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

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fighting in the Kivus divides the UN Security Council

Is Rwanda backing a new rebellion in the eastern Congo? Is the region returning to the turmoil of 2008, when the Rwandan-backed CNDP, battled the Congolese army, which was allied to a host of local militias? These are questions that many hope might be answered, at least in part, by a UN report that will be submitted this coming week. There are, however, indications, that the publication might be vetoed.

Rwandan involvement in the recent fighting, which is still confined to a tiny patch of land of about twenty square kilometers, has fueled much debate in recent weeks. Most foreign diplomats in Kinshasa - as well as some in Kigali I have spoken with - privately agree with the conclusions of Human Rights Watch, that Rwanda is helping M23 recruit soldiers, and is possibly also supplying the rebels with food, weapons and free passage through their territory.

Kigali, however, has vehemently denied the allegations, and aside from expressions of concerns by diplomats - including a letter from Washington a few weeks ago - there have been few concrete demarches by capitals. Meanwhile, after a week of calm, the fighting saw a brief peak again on Thursday, when M23 was almost able to take a large military camp at Rumangabo and cut off the Bunagana road.

Now the diplomatic focus is shifting to New York, where, in response to the allegations of Rwandan involvement, the UN Security Council called yesterday for a "full investigation of credible reports of outside support to the armed groups."

This statement was more than puzzling. At the same time at the Chinese president of the council signed the statement, the UN Group of Experts was in the process of submitting its interim report, which reportedly includes investigations into these very allegations. According to diplomats working for Security Council members, one of their colleagues is threatening to obstruct the publication of the report in the coming week. The justification given for this would be that the submission of the report flouted procedural rules, but the diplomats I spoke to pointed to larger, political disagreements linked to the allegations of Rwandan involvement in the eastern Congo.

Meanwhile, Congolese diplomats have upped their campaign against Rwanda, with their foreign minister traveling to Dar es Salaam and Bujumbura, while security officials visited Kampala during this past week. Ambassador Ileka Atoki, who is currently posted to Paris but used to be the Congo's permanent representative to the United Nations, is headed to New York this week to make the case to the Security Council, and specifically asking for the UN report to be made public.


Anonymous said...

I personally think that these stories about Rwanda arming rebellions start to get too old. It should be the least of our concern.
Our main worry should be: can our army be able to defend the national territory or not. Crying about Rwanda involvement seems to me a lazy way of dealing with a military situation. As long as the problem of reforming the army will be throwing under the rack, we will have short life successes and be scare to death by the mere mention of a Rwandese sergeant among the rebels. We have a bigger danger with the Angolese and the next war: the oil war. Believe it or not, that army will be harder to deal with than the Rwandese.

Anonymous said...

Thanx Jason 4 the update!

The moment of the truth is near, as the Romans said “Alea iacta est”. None of 8 other countries that surround Congo wants to exterminate Congolese people like Rwanda! Four issues are at stake here:

(1) For the UN (MONUSCO), if ever, this is the time to regain its lost credibility. It is clear that Rwanda does not want the UN mission to succeed in Congo. The FDLR business is indeed just a sorry red herring meant to avoid real reconciliation between Rwanda (Tutsi & Hutu) people. The latest events have proven that indeed FDLR is not as strong Kagamists want us to believe. If we can support His Excellency Roger Meece’s vision, FDLR and other armed groups will be a thing of the past in 6 months in the Kivus.

(2) Kagame is just a mercenary or accessory, as those who are behind the Congolese Holocaust are prepared to even veto anything that shed light on the gravest human tragedy since ww2. But u will c them on their CNN waffling about “crisis” in Congo and holding up not Congolese, but Kagame to speak on behalf of Congolese!

(3) For those who have always said that they cared about the tragedy in Congo, human rights activists and NGOs, here is a lifetime opportunity to end the suffering in the Congo. Those behind all this are scared of U, lets all come out and denounce Kagame and his well known int’l banking and mining backers.

(4) To all Congolese, we have never been so close to ending this 15-year nightmare for our people. For those who live in the USA, especially in NY and the east-coast, come out and support the young Congolese (FARDC) who are sacrificing their life at the front to protect the land of our ancestors, but with discipline and coherence, at the UN quarters in NY. Plz, this is not about JK, he is a small fry!


Anonymous said...

Jason thanks for this great insights from the diplomatic arena.

