Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fighting north of Goma - the end of the ceasefire?

Fighting began early this morning north of Goma, around the Congolese army's defensive positions in Kibumba. According to various sources––including the Congolese army and the UN peacekeeping mission––the M23 launched the attack, pushing down toward Goma. While the M23 deny this, saying they had been provoked, there have been M23 troop movements observed in the past days that suggest that they had been preparing an attack.

We know that, at least for now, the offensive was pushed back by the Congolese army. But it's more difficult to figure out casualties. The North Kivu governor told the press that 44 M23 soldiers had died, and UN sources report having seen over a dozen bodies on the front lines.

Kibumba is the Congolese's army's main defensive position to the north of Goma, around 25 kilometers from the provincial capital. Under the command of Colonel Somo, one of the Belgian-trained officers, there are now reportedly over 3,000 army troops deployed in the surroundings, many of them dug into trenches. The Congolese army was quick to boast of its success, also claiming that they had been attacked from the Rwandan border at the town of Kasizi, just east of Kibumba.

It would appear that we are heading toward the end of ceasefire. While there have been skirmishes in Masisi and Rusthuru in recent weeks, these appear to have involved proxy groups on both sides––Mai-Mai working in collaboration with the Congolese army north and east of Rutshuru town, and M23 allies in central and northern Masisi. This appears to have been the first major fighting directly between M23 and the Congolese army in several months.

This does not mean that these other allies are quieting down––at the same time as the Kibumba fighting took place, there were reports that forces allied to the Congolese army pushed toward Rutshuru town from the north, coming into Mabenga village, with shooting heard as far south as Kiwanja. Also, fighting has been reported to the north of Bunagana on the Ugandan border since Saturday, some local sources suggest that this may be local Hutu militia, that are working in collaboration with the Congolese army.

The M23 has also been using its alliances––on Monday, a coalition of Sheka Mai-Mai and local militiamen allied to the M23 pushed the Congolese army out of Pinga, in northern Masisi territory, after killing several soldiers. And M23 allies, led by FDLR defector 'Colonel' Mandevu and ex-CNDP Colonel Eric Badege, have been nettling army positions in central Masisi, around Kilolirwe, in recent weeks.

This use of (often unreliable, ramshackle) allies on both sides is dangerous, as it brings the fighting to civilians and undermines any semblance of chain of command.

It is unclear whether the fighting today marks the end of the ceasefire that has held for several months as talks have been pursued in Kampala. But rumors were circulating today, especially within the Tutsi community in Goma, that M23 will be trying to take the town. Not the first time such rumors have been spread––and the M23 are known to use psychological warfare––but a warning that should be heeded, nonetheless.


James Serudonyori said...

I hear FARDC are using chopper and are backed by MONUSCO. And they are engaged in provocative advances towards Rwanda, as that element that was killed on Rwandan territory tried to do.
I appeal to RDF commanders to be altert. They should not allow themselves to be blackmailed by UN group of experts or anyone into not taking defensive approach to the situation in the Congo. FDLR is waiting in the wings and already Kabila is using them. Generals on the western frontier Alex Kagame and Emmy Ruvusha beware. Dont fall to enemy's tactics of blackmailing. Remember Hege an co. said M23 command culminates with James Kabarebe. Which implied that the general uses a telephone to direct the war! When does he meet field commanders? When does he read maps? When does he discuss strategy, on his monitored cellphone? he must be foolish. The purpose is to blackmail Rwanda into not taking interest in Congo, allowing FDLR to rebuild. Rwanda is an interested party in DRC affairs, it is a signinatory to all peace pacts, and the existatnce of FDLR there compels it to keep tab on what goes on there, whether on phone or through spy elements.

congo man said...

PAUL KAGAME and JEMES KABARERE must pul their troupes(M23)out of the DRC and stop sponsoring more terrorists and war criminals inside the D.R.C

tresor said...

