Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies 

The Great Lakes region continues to move towards resolving its security issues. The hallmark for the region is increased cooperation between the countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes. With the exception of the FDLR, one-by-one armed groups are being moved towards disarmament.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues establishing its new government and, as expected, this has been met with political opposition but not armed opposition. This alone is a signal of a sea change in the DRC. CEAR does not anticipate a scenario that would drive a reversal of the region’s improving security trend.

However, further progress will require additional effort in three areas:

  1. Extension of state authority and reinforcement of border areas.
  2. Continued cooperation of regional states
  3. Final disarmament of the FDLR and LRA

Human Security remains fragile in the region with a lack of infrastructure to diminish weather related risks; therefore, food security will continue to affect the most vulnerable zones. Although this is not a current factor, food insecurity continues to have the potential to produce a conflict over resources.

CEAR expects the risks of economic dislocation to play a role in Human Security on a local level but, at this stage, does not forecast a widespread regional or national disruption.

As of this reporting period, in terms of security there are no High Risk Alerts but the increasing tribal violence in Kenya and Uganda remain a consistent concern. In terms of Human Security there is a risk warning of food insecurity in Burundi with an estimated two million vulnerable because of the recent floods.

Security Risks

Four zones remain volatile with risk ratings of three or higher:

This includes:

  • Zone 1 Volcano (Uganda, DRC, Rwanda) with the highest regional risk of a five rating, which describes an assessment of armed conflict/tribal violence.  Despite the presence of 8,000 to 10,000 armed FDLR soldiers steady progress is being made in this zone. State cooperation is evident and with a reasonable political will developing on the part of the DRC. CEAR believes that further collaboration between the DRC government and its neighbors, especially the Ugandan government, can be expected.
  • Zone 4 The West Nile Triangle (Sudan, Uganda, and DRC) retains its four risk rating while violence has been suspended by peace talks. The LRA continues to be the security focus of this zone. The possibility of a complete collapse of the negotiations exists. However, CEAR does not believe that the LRA has the capacity to return to Northern Uganda to wage war. CEAR envisions the LRA’s future as an itinerant one, creating havoc in the territories it goes through until its final dislocation.
  • Zone 5 River Oubangui Corridor (Sudan, CAR, and DRC) is rated a three because of the potential for political instability and conflict in the north of the CAR. The Syrte Peace deal may offer a peaceful resolution. The direct threat to Zone 5 is the loss of the remaining state authority in this southern zone if the current Central African government fails to assert its control over its entire territory. LRA presence in the neighboring Zone 4 also presents a risk of spill-over.
  • Zone 10 CEPGL (DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda) is rated at three; however, the factors of a political resolution in the CNDD-FDD leadership and the conclusion of the disarmament agreement with the FNL will reduce this zone to a 2.5 rating which is a continued unstable situation but at a reduced risk rating.

Political Instability

Three zones increased in risk because of low level violence or political instability. This includes:

  • Zone 7 The Atlantic Triangle (DRC, RoC, and Angola) has an elevated risk because of political instability following the 2006 DRC elections and the selection of a governor in Bas Congo.
  • Zone 8 The Benguela Corridor (DRC, Zambia, and Angola) also increased in political instability because of the uncertainty surrounding the selection of a governor in Kasai Provinces.
  • Zone 9 Lake Tanganyika Corridor (Burundi, Tanzania, DRC, and Zambia) is slightly elevated in risk because of the recently reported killings by the FDLR of Rwanda refugees prior to the start of the repatriation exercise.

Human Security

Human Security threatened by disease, food shortage, and economic dislocation has increased the risk in several zones.

Food Insecurity

Floods and other weather related factors are affecting food security in Zone 3 The Cradle of Man Triangle, Zone 7, Zone 10, and Zone 12 The Rusumo Triangle (Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi). The highest risk concerns Zone 10 with a possible two million people at risk of food insecurity because of floods.

Health Warnings

Zone 2 EAC Lake Sango Triangle (Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya) remains on alert because of Rift Valley Fever that has killed over 160 people and has endangered economic activity.

Zone 4 has a developing meningitis outbreak but today is a low risk.

Economic dislocation

Zone 8 has a localized risk to displacement of workers because of large scale diamond production.

Clashes over Resource

Zone 3 The Kapototur, Cradle of Man Triangle is at risk of witnessing clashes among pastoralist groups. Weather hazards straining the available resources and raids for livestock has increased the potential of Human Security risk. The area has been fuelled with weapons because of the 20-year conflict caused by the LRA in the neighboring Zone 4.

The Great Lakes Conflict Early Alert Report is a Great Lakes community project. Comments and alerts can be sent to Emmanuel Fanta Regional CEAR Coordinator. CEAR is produced by the Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies a London-based think tank with offices in Eastern and Central Africa.


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