In general I agree with Blaise btw. Right and clear that rwanda is supporting rebels but ... FARDC is an army that tops nearly 100.000 elements If I'm right while M23 is "just" a few hundreds. WHich impact could have the help coming from Rwanda? Few dozens men? Some ammunitions? Food? Communication material? It remains really strange to me how M23 was supposedly confined to a couple of hills weeks ago and FARDC haven't been able to disarm them, even using helicopters ...

I'd share responsibility for this new crise equally between FARDC and M23; obviously DRC is pushing hard to play the "foreign aggression" card to cover its fraudolent mismanagement of the army.

I hope Meece and the Group of experts made their work in a balanced way and showed both sides of the rebellion ... even if I don't know if it is in this way that politics works.

I'm not saying that rwanda's involvement doesn't play a role but responsibilities for this mess must be equally shared between the two leaders (governments)...

Anyway getting rid of rwanda's meddling in drc's affairs would be a great step, so everybody could then concentrate, without further excuses and delay, in a serious and concret reform of the army.


Anonymous said...

why does one sees that a national army is inefficient? when there is a war and it can't keep the agressor away. Right? or, and , should i say in the case of the drc, a part of the army is infiltrated, led by the enemy it is supposed to combat ie rwanda. how many years do we hear the discussion of security sector reforms, how many $$$ have been spend in conferences, training etc to reform this sector?? meanwhile those sponsoring it, among them usa, monuc etc DO KNOW that rwanda is leading by his proxies and directly the fardc in the east. so, how more hypocritically this can be.
second point: kigali wants the drc to talk with the "rebels", well, mister kagame, do it with yoours!! no, instead you try to shoot down your former ally nyamwasa, or you kidnap and kill fdlr etc. so why isn't the international community not forcing to have a all inclusive dialogue in rwanda. because we all know that the fdlr is an excuse to remain in the congo ie in the mining areas. Kagame states: there are no tutsis no hutus, so why coming to the drc "to defend -" the tutsis, they do'nt exist in rwanda but they do in the drc. can't it get anymore ridiculous if it weren't tragic??
point three: let's face it, a qui profite le crime? why does kagame et al gets away with this constant military agression? because, he brings in the money from the minerals.
point four: i bet this diplomat who doesn't want this report to be publicised is from the usa?
even a monkey in the trees of masisi knows this all

FrancoPepeKalle said...

While I understand everyone's issues, however RWANDA is playing a big role in trying to keep KIVU in a major mess since they are the ones who border with Rwanda as opposed in the province of Maniema. The Rwanda government wants to do more to terrorize the people of Congolese people in the South and North Kivu. Kagame is desperate and wants to do more to hurt and have more benefits. I know Rwanda is an old story but they are the ones who helping cause more problem in the Kivu area.

congo man said...

I totally agree with Blaise and Andrea ,we all know that the so called m23 are being supported by Rwanda ,now it's time for our leaders to show leadership by stopping the corruption and impunity within our military, reform the army and all security sectors ,remove all of the remaining Rwandan spys within our military ... I agree with blaise ,I think the oil war that sooner or later we are going to fight with the more powerful and well equipped Angolan army is the reason why reforming our military needs to be the priority of this government .we need to stop using The Rwandan support of this rebels as an excuse for the impunity and irresponsibility that stil exist within our military.I was very shocked and I couldn't comprehend why are they stil sending soldiers to the front line with their wives and Children. This just shows me that some people in position of command are unqualified . I know we have come the long way and I know this last Rwandan aggression is going to be crashed but reform in the army has to be taken seriously because the next enemy is not going to be a small tribal militia like the Rwandan army. Yes pressure has to be put on Rwanda and it's supporters, but unlike many people i don't think this small tribal militia (Rwandan army) has the capabilities to continue threatening our peace and security if the badly need reform within our army and security sectors is implemented.

Anonymous said...

Kabila is to blame! He duped Kagam to arrest Nkunda and dismantle CNDP as he was buying time and attack choppers to finish the rebellion. Rwanda should be clear. It is signatory to 2009 Accord, so is an interested party in Congo affairs, where FDLR is. And If i were Rwanda, I would push for involvement in Congo, just like how USA pushed Pakistan to get involved in that region. If USA can attack two countries pursuing one man who killed 3,000, isnt Rwanda justified to get involved in Congo to pursue 10,000 who killed one million and still harbour ideology of finishing the job? UN should also look at self-defence aspect of Rwanda involvement, UN charter allows for self-defence.