Your propaganda ideology does no longer work, the trueth is now in the open, very soon Uganda wil no longer be there to hold Rwanda's hand. Everyone in the region wants peace and economic development and rwanda is the trouble maker

Eole said...

I am back from a long trip in Kivu where I spent almost a month. I met with several FARDC officers, local administrative authorities and discussed these issues with many of them who are friends and brothers. I was in Goma during the assassination spree (beginning of October 2012) and experienced this fear of going back home around 5 p.m, lock oneself in his home and pray, hoping the thugs won't come in. I would like to congratulate Jason for his network. In many occasions, I would hear many these congolese officers or administrative authorities utter his name and say they have fond memories of him. I was even shown a Jason's visit card by someone in Kivu! Our Jason is someone we should be proud of.
Regarding this war, the general belief in Kivu (Goma and Bukavu) is that Kabila and Kagame are palying this game together with the aim of partitioning Congo. You can hear this everywhere (in streets, offices, markets, etc.). Kabila himself seems to be wary of this and this can explain this reaction in Kibumba.
I have also the chance of having met Colonel Somo and regards him highly. But, as noticed by an official in Goma, while this guy and his soldiers can be effective against M23, Kinshasa (and specifically Kabila and General Amisi aka Tango Fort) let them down in Rumangabo few months ago. One official recalls how these soldiers were left four days without any food while fighting.
So my opinion regarding this is : Whatever Somo and his brave men can do hang on Kabila and Amisi Tango Fort will. Given what we know of their true nature and ultimate goals, I can once again foresee a defeat of the FARDC and a subsequent global negotiation handing all the power to M23.
The power the Banyamulenge have in Bukavu is staggering. While not present in elected bodies, they still control everything and impose upon everyone. As I worried about that, a PPRD member told me : "Do not fear, this is the price of peace". A very heavy price I replied.
As a congolese citizen, I was surprised to see how rwandese at the border were so friendly, despite the so called tension between Kagame and Kabila. As I crossed back and forth the border at Grande Barrière, I wondered is some instructions had been given to the rwandese police to behave so friendly.

James Serudonyori said...

Eole your funny.
Why is it that Jason is worshiped by Congolese, is it because he is their propaganda machinery?
You say Banyamulenge have powers in Bukavu. Which powers, you tribalist? IS the governor a Munyemulenge? is the regional army chief a munyamelenge? You want to sow seeds of hatred! shame on you. Then you are surprised that Rwandaese officials at grand barrier are civilised. Do you want them to violate innocent travelers like the thugs you are talking about in Goma? Instead of showing surprise at failure by Paluku and everyone else in Goma, you are surprised by Rwandese police for respecting human rights and not violating genuine travelers? For your information all foreigners in Rwanda are protected, including Congolese, this is how civilised societies behave. The west are at ods with muslims but you have never seen them being violated. But Congolese thugish society, whenever there is an issue with a foreign country, you will go around looking for its citizens to lynch.

blaise said...

@ Eole,
intesting insight,you should check this analysis
the propaganda and hatred seems to come from you.While Eole was positive and sharing his experience all you have to answer was derisive comments and misinformation.It's in human nature to look for scapegoats when fear is among them.It's true in Congo like it is in Rwanda and everywhere else.Genocide perpetrators were your fellow Rwandans,last time I checked and "civilized" RDF fought over Kisangani against Uganda without regard of innocent civilians.
So do us a favor,before you give us lecture about civilization you should look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what else the RDF brought to Congo beside hatred.

blaise said...

I got a question:if Congolese are so thugish,why are rwandan still coming by?Are you forgetting your principle?
that what a fellow Rwandan is saying about your so called civilized society.

James Serudonyori said...

Blaise, Are you Rwandese or Congolese? You post as Congolese when you are Rwandese. But may be you could be Rwandaphone

Eole said...


