About a month ago, I wrote about the ongoing problems in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was disturbed by the suggestion that international aid should go to the Congolese army and the various militias that are causing the region's instability, especially after finding a Human Rights Watch report that claimed that war criminals were being promoted. However, this article from the Guardian by Casey Kauffman tries to put the issue in a much clearer light:
Brassage is the process of assimilating militiamen into a single national army. Militia groups who had been enemies come together and cooperate in working towards national unity. The Congolese consider it one of the most important steps in moving towards stable society and normality.
The former militiamen walk around half-dressed but fully armed, hungry, in the midst of a cholera outbreak. Amid burned and abandoned buildings, curious teenage soldiers emerge to laugh at us and then tell us how they feel. As they talk they get more riled.
They feel neglected; some by the government, others by the militia commanders, now involved in political manoeuvring to determine what riches DRC's new political arrangement will bring them. All of them point to their precarious living conditions.