Anonymous said...

again, I am surprised by how Congolese army can fail to defeat M23. According to reports from various sources, Rwanda picked up street children, gave them crash training in weapon handling, gave them uniform and some AK47s and then marched them over to border hills to fight FADC! What a way of supporting a rebellion! They numver 100-200 in total! FARDC is a joke, I advise these Congolese angry commentators, instead of attacking Kagame with harsh words, they should put on uniform and go deal with those street children causing mayhem at those hills.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
There is no denying that reforming Congo army is a necessity. But to be honest, did we have an Army in the last 15 years after the FAZ were dismantled? This was a rabble of militias put together through endless negotiations. I also agree that, for a long time, the top FARDC hierarchy became rather mining businessmen with Tango 4 shamelessly enjoying the public fame as Vita Club soccer team. However, clearly there seems to emerge a new FARDC of professionally trained young Congolese who are able to contain the M23.

But things on the ground are not so simple. Of the 7000 FADRC at the frontline, 3000 troops are ex-CNDP (M23 sympathizers), who continue to betray Congo and defect given a chance. Hence the rotations underway. And Rwanda didn’t just supply street children, but 3000 troops from diverse reports.

I think that Army reform is not decreed, it is a process that requires time and billions of $ in the case of Congo, because in my view 90% of FARDC are a useless lot who need to be demobilized. But more important, army reform cannot happen in a chaos with a foreign army in your midst as is the case now. As priority and prerequisite to building a strong army 4 our possible wars (against Angola, Uganda or Congo-Brazza), what the DRC needs right now is the eradication of Rwandan militias (M23 & FDLR) and +- 10 years of economic and political stability.


Anonymous said...

@ Jason..
Thanx for the update as the breans thinker of this team and one of the source of information. Can you please highlighted for us they "findings" about Rwanda implication to support M23... is it the same team (Fred Robarts and Co).

Anonymous said...

It looks

Anonymous said...

It looks like the old saying; that those who do not grind the sorghum think it is child pray..... In other words, how do commentators want the FARDC to defeat itself? The FARDC is a coalition of forces and people. So is DRC; a conglomeration of different tribes and nationalities that do not share same interests and goals.
If you think the FARDC is weak, then do not blame a weak rebellion resisting for such a long time. Actually, history shows that large disorganized armies trying to crash small but homogenous rebels end up shooting itself in the leg!!!!!! The FARDC is likely to injure itself in the thigh and that will give the M23 the time to reorganize and attract more rebellious elements in the DRC to join hands and defeat the disoriented giant. And, ofcourse, the spoils War for OIL will be sparked and bring a superior enemy onto Congo and our lamentations will turn into terrible reality...... the failed state of Congo, another UN mission to crash our culture and women, maybe two UN missions etccc and we are spooked as ever. Forget Kagame, he is marching his small country forward and has no time to waste with us
Frederic, Kisangani.

Jason Stearns said...

I am no longer on the UN Group of Experts, which is led by Steve Hege and includes Marie Plamadiala, Nelson Alusala, Ruben de Koenig, Steven Spittaels and Emilie Serralta.

Anonymous said...

Frederic perhaps very correct!!! We Congolese need to be held responsible for our woes. We should stop looking for scapegoats in Rwanda and Kagame. They have shelved their problems and shielded themselves by fueling trouble and driving on, just like throwing a fake grenade into a disorganized marked and just keep going to your own small shop to attend to hungry and scared customers who would have bought cheap at OUR Huge market hahhhhhhhhh

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

As much as the government of congo needs to focus on training FADC we should not ignore diplomatic engagement. Why should we keep quiet when there is a Foreign element which is trying to distabilise our country. The fact that Rwanda is heavily dependent on donor funding why shouldn't the government of congo use that to their advantage. We need to fight this war diplomatically and militarily

Anonymous said...

Rwanda best neighbour after all
Many Congolese work and live in rwanda peacefully. They work as teachers, hair dressers, footballers and in music . Nobody harrases them. But few bagogwe who graze their cows in Congo are butchered. Rwanda has never expelled Congolese like Angola, which rapes Congolese women
Congolese should promote this good relations, instead of promoting xenophbia and arrogance that you are a big, rich country. Ask yourselves how you became big? because King Leopold wished it to be so, and colonial powere dispropotionally drew border, putting Rwanda phone on both sides. So, stop chauvinism and appreciate that Rwanda is a good neighbour who does not harras congolese citizens as Angola does.

