Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dongo Crisis Timeline

Below is also a picture of Odjani, the leader of the militia, sitting in the middle in robes.

1946 - The colonial administration intervenes following an outbreak of violence between Inyelle and Manzaya over fishing ponds.

1972 - A number of Manzaya are arrested for illegally fishing in Inyelle ponds and the two ethnic groups are ordered to fish jointly.
2001 – A Boba Territorial Administrator organizes elections in Dongo and unsuccessfully attempts to ensure a victory for his tribe at the expense of the native Lobala.
2007 - A Monzaya man and his Boba wife are caught fishing illegally and beaten up. The lack of justice leads the Manzaya to unilaterally seize the ponds from the Inyelle.
February 2009 - After the Inyelle’s final attempt to negotiate with the Manzaya fails, they solicit the support of the witchdoctor Ibrahim Mangbama who sends his son Odjani.
March 31, 2009 – The Inyelle forcefully gain access to the ponds and drive the Manzaya away through Odajni’s leadership.
June 18, 2009 – The Manzaya counter-attack against the Inyelle killing two and kidnapping one girl.
July 4, 2009 – Odjani leads a massive operation to burn down the entire village of Manzaya and driving its population away.
July 25, 2009 – Another provincial governmental delegation, including the Minister of the Interior, seeks to mediate the conflict and deploys 60 FARDC soldiers to the zone.
August 20, 2009 – The Chief of Army Staff, the Commander of the 3rd Military region, and the District Commissioner are unsuccessful in attempts to meet with Odjani.
October 21, 2009 – Ojdani troops come at night to pillage the cigarette factory in Dongo centre leaving a message that that all non-Lobala were to leave immediately.
October 28, 2009 – Odjani’s militia attacks Dongo centre killing between 250 and 500 civilians. November 13, 2009 – A rapid reaction force of the police moves to Dongo centre along with Ghanaian peacekeepers.
November 26, 2009 – Odjani’s militia attack Dongo centre again, driving out the Congolese police, shooting at a MONUC helicopter, and stealing a Ghanaian armored personnel vehicle.
December 8, 2009 – The Belgian-trained commandos of the FARDC defeat the insurgents at Bobito, only 60 kms from Gemena.
January 1, 2010 – The commandos and the 81st Bde formed by the South Africans attack the insurgents killing a reported 157 insurgents at the village of Inyelle.


Alex Engwete said...

Thanks a lot for this series of posts on the Dongo conflict. And, btw, why do you choose to write "Inyelle" instead of "Enyele"?... Americans tend to turn the "e" in African languages into the English "ee" (Ebola for example is pronounced "eebola")... Again, thanks for the interview with "primary sources" and the timeline.

Jason Stearns said...

Good question - that's how my interviewees wrote it. But I guess that an American pronouncing "Inyelle" would be closer to a Congolese pronunciation of the word than "Enyele."

Unknown said...

Hey Alex, Thanks so much for making the effort to translate this interview into French. Really appreciate it!

On the use of "Inyelle," we opted for this because the chef-lieu of Lobala-Tanda Groupement, where they come from, uses this spelling. The same goes for the chef-lieu of Bomboli groupement, which is "Manzaya." There appeared to be a pattern of referring to the Lobala ethnic group by the principal village in their groupement, but I could be wrong.

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