrested in Rwanda
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on Jan. 20 began a joint military operation against rebel operations in North Kivu province in eastern Congo. The joint force headed towards the headquarters of Laurent Nkunda, leader of a rebel movement, National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). Last night, Nkunda was arrested in Rwanda, where he had reportedly fled to escape the Congo-Rwanda operation.
The arrest has been welcomed by the U.S. State Department, while the London-influenced press, primed for a drawn-out conflict in the region, is describing the developments that led to Nkunda's arrest as "startling."
Before a trip by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to Congo and Rwanda, beginning Nov. 1, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British government Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, who has responsibility for Africa and the UN, and is a close collaborator of George Soros, had indicated that contingency plans were to be drawn up for the deployment of a European Union forceincluding U.K. troopsto support the UN. Malloch-Brown went to Congo and Rwanda, Nov. 17-21.
Nkunda broke a ceasefire agreement on Aug. 28, seized a larger area of the province, and carried out atrocities against civilians, which again engulfed the province in conflict. Nkunda, reportedly born in Congo, fought with the movement in Rwanda which became the present Rwandan government, and received backing from Rwanda when he returned to Kivu, to counter the Hutu extremists who participated in the anti-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Other Rwandan Hutus who fled Rwanda are also resident in Kivu. Nkunda's rebellion in Kivu against the Congo government, was the key factor that made Malloch-Brown so certain that there would be a protracted conflict in the region, just as the Obama Administration took power.
Nkunda and the Hutu rebels supported themselves by stealing Kivu's minerals with artisanal mines. However, when it became clear that the London financial cartel was blaming both Congo and Rwanda for the destabilization, the two countries instead chose to begin bilaterally working to improve their relations, outside of any UN framework, or mediation by Malloch-Brown.
The two countries are set to re-establish diplomatic relations, according to African sources, and have set up mechanisms to deal with problems in the province. Nkunda was opposed to this Rwanda-Congo deal, and a large part of the leadership of his militia defected and wrested control away from him, collaborating instead with the joint operation. Congo now has recovered the territory he had controlled as his own fiefdom.
Kenya Faces Famine Conditions
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)More than 10 million Kenyans (of a population of 34 million) face hunger or even starvation, according to the Nation Jan. 18, and wire reports. The sudden escalation of prices for food, animal feed, fertilizer, and gasoline, in combination with poor harvests in some places, led President Mwai Kibaki to declare a national disaster Jan. 17. Ethnic violence in the December 2007 election contributed to the problem by disrupting the supply chain and displacing large numbers of people, many of whom remain displaced, with attendant reduction in tillage. In the past 90 days, the government has distributed 280,000 tons of food, and plans to import 5 million bags of corn in the next five months.
Lonrho Moves into African Food Production
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)Lonrho, a company very close to the British Crown, has leased 62,500 acres of rice fields in northern Angola, and is negotiating for two even bigger leases in Mali and Malawi. The Angola lease is for 50 years, and will bring back into cultivation lands that were abandoned during the Angolan Civil War. Lonrho will redevelop the land in cooperation with Angolan government agencies, will pay royalties on its production, and will orient, at least initially, to domestic consumption. Angola is using its oil revenue to diversify the economy, and is providing financing for the project.
Lonrho has also just been appointed exclusive distributor for John Deere, the giant agricultural equipment manufacturer, in Angola. Lonrho also markets bottled water in Angola and other African countries.
Lonrho's negotiations for agro-business in Mali and Malawi are also for rice productionin Mali, on the inland delta of the Niger River upstream from Timbuktu, and in Malawi on the shores of Lake Malawi. If these negotiations succeed, Lonrho will have African agricultural projects totalling 375,000 acres. Lonrho executive chairman David Lenigas says, "This is just the start."
Meanwhile, Daewoo has a deal to produce food on 3.25 million acres in Madagascar for consumption in South Korea. In southern Sudan, an unnamed "former Wall Street banker" has obtained a deal for use of 1 million acres.