DRC and Angolan presidents meet amid tensions
Democratic Republic of Congo President Jospeh Kabila was in Luanda on Monday for a meeting with his Angolan counterpart José Edouardo dos Santos on stability in the region. DRC specialist Claude Kabemba tells RFI the recent spat between the two countries over refugees is a symptom of deeper economic and political tensions, which the leaders will try to resolve.
Last year, the countries engaged in tit-for-tat expulsions. Congolese citizens who were living illegally in Angola were sent away, then Angolans were expelled the DRC, even though many of these were legal immigrants. Both countries agreed last October to suspend the expulsions.
“There has been tension between the two governments related to economic issues,” says Kabemba, a researcher at Open Society Institute in Cape Town, “I think the question of refugees is the symptom.”
Angola has begun extracting oil in Congolese waters, which has created tension between Rwanda and Kinshasa. Angola, which runs security in the DRC, gave itself a free rein in the Atlantic off the coast of Congo, but now the Congolese parliament has intervened to argue for the ownership of Congolese oil there.
“This has really angered Dos Santos,” says Kabemba. "Dos Santos thinks that he is the godfather of the DRC in terms of security. He was not expecting the Congolese government to react negatively to his entry into Congolese lands or waters."
He adds that diamond extraction has caused local tension in southern DRC.
“In Kayemba, Congolese have been chased from their villages and that situation was linked to diamond extraction,” he says.