The hills around the DRC provincial town of Goma, have for the last several days, been the theatre of another round of internecine strife.
Thousands of people are again on the move, displaced by fighting that they have not had a say in, the tranquility of their hills shattered by the sound of gunfire.
The problems in the Kivu have preoccupied the minds of the international community to the extent that it sent the biggest peacekeeping force under the UN flag, MONUC, to bring some semblance of calm.
It would not be an understatement to say that MONUC failed miserably in its mission but was instead sucked into the conflict and took sides in the fighting. Now there are more calls to increase UN troops to keep the peace based on arguments the current force is overstretched.
MONUC and the UN should have learnt a lesson from its Force Commander who has just hung his blue helmet: It is not numbers that count, but how those available are deployed and to what purpose. Any other force that goes to eastern Congo without a clear vision on how to tackle the Kivu problem is also bound to fail.
The problem of the current insecurity should be addressed from its source; the marauding foreign militias who have turned Congo into a “Wild West” where the rule of the gun is supreme.
MONUC or whatever force is sent to the eastern DRC should address the issue of FDLR and company once and for all (as the UN Security Council has instructed but failed to implement).
It is not the diplomats in New York who are suffering in the open air, displayed away from their homes, it is not their women being raped or their children denied education, otherwise they would have taken a more firm approach in dealing with the FDLR/ Interahamwe menace in DRC.
The populations in the eastern part of this God forsaken country need a break, and the international community is capable of heeding that call.