Rich said...

Ref # "So, stop chauvinism and appreciate that Rwanda is a good neighbour..."

Yes boss!

Perhaps the experts report has some details similar to the ones found on page 27 of this document.

When we said this is du deja vu, some thought we were dreaming. I think Kinshasa will negociate peace but will ask rwanda to tell m23 to retreat to runyori or miss its sit at the UN SC.

Even if m23 retreat to runyori, what next? bosco will he ever be arrested? makenga et al. will they ever trust Kinshasa? I reckon they should get someone like Patrick Masunzu as the FARDC Chief of Staff for both the 8eme and 10 eme regions militaires (S & N Kivu) to try and get those who wants to try and build trust and allegiance to Kinshasa.

One fact is, there is no one ethnic group in DRC that can say they are marginalised. All ethnic groups have problems of one order or another yet they remain loyal to the nation. That's what should prevail. There will never be a lasting peace as long as some people will claim one nationality but at the same time be loyal and have their allegiance to another country!


Anonymous said...

There is an interesting theory lay down by Paul collier in his book : the bottom million. Basically: slow growth, lack of opportunity cause civil wars.
Reforming the army is not as expensive as they makes us believe. With organization, seriousness and ingeniosity, it can be done in the cheap. I laughed when I saw that it cost 100,000 to build a armory. That was a farce.

Anonymous said...

Ndlr : the bottom billion by Paul collier.

Anonymous said...

I am saddend by some comments here about Congolese xenophobia, butchering herders and being a conglomerate of tribes with different interest and goals. Regardless of our passion for any cause, we should and must always speak the truth.
On Congo being a conglomerate of tribes with different goals, it is important to note that what still holds the country together is the sense of togetherness and community of those very tribes. Despite several assaults on the integrity, the people are resisting based on the evidence that we are a nation sharing a common vision and common past as well as experiences. The dysfunctional state due to poor leadership, on which many detractors banked, has only strenghtened Congolese resolve to stick together and save our nation from predators.
Congolese are known for their hospitality which is often confused with naivety. Before the second invasion by Rwanda in 1998, Rwandans were all over the country, doing their business in various capacities. Nobody even thought they were Rwandans when we went to schools and universities with them. For the western part of the nation's perspective, we welcomed them as people of Kivu and they lived freely doing their activities. Things have changed from the moment those people changed sides and showed allegiance to Rwanda in dispute with DRC, thus betraying our trust.
It is not Congo culture to butcher anybody, to pound babies, to cut people with machetes, bury women alive; rape women and men or put sticks in women inner parts...We have witnessed these barbaric acts with our eastern neighbors of Rwanda.
DR Congo is victim of its hospitality, being treated ungratefully by the very people we welcomed as refugees and trained in our schools when the situation was terrible in their countries (Rwanda, Angola,...).
We have learned our lesson and will be more vigilant in th future as we fight to restore our state in addition to the existing Congolese nation.

Elie M.

Anonymous said...

well said Mr Elie, these are the truths.

Anonymous said...

What is it with Tutsis that they cannot co-exist in peace with others? What do they really want? They have power in Rwanda, in Uganda and their son is the police chief in Kinshasa. Isn't this enough power? why butcher innocent farmers in East? Why start all these stupid wars?

Pride comes before a a fall, unfortunately!

Rich said...

Anon June 18, 2012 9:31 AM and June 18, 2012 11:24 AM -

Your comments are outrageous.

It is a sad pity that you are letting yourself being carried away by a situation no one can afford to take for granted.

Trust me it is not your arrogance, let alone your insult that will hide the truth.

We've seen many other regimes, in the past, enjoying immorl promotions from the powerful of this world and their armies being labelled as the best in the world but we all know what happened to people like mobutu, kadaffi, saddam, mubarak etc...

Peace and democracy are the only garanties you can be arrogant about nothing else because dictaturship is simply not sustainable in the long run.


Stand For the Congo said...

