Democratic Republic of Congo

Rebels have set up a de facto administration in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said as the Security Council urged a political solution to the crisis rather than applying sanctions. Ladsous briefed the 15-member Security Council after his recent visit to Congo, or the DRC, and Rwanda, which has been accused by Kinshasa and UN experts of supporting the M23 rebel group. Kigali has repeatedly denied any involvement in the crisis.

Will the West’s decision to endorse Joseph Kabila in the recent controversial DRC presidential election withstand the test of time? Is Kabila in a suitable position to guarantee peace and stability in the DRC for another five years, as the West seems to believe? The West’s intent to return to ‘business as usual’ with Kabila appears to be not only an improvident decision, but also, a clear expression of its double-standards.

'It’s possible that two children died so that you could have that mobile phone,' says Jean-Bertin, a 34-year-old Congolese activist who wants to end the 'absolute silence' around the crimes committed in his country to exploit strategic raw materials like coltan. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has at least 64 per cent of worldwide reserves of coltan, the colloquial African name for a dull black ore composed of two minerals, columbite and tantalite.

Since the start of the month the death toll of the Ebola outbreak in the north-east has climbed from 15 to 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, defining the situation 'serious'. Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the Geneva-based agency, stressed that 'it is unusual that the first person to be infected was a health worker'. The areas affected by the outbreak are Isiro and Viadana (70km apart), in the Eastern Province (north-east).

There has been a big push to lower political temperatures in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but President Joseph Kabila could emerge weaker, and his silent dependence on his East African neighbours to hold on to power could deepen. The conflict in eastern DR Congo that flared up recently, threatened to suck several countries into a new war, and set neighbouring Rwanda on a collision course with its international allies, improved quickly over the past week.