BRUSSELS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A deal between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda could escalate a humanitarian crisis in the region, according to the International Crisis Group.
The Belgium-based Crisis Group released a Conflict Risk Alert Tuesday suggesting the deal between DR Congo and Rwanda to conduct joint military operations shows promise of opportunities but has an equal number of dangers, including a worsening humanitarian crisis and widespread violence, the Crisis Group reported.
Officials say while the deal led to the arrest of rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, the deployment of an estimated 7,000 Rwandan troops in eastern DR Congo, who likely will be viewed as an occupying force, will have difficulties achieving any military success against Hutu insurgents in any short period of time. Any prolonged military operation could result in a dangerous situation for civilians in the region.
The Conflict Risk Alert calls on leaders in DR Congo and Rwanda to establish benchmarks and a plan to withdraw the Rwandan troops.
Rwanda and DR Congo "should immediately suspend their joint military operations until they define clearer military and political objectives for their new cooperation, work with the U.N. peacekeeping mission and humanitarian agencies to minimize the risk to civilians of any combat, and develop a comprehensive strategy to foster disarmament of the Rwandan Hutu insurgents," the release said.