Following the recent fighting in eastern Congo between government forces and Tutsi rebel forces that has forced 250,000 people from their homes, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to travel to the war-ravaged country in an effort to end the ongoing fighting and has named former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as his special envoy to the region.
Ban Ki-moon who has vowed to tackle and settle the issue in Congo said that the conflict along the Rwanda and Congolese border has gone on too long and has catastrophic consequences if not handled expertly.
According to reports, the UN boss is expected to hold talks with both Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
While as many as 50,000 displaced people reached Goma, many others have tried to return to their homes on foot without safe shelter, food or water.
The recent rebel offensive was exacerbated by a wave of killing, looting and raping by retreating Congolese soldiers.
Although the UK have held back from sending troops to Congo, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the international community must not allow Congo to become another Rwanda where over an estimated 800,000 people died in cause of the genocide, which is seen as the origin of the current conflict across the border today.
Tutsi rebel leader Nkunda says he is fighting to protect his Tutsi community from attacks by Rwandan Hutu rebels, some of whom are accused of having taken part in the genocide.
There have also been accusations of collusion between DR Congo’s army and Hutu guerrillas.
However the visit of UN leader Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the presence of diplomats from France and the UK and the high publicity has given the people of Congo some hope as the country has not seen this level of international attention for years – which is one reason why this conflict has been lingering for so long.