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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New UN Group of Experts Report is Out

Congo Siasa is back, just in time for the new UN Group of Experts' report.

It's a great report, chock full of useful information on the situation in the Kivus, and I'll have an exclusive interview with members of the Group here in a few days. For now, some of the highlights of the 190 page document:
  • Even though the Group's mandate is to focus on non-governmental armed groups - in the past the CNDP and FDLR have been centerstage - a main concern in the this report is the Congolese army itself. The Group argues that the Congolese army has pushed many rebels out of mining areas, but has then itself become complicit in "criminal networks" that often collaborate with rebel groups in running violent protection rackets. The Group points out that President Kabila himself denounces "this kind of mafia." Dozens of cases of these criminal networks are documented in the report.
  • While military operations have whittled away at the FDLR, reducing them from 5,800 to 3,500 in three years, the Group says that the rebels' "command and control structure remains largely intact."Only a few leading FDLR officers have been demobilized, and the Group is now busy crafting alliances with many smaller Congolese groups, such as Mai-Mai Cheka, APCLS and FRF. In response to the military pressure, FDLR have dispersed into smaller formations and many have been pushed out of mining areas. This has boosted demobilization stats from 50 per month in 2008 to 134 per month in 2010 and prompted FDLR to increasingly recruit Congolese. 
  • According to the Group, the Burundian FNL leader Agathon Rwasa fled to the Congo following election in mid-2010. He benefited from the complicity of Congolese army commanders, Burundian businessmen and other opposition parties, and has been able to recruit 700 soldiers based in South Kivu province. 
  • The report provides detailed information on CNDP integration - or lack thereof - into the national army. They document three well-armed battalions in Masisi territory that have not been integrated, although they point out that CNDP taxes in the territory have significantly decreased since an agreement between the CNDP and the government was reached in July. The CNDP also tightened its control over mining areas in Walikale during the presidential ban on mineral exports - the Group suggests that Gen. Bosco Ntaganda controls three quarters of all command posts in Walikale, leading some non-CNDP troops to flee the area. The Group also documents serious internal tensions within the CNDP that have led to a spate of killings, often linked to Gen Bosco Ntaganda. Controversially, the Group suggests that exiled Rwandan Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa may have been in touch with CNDP (and perhaps even the FDLR) in the Kivus.
  • Perhaps most significantly, the Group has proposed a rigorous due diligence process for international companies involved in the minerals trade. The Security Council had asked the Group to develop standards, and the five person group (aided by a consultant, Greg Mthembu-Salter) came up with a long list of requirements that dovetails nicely with what the OECD is coming up with. Go to page 83 to find the requirements - the Group has proposed two standards, one just targeting rebel groups, the other including "criminal networks" that include the Congolese army. The Group reportedly told the Security Council that they strongly prefer the latter standard, and the Council has reacted positively to this. 
Anyway, I strongly recommend reading the report in its entirety - it gives the best idea of what is going on in the Kivus of any report I have read this year.


andrea.trevisan said...

I've just posted a comment that disappeared? Isn't it? If yes ... just say ... was-it treating something confidential or it just disappeared?

Jason Stearns said...

I haven't edited anything out, so must have been a glitch in the system.

andrea.trevisan said...

Well, ok so here it again:
- the report is good, more or less like the last year's one, I think that some issues, anyway, desserves more attention like:
- South Kivu in my opinion now is 1000 thosand times more problematic than NK. This alliance FRF-FDLR-FNL-MM with the CNDP in contact with each of them could be explosive! Walikale/mining is something really known even if the experts really showed connections and involments and that what the SC was maybe looking for, in fact it is their mandate.
- Weapons trafficking around Tanzania-Burundi-Uvira/Fizi territories desserves deeper investigation. There are rumors since months in the region. Is "Protection Shiled" launched because of that or because of the work of experts? In any case finished yesterday...
- I'm happy that someone showed others illegal activities of armed groups that generates incomes, especially chacoal trade. If I am right you already discussed of this in one of your posts but this problem, that concerns especially CNDP, wasn't raised in last year's report.

Yes, mainly this. What I can suggest for the next year is not only a division by sector on responsibility but also a geographical division of experts ... I mean, having two experts on weapon trafficking, one in NK and one in NK will help ... because of the time and the enormous area of intervention with frequents movements around the world doensn't help the experts. The support from Monusco is good but not enough (in days expert they have to resume thw work Monusco staff does or doesn't do in month).
Adding more experts will help. Look at the mapping excercise that toot months ....only for work on field ...
Yep, renforcing the Group in my opinion can help ...

Could you post something also on the end of AmaniLeo? It seems that some interesting developments will come in few days ...

M Poff said...

Jason, we posted our initial analysis on Obama's LRA strategy (, but we'd love to see your own thoughts. Did you see that the PoE report also notably confirmed the LRA presence in S Darfur?

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