Deployment Stories: Assessing Conflict in Eastern Congo

May 19, 2009

Jason Lewis Berry serves in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

My name is Jason Lewis Berry. I’m with the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization in the Planning Division. I deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and that was in November of 2008. This was a scoping mission to see how S/CRS might be able to support Embassy Kinshasa’s efforts to bring stability in Eastern Congo. During this deployment, we met with a wide range of stakeholders, both U.S. Government, international community, and Congolese Government officials, as well as NGOs, and tried to get a better picture of what exactly S/CRS can bring to the table to assist in the very complex issues in Congo.

The conditions in Congo – they vary. We certainly spent some time in Kinshasa in the capital. And in that place, we were working at the Embassy and staying in a hotel. But in Eastern Congo, we were based in Goma. That’s a much less stable area. We still stayed at a hotel, but the security conditions were much different.

DRC is an interesting place. It’s a place I had worked before, prior to this deployment. The – it’s always nice to see a connection to what you’re trying to help in the long run. So while most of our work on this particular mission involved talking with the experts in the field from the different agencies and the different international partners, we were also able to go to, for example, IDP camps and see how this instability is affecting people on the ground and get a better idea of what their needs were and how we might be able to help in the strategic picture.

This was a useful deployment in that we came back with a better idea of what the U.S. Government is trying to do in DRC and what international partners are trying to do and how we can work together. And I think that’s a key thing for future deployments and something that I’d be happy to do again in the future. We are still looking at what kind of additional expertise S/CRS and its interagency partners would be able to provide to Embassy Kinshasa.

Related Entries: Watch Ambassador Herbst discuss the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization and the Civilian Response Corps or read more Deployment Stories.



June 24, 2009

Solomon in Madagascar writes:

Mr president of the USA
Mm secretary Clinton
The all Army of the USA
the all people of the USA


to be the terrorism section and group terrorism International not stop sabotage us corespondence , Also we need to beging us hard war
For confurme us stability on Strategy of war and for stability of strategy politic and dipomacy in the world we need let and we need use the Israel Army execution us hard war use for destroy total the us enemy terrorism International.
Confurme acompany of the Russian Union and the Israel State and we need renforcement for Isarel on all material Armement and comunication and protection on Inter-mussil and Anti-mussil and Armour satelite and Air Force use for the Israel winn on execution us mission of us hard war and peace and for destroy total the us enemy Country terrorism International resposability the action atanta and all war to became to kill many people not victim in the world.
Confurme us coperation on security defence and on protection Inter-mussial and Anti-mussil for me and Madagascar Nation.
Mr president I confudence of you and USA high technology security defence .
to be I'm on time wait your support and help I'm go to the USA for giv e us and US009 new strategy of war use for we can to get into the all defit Inter-economic and iself and to defend total in the world and for remove the force and strong of USA on above place and number one in the world on economic and defence.
I'm confurme for we are the winn and next president in the Madagascar State .
We not stop as far as the Union States of the USA are building in the five contunent.
Thank very much
The God us protege
Your coperation


James W.
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
May 21, 2009

James in the D.R.C. writes:

My name is James W. I work for Search For Common Ground in Eastern Congo. Every day I wake up to go to work, I feel very strongly that Congolese work so hard for so little. Meaning their effort is often frustrated by the insecurity and conflict in Eastern Congo.

This experience brings me to what is happening in Kenya. The results of December 2007 elections in Kenya caused so much suffering and death to many Kenyans. It excited ethnic animosity and polarised the Kenya community from the Cardinal, the Mufti, the politician, academician to the local person in the community. Why? this was because the Kenyan government has continued to govern by nepotism, tribalism, corruption, arbitrary killing and marginalizing other Kenyans. For example it is a sorry state that the government considers ones ethnicity in employement, appointments and service delivery. This is what is making other Kenyans angry against one particular ethnic group. It is not possible that while we fought hard to change leadership in Kenya that was behaving in the same way, we got a government that was then in opposition fighting the ills that it is practising today and has even perfected the decay.

It is simple logic that when a country engages in nepotism, tribalism, cartels, corruption, it is no longer a country, it is a failed state. That is what Kenya is today. We need to be able to put pressure on the Kenya government to ensure equity, professionalism in its service delivery. The coalition government that was forged by force on Kenyans when we know who won the election is bringing untold suffering to Kenya.
We recommend that the international community continues to put pressure on the Kenya government to form the electoral commission like yesterday. To push for Judicial reforms, put pressure on the Kenyan President to act on safeguarding human life-especially the Mungiki menace that he is not dealing with because he hopes to use the militia to terrorise Kenyans during election. The government dealt with SLDF on Mount Elgon why shouldn't deal with Mungiki? The answer is simply a mypic view that they are Kikuyu youths who are unemployed, as if unemployement only targets Kikuyus in Kenya to warrant them to flout the law, extort money from people and kill them when they do not collaborate. I do not intend to demonise the Kikuyu but for some members of an ethnic group to feel more entitled than any other is a recipe for war. And to have a common ground for peace truth must be told sometimes as it is that the President and his cabinet are unwilling to deal with Mungiki on the score of being Kikuyu-it is that unfortunate. Mount Elgon was surrounded, a curfew instilled and the militia dealt with even forcefully, not the best approach, but it created order for other approaches to peace to begin. The government will not deal with a menacing group that is beheading people, raping women, extorting, recruiting children in its rank and file. For the last 2 months up to 200 people have been killed by this gang and other revenge attacks. This can not be allowed to go on.
It is this kind of stuff that just worries any Kenyan who wants to engage in honest meaningful employement that such a government exists, continues to tax the citizens, loot from it, and abuse it, such a government is the unfortunate government we have in Kenya. Kenyans hoped for a common ground but what they got is a common grave.

Michigan, USA
May 22, 2009

Matt in Michigan writes:

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,

On a related note:

You have been selected as an Invited Dignitary to the 'This is How it Ends' Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. on June 22-23 to participate in an incredible opportunity to bring together the American public and their representatives to urge an end to the conflict in Northern Uganda - which as you know has had dramatic intersections with the difficulties in eastern Congo.

As an American citizen who has long been following these conflicts and is persistently moved by the suffering of the Central African people - particularly the children - at the hands of the vicious Lord's Resistance Army, I urge you to attend and demonstrate your commitment to advocating a continued United States effort to apprehending Joseph Kony and bringing him to the ICC for trial of crimes against humanity.

This longest running war in Africa must stop. The destruction of Africa's future generations must stop. You have it in your power to persuade our President to understand how the American people - particularly our own young people - are deeply moved by these atrocities and refuse to remain silent and immobile in the face of them.

Thank You,

Matt from Michigan


Latest Stories