Nebraskan in Africa witnesses history

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March 4, 2009 - 6:00pm

A Nebraskan working in Africa says he recently witnessed history in the making as thousands of Rwandan troops pulled out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dean Jacobs grew up in Fremont and has spent the past several years traveling around the world and the United States. Last week, Jacobs says he saw Rwandan troops coming back over the border after completing a month-long mission in the Congo to help root out Hutu rebels involved in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Speaking by phone, Jacobs described the scene along the border:

"There were bands playing and the people were running up and down the sides and yelling and clapping and there seemed to be quite a euphoria going on. And I think part of the euphoria was people were happy that the operation was successful, but it's some semblance of stability and peace at the moment," Jacobs said.

"And then they were also happy that the Rwandan troops were leaving there country. And that the invited operation was coming to a close"

Some international groups including United Nations leaders and refugee organizations have raised concerns about the impact of the operation on civilians. Jacobs says he's heard concerns among the local residents that rebel groups will re-emerge in the Congo now that the Rwandan troops have left. But he's hopeful the operation will lead to more dialogue between the two countries. Jacobs is currently working on a project with the Dian Fossey (FOSS-ee) Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda and the Congo.

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