@ Jason, Rich and Blaise:

A few colleagues and I, have started "Stand for the Congo" a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington DC. SFTC raises awareness of the conflict minerals in eastern Congo and their regional consequences. SFTC provides a platform for the Congolese diaspora in the United States to take action and provides some humanitarian needs in the Kivus.

I would like to get few suggestions from you to specific what human aid we can target and that is desperately needed by victim of wars in the Kivus. You may reach me via email at


Gaetan Luabeya

Nkunda said...

Kagame's card for being in DRC is always the FDLR. Yet, it is unclear how supporting CNDP against the Congolese government will stop FDLR?

The Congolese government has cooperated with Kagame against the FDLR so many times. Even to the extent of allowing his special forces on DRC's soil against, a move that was highly unpopular. But Kagame is not satisfied and he is always finding ways to undermine the DRC.

One can only conclude as thus: Kagame's support for M23 bandits is ultimate betrayal!

Anonymous said...

To anon June 18,2012 9:31 AM,

Note that I didn't mention Tutsis in my comments. To us congolese, what Rwandan ethnic is committing abuses in Congo doesn't make any difference. Some other unacceptable acts committed against our people from a long list include cutting off electricity from the Inga Dam with all the consequences in hospitals and more recently cutting driking water for the people of Bunagana...Do these barbaric acts ring a bell?
For the rest, it is high time that our Tutsis brothers and sisters learn how to live in harmony and peace with other ethnic groups wherever they are. Like Rich said, if history can be any guide, there's no eternal dictatorship built on military force.

Elie M.

blaise said...

Nobody asked me but...(lol)
June 18 failed to mention that the hunt for Tutsi was a reaction after some traumatic times not a pogrom. I doubt a lot of people in Kinshasa can tell the difference between a Tutsi from a Hutu if it's not "morphologically" obvious.(Bugera vs Bizima). Beside, how many Tutsi were killed that day? From what I know,the mob burned whoever they perceived as a threat. Given the circumstances, the same thing would have happened in Kigali. You are not better than the rest of us. Even so called civilized people acted irrationally when confronted by fear. Fear is a powerful weapon that both side used and abused. Nobody carrying a gun out East is innocent. they all raped, killed.

Anonymous said...

Jason a in 2010 UN Mapping report pointed out Rwanda involvement in DRC Genocide but the Congolese government refused even the quality and the veracity of it always trough Mende OMALANGA actual government speaker,owever Rwanda implcation in DRC War is not in secret as we say in french (C'est Un Secret de pollicinelle), this minister also point out that boasco tangana was a master key for peace in DRC Congo with Kabila recently arguing when he went to kivu in the Press conference that he still keep the same view about bosco tangana to be trial in Congo what does this means?
Now that things turning to be out of control the same government crying to the security council to do something to save their Job this is what we call irresponsibility. but the way Jason what happen to the president of the Congo Mr Joseph Kabila about the situation in his country,is dead or a live? still silence whiled his people are killed, Terrible! Terrible! terrible! Sade Sade Sade!!! this what we call incapable to lead a people or as country without Monusco(UN Peace Keeping Force)viva monucso for eternity as long as Kabila stayed as President. Jason a country must face his own chalenge not runing all over the world to show to the world how incapable you are to face a rebellion in your own country. Because your incable to said Rwanda ivolvement in that rebellion while the all world know what's in going in Congo a Government refused to handout to the International tribunal a Genocidal general, and when the General not happy, become again rebel and killed who he want to kill, Jason Let stop talking about strategy,international... not my dear friend Jason it's about people being killed now when we talking people being desplaced for years please. the one thing need to be done is to stopped this renegade General Secondly to allow monusco the the security council to stop this rebellion and proctect the population we all know DRC Army does not exist.
Thanks for all readers give me your thought suggestions


Anonymous said...

Breaking News: M23 war criminals next at the Hague


Dear Congolese, right now our compatriots in the Kivus need, not our legendary quarrels, but for this nightmare to end quick. Whether diplomatically or militarily. A ship on stormy seas needs to be steadied first. The int’l community seems to be ready for justice in Congo, so lets not make the mistake that Malians have made. As the rebellion was starting they started having futile quarrels; now the biggest part of their country is gone to the rebelles.

So lets just ignore the insults and distractions by Kagame’s agents on this blog. The priority now is the eradication of Rwandan militias of M23 and then FDLR. The rest afterwards plz.


Anonymous said...

Under intense pressure from the int'l