Washington, D.C., November 7, 2008 - The Voice of America (VOA) is covering the escalating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with exclusive interviews, analysis and live reports from the scene where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced.
"VOA has been keeping the affected civilians and others throughout the region abreast of all the latest developments in this war-torn area," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "We are focused on helping those caught in the crossfire, providing them with the latest information and news."
VOA's French to Africa, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi, Swahili and English services have filed numerous stories from the eastern region of the DRC, bordering Rwanda, where fighting is taking place between pro-Congolese government militias and rebels headed by Laurent Nkunda. The United Nations estimates 250,000 people have been displaced.
Today, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is meeting in Nairobi with DRC President Joseph Kabila, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and other regional leaders to try to find a solution to the fighting. The United States has called for an immediate ceasefire and talks between the rebels and the DRC.
Since the intensification of the fighting last week, VOA remains on the frontlines, with reporters broadcasting directly from Goma, the capital of Kivu Province, and from Kinshasa, DRC's capital.
Nkunda, a Tutsi, claims DRC's government has failed to protect his ethnic group from the Rwanda Hutu militias who came to DRC after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In that conflict, Hutu militias killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, but the Tutsis later regained control of the country's government under Kagame.
On Monday, VOA journalist Jack Kahora was with a humanitarian convoy that reached Rutshuru, a place where civilians had been trapped in the crossfire for months. He described the humanitarian situation there as a disaster.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.