Within just few days of resumption of war in eastern DRC, close to 200,000 innocent civilians have already been displaced.
No doubt majority of those trapped in the conflict and prone to human rights abuses are women and children.
Instead of enjoying dividends of having a new elected government, they are again scampering for their lives, losing track of their loved ones.
Congolese government forces are now using helicopter gunships against General Laurent Nkunda’s troops, and have ferried hundreds of soldiers to the frontline.
It is however a conflict involving not only government forces against troops loyal to a dissident general as many believe. It is broader than just those two camps.
It is a war involving Rwandan negative forces embodied in what is now called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
This group is known for nothing but the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and eventual atrocities committed against other peoples in the Great Lakes Region.
The group, once called ARIL, was blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.
Now reports indicate that these very genocidal troops are fighting alongside Congolese government forces, and they have been taking advantage of the volatile situation to access weaponry.
There is also increased tension along DRC borders with Uganda, following recent attacks on the Ugandan soil by among others FDLR militias.
The situation down south along the DRC-Burundi border is equally worrying owing to the renewed operations by FNL rebels fighting the Bujumbura government.
Earlier this year, Rwanda mediated in the talks between DRC and Nkunda, although things seem to be going back to square one. Those talks prompted Kinshasa to hesitate to put Nkunda rebels on the common list of the most wanted persons during a previous meeting of the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission, a four-nation platform, backed by both the US and the UN.
In the interest of regional peace, both the Congo government and Nkunda should seek a peaceful settlement of their differences. The recent formation of mixed brigades from both sides was a positive step in the right direction, which needs to be consolidated.
The UN Mission in Congo, Monuc, should play its neutral role in such a situation. Regional leaders should not sit back but urge the warring parties to talk peace, but more importantly ensure that negative forces operating in DRC are disarmed and repatriated to their respective countries.