The Democratic Republic of the Congo [also referred to as DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa or the DRC], is the second largest country in Africa by area [after Algeria] and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of approximately seventy-five million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa behind Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt. In contrast, the Republic of Rwanda, its tiny neighbor to the east, has a population of approximately eleven million, is the twenty-eighth most populous country in Africa and is 1/90th the size of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On my travels through Rwanda I was fortunate to be able to stop at the Rwanda-Congo border near Lake Kivu, and get a sense of the sheer numbers of people who chaotically flow across the border on a daily basis to sell and exchange goods. Apparently if you are a local, you can get a day pass to cross back and forth without a visa. As I hadn’t prepared in advance, I did not have a proper Congo visa so had to stay in Rwanda – this time.
In my vlog I mention that things have been relatively quiet along the border, which now is slightly inaccurate. According to news reports just this week, “fighting has erupted in eastern Congo, after more than 100 armed men disguised in women’s clothing entered the country from Rwanda. At least 130 people were killed, including 10 soldiers, in the deadliest clashes in months between troops and rebels in the restive eastern region. The heavy fighting between the Congo army and M23 rebels resumed on Monday morning after starting on Sunday following the arrival of the armed men in women’s clothes.” Apparently, the rebels were wearing kikwembe [a Congolese women’s shawl] and headscarves over their uniforms.