Thank you Blaise for your reply to James and thank you for your wisdom. I hope our "civilised" James will decide to contribute positively rather than sowing his hatred. I was just sharing my experiences and did foretell the victory of the M23 in Kibumba.
Anyway, James should be happy. I was on phone this morning with relatives in Goma. They can hear the bombs as M23 advances towards the town. As I heard, schools and business would not open tomorrow by fear of pillage.
M23 is winning militarily and will take Goma soon.
The mood in Kinshasa is unchanged. Kabila, Amisi aka Tango Fort and Etumba are just fine with this outcome.

muana congo said...

@James Serudonyori

I agree with you here NOVEMBER 17, 2012 8:16 PM. I respect you because you are a man or woman, you put your colours to the mask. It is only then that problems can be solved. Unlike some double talkers here sometimes they are Kagame/Makenga boys supporter sometimes they are congolese.

That said, this is just the beginning. Even if the martyr/beloved Goma were to fall in the hands of Kagame criminals, the congolese genocide will be there fir all to see.

But Congolese people will prevail!

tresor said...


blaise said...

@ James and his new friend @muanacongo,
you guys should really grow up,those are serious matters.It's not because I don't agree to your extremist views and simplistic conclusions that I'm a "double talkers" or a "Rwandan posing for a Congolese".
If you don't have any arguments,it's better to just shut up.
As far as I know,most of what I said happened while most of you guys predictions were simple malarkey.
I have a couple of profanities in my head but I will refrain from sharing them since people are dying in Goma now and that's more important topic than some lullabies coming from people who only know hatred and can't think with their reasons.

blaise said...

@ Eole,
you welcome,brother,there is always two sides of a story,bridging differences is more rewarding than dying in bitterness.

congo man said...

In 1998 PAUL KAGAME and his terrorists under the name of RCD spread their reing of terror through the eastern part of the Country.from BUNAGANA all the way to KISANGANI ,they tortured and killed millions our people, in 2008 PAUL KAGAME and his terrorists under the CNDP name invaded the DRC and spread their terror from RUCHURU to BUKAVU but they failed,now again PAUL KAGAME and his terrorists M23 movement are killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of women ,man and children they can occupy GOMA but they are not going to succeed .the m23 terrorists groupe is a doomed movement, the bloody reing of PAUL KAGAME and JAMES KABARERE is also doomed and M23 is going to be his last terrorist activity in the great lakes. I have a bad news for those who are now Celebrating the m23 advance.the map of the DRC will never change ,PAUL KAGAME can once again occupy Goma or any other villages in NORTH KIVU but will not save his doomed bloody dictatorship.

congo man said...

@ muana Congo
I can't agree with you more ,you are 100% correct . The bad news for some people is that the 20 years bloody dictatorship of PAUL KAGAME and 30 years bloody dictatorship of YOWERI MUSEVENI are on their last days, the Democratic waves that are sweeping around the AFRICAN CONTINENT are too powerful to be stopped by this bloody dictators. a temporary occupation of any Congolese territory will not save this bloody dictators but it will only ad another war Crime to their long Criminal record .time will tel.

congo man said...

I don't know wich BUKAVU you visited. The City of BUKAVU in south KIVU is 80% BASHI ,15% BAREGA and the rest 5% are BAVIRA,HAVU,HUNDE ,NANDE....the BASHI are a dominant tribe in that City ,From Politic to Business almost all sectors are dominated by that tribe and the REGA comes next. The so called BANYAMULENGE are a very small Community of KINYARWANDA speakers who reside in the MULENGE hills near BURUNDI in the southeastern region of South KIVU and they are almost not present in BUKAVU. this Community was used by PAUL KAGAME and YOWERI MUSEVENI to disguise their 1996 invasion of CONGO but in the late 90s their leaders stood up to this dictators and joined the rest of the KIVUTIENS in opposing the Bloody RWANDAN invasions and occupation of the Congo . I applaud General MASUNZU and other NYAMULENGE leaders for their heroic actions and I hope the leaders of the NYABWISHAs and other KINYARWANDA speaking people from north KIVU can also take such heroic actions and stand up against PAUL KAGAME and his M 23 terrorists who are abducting their Children and turning them into killers and also displacing thousands of their people from their homes and villages ,and turning their once peaceful land into Killing fealds. This is a RWANDA and UGANDAN invasion and it has nothing to do with the BANYAMULENGE,BANYABWISHA or any other community.i also don't know where is that so called grand barrier where you met your friendly Rwandese Police. Ther's 2 crossing borders in BUKAVU and none of the two is called the GRAND BARRIER. PAUL KAGAME is the sworn enemy of the DRC and his mission is not to destroy or help KABILA,CHICHI,BEMBA,LUMBALA,KAMERHE,DIOMI NDONGALA,NGBANDA etc...but to destroy the DRC ,all Congoles shall know this no matter your political affiliation. The M23 terrorists advance is not going to help any of those politicians or their supporters,but the consequences of their terror will be felt long after those politicians and their supporters are gone. Don't forget that over 90% of our national wealth is in those Eastern Provinces.they will never be prosperity in KIN ,MBANDAKA.KIKWIT or long as those regions are not secured.we all in this together and PAUL KAGAME is our sworn enemy .

