Saturday, March 2, 2013

Congo Civil Wars & Schrefer's Endangered

From today's Reuters article "Congo government troops retake territory left by rebels:"
Congolese government troops have re-occupied eastern towns for the first time in eight months after rebels weakened by an internal power struggle withdrew and turned their weapons on each other. The advance is the first significant progress by [the Democratic Republic of] Congo's army since a series of defeats last year, but raises fears of fresh clashes with M23 fighters who are intent on reclaiming the same areas after peace talks stalled. Government troops moved into the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja on Friday night to protect the population from bandits and armed groups who had taken advantage of the M23 rebel pullout to prey on civilians, a spokesman for the army said. "Since last night, those areas are under government control. (M23) left those areas and it is for us, the regular forces to take our responsibilities and secure them ... against the pillaging, rape and killings," Colonel Olivier Hamuli told Reuters... Eastern Congo has been ravaged by war and banditry for two decades, leaving millions dead through violence and disease. Civilians are regularly caught in the crossfire between armed groups and the country's notoriously ill-disciplined army.
For a novel about life in the DRC's wars, try Eliot Schrefer's Endangered:
Schrefer shines a light on an oft-overlooked part of the world with this intense adventure set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When Sophie, a half-American, half-Congolese 14-year-old, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary, her biracial origins make her feel out of place, but she finds purpose by bonding with and caring for Otto, an abused juvenile bonobo. Civil war breaks out while Sophie’s mother is away, and Sophie is inadvertently trapped in a country beset by starvation, roving bands of killers, and natural hazards. To stay alive, Sophie and Otto live off the land, travel in secret, and coexist with other bonobos, while seeking escape or refuge from the chaos. Schrefer spares no detail, fully exposing the horrors of war as he chronicles Sophie’s struggle for survival.

I couldn't find many novels about the DRC wars by a Congolese author.  Suggestions welcome.

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