As many of us remain riveted to the final hours of the 2008 US Presidential campaign, the people of the Congo face a more dangerous and destructive contest: Gen. Laurent Nkunda’s offensive against the Congolese government. The offensive has produced a major refugee crisis: “Last week’s fighting in the east of the country displaced up to 100,000 civilians, of whom 60 per cent were children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said yesterday.” Both France and the UK are considering military options; the UN has arranged for talks between Rwanda–which backs Nkunda’s Tutsi force–and the Congo in hopes of, at the very least, creating breathing space for international aid to reach the refugees.

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