Mushi B. said...

Just finished reading part of your first report on North Kivu armed groups.
Your overview of History of Kivu is not correct in part.
Kigeli III Rwabugiri military campaigns reached Butembo and Lac edouard, on the western front.
Please take some time and read : "Les campagnes de Rwabugiri : chronologie et bibliographie" by David Newbury 1974.
Some pages of the book can be found here:

kizza brown said...

theres somethin u congolese ppls dont matter how much u cry the world doesnt care about u and kagsme nor his gournment aint goin no where as long the democrats still control the whitehouse so bill clinton still alive .remember kagame was brought to power by bill clnton.

Eole said...

I have been listening to comments by Vital Kamerhe and would like to express my disgust at comments he made. This is an opportunist without any core values. During all these months when we were losing our fellow brothers in North and South Kivu, he never express some sympathy to the plight of people. Now that Goma is in the hands of M23, he is the first to call for negociations hoping to get a political post. I recall how he came along Father Malu-malu to the so called conference in 2009. That conference gave all the power to Bosco and his men.
Dear Vital, with all due respect you should stay in Kinshasa with your friends. Kivu is only important for you as a laverage for power.
You have no heart and you are more close to Kabila and his criminal network.
To the whole world : you have decided to let us down as you did to Jews in Warsaw. We are killed on a daily basis, our sisters and daughters are being raped and you stay silent. Is there any justice somewhere? Has God decided to let these people wipe us out?
We cry but al nations have decided to let us die. May be as ibicucu we do not deserve to live.
I believe both Kabila, Kagame and Kamerhe believe we really are ibicucu.
I apologize for any offendinc comment I might make here. I ask you to understand my pain and sorrow.
But one day the offspring of Congo will arise

congo man said...

For the first time I will agree with James.I now believe that many Rwandes and maybe half Rwandaphones have been commenting on this blog as Congolese. After attempting to bring back the BANYAMULENGE excuse ,they are now trying to change the subject to a KAMERHE bashing. They will do anything to cover their master (PAUL KAGAME ).

blaise said...

Wow, I knew some people can go really low but I didn't realize how low they can go.For all it may concern,my previous offer still stand:"Any pure breed Congolese who believe his patriotism is greater than anyone else is invited to take up arm and go defend the country under pres Kabila.I can facilitate contacts with Fardc commanders.Instead of cowering behind a keyboard, one shall walk the walk and talk the talk.There is no point to show one manhood in a secure location when real men, who believe that pres Kabila is doing the right things,are in the front fighting so those sissy in the diaspora can enjoy their life style.

blaise said...

It just hit me,since we are in accusatory mode: why 1 will brag abt his "congolity"?Wole Soyinka once said"le tigre ne crie pas sa tigritude".And it's well known that the less you have it the more you want to spread it.I recall that Hitler was trying to hide his austrian origins by claiming his german credentials.It was the same for Staline the georgian.Blaise is my name.What is yours?

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