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, September 23, 2010

Rwandan troops in the Kivus?

There have been more and more reports of Rwandan troops in the Kivus this past week. Internally, MONUSCO military intelligence has reported unconfirmed allegations of two RDF battalions in Walikale to help out with the Congolese army's operations there. The head of the UN mission, Roger Meece, however, says these allegations are unfounded.

At the same time, the Congolese security services along the Rwandan border in North Kivu report an increased number of Congolese Tutsi refugees returning from Rwanda and heading towards the highlands of Masisi.

Add to these rumors information coming from an unexpected source: CNDP officers. Several ex-CNDP officers have confirmed these allegations of RDF deployment, however they don't think they are here to help against the FDLR. According to them, the Rwandan troops have primarily come to make sure that CNDP troops don't rebel when they are re-deployed outside of the Kivus (some say as far away as Bas-Congo, on the other side of the country). There has been no official announcement of any major military re-deployment, but many believe this was discussed by Presidents Kagame and Kabila during the recent meetings in Kigali.

Rwanda has been worried for quite some time about ex-CNDP members taking part in an armed opposition to their government, privately linking Nkunda's supporters to the grenade attacks in the capital, for example. It is possible that Kinshasa has seized upon these concerns to press for the ex-CNDP troops to leave the Kivus, where they have had a prominent role in anti-FDLR operations as well as in controlling mining areas.

There is a long history of resistance by Congolese Tutsi troops to leave the Kivus, where they are close to their families and are well enough organized that they have to be taken seriously. In early 1998, a group of Congolese Tutsi mutinied in South Kivu, protesting redeployment and mistreatment. Rwandan General James Kabarebe had to go to the Rusizi plain himself to negotiate. Then, several months later, another group led by Comd Murekezi mutinied at a military camp in Goma (his followers included many officers who later joined Nkunda's insurgency). Rwandan troops had to kill several of the officers and imprison others on Iwawa island to put down the mutiny.


Rich said...

Hey Jason,
Looks a bit murky! A political settlement should and must also be kept on the table since governing through dare can only work to further divide and oppose.
Have you heard about Abdul Ruzibiza’s death in Norway?

Unknown said...

Hey Jason, what you metioned in the article is very improtant. However,why Rwanda should help DRC to prevent CNDP pro-Nkunda group from rebelling? What is the price that Kabila has to pay for that? For the time beingl, is Rwanda still able to influence on CNDP? If so, why Rwanda has to use force?

Anonymous said...

most would agree that when the RDF came to the Kivus in 2009 ("Umoja Wetu") the main purpose was to ensure the ousting of Nkunda, the take-over by Bosco, and the integration of the CNDP into the FARDC. At the time, fighting the "FDLR nuisance" was certainly not that important. It would therefore not be surprising if the RDF would be invited back to the Kivus in order to accomplish other important tasks on which the two presidents might have agreed. Cheers. Karl

andrea.trevisan said...

I agree with karl but situation now is different form january 2009. At the moment there a lot of ex-cndp soldiers and officiers that are still loyal to Nkunda and think he still act as their leader.
In fact, also for david, the control of cndp for protecting interests of drc and rwanda is a msterpiece of the congo-rwanda alliance. If cndp decide to destabilise the situation they could take over the cities of bukavu and goma in few minutes without firing a bullet. And the same if they decide to destabilise kigali.
And the problem about CNDP is the internal division, so that's why an intervention from rwanda can arrive; exactly to prevent "disorders"

Anonymous said...


The rumour over Rwandan troops crossing into Rutsuhuru and Masisi raises some questions.

First, does one battalion (as said in the rumour I heard) is strong enough to challenge ex-CNDP and ensure their rellocation to other provinces. Redeployment seems to be the main argument behind the Rwandan intervention. However, virtually no ex-CNDP would accept to be redeployed out of the Kivus. Which could even reconcile the different branches of CNDP. There has apparently been some discussion between Makenga and Bosco in July despite continued assassinations of Nkunda loyalists.

If the rumour is (somehow) true, it means one batallion (or 2) have crossed the border through the national park. Therefore with few equipment and non mechanized. This seems light to me to put pressure on a resonably well equipped CNDP which now have access to FARDC equipment.

Further, if Rwanda has an interest in arresting and killing some ex-CNDP linked to their opponents, they certainly don't have much interest in alienating the others and breaking its relation with CNDP.

Another explanation could be that this rumour is used by the government to put pressure on ex-CNDP elements who are planning to oppose to the redeployment. In absence of a strong army, could be their last argument.

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