Anarchy Rules Desperate Congo

In country's east, rebels and army abandon citizens
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2008 5:55 AM CST
Displaced people yesterday bury a woman who died the previous day of complications from diabetes and malaria near a refugee camp in Bulengo, near Goma, in eastern Congo.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Bewildered residents in eastern Congo talk of the "front line" separating rebel territory from areas controlled by the army. But no such line exists—only a jumble of unstable, chaotic territories with no checkpoints or fortifications, reports the New York Times. While a ceasefire between the two sides seems to be holding, residents of the troubled limbo zone are sinking into desperation.

Eastern Congo, for all purposes, is in a state of anarchy. Neither the rebels nor the Congolese government is in charge. In the hollowed-out cities, children roam the streets because no authority has reopened schools. Many have refused to return home, staying in tent cities that stretch for miles. One trusting refugee said he was waiting for the government to give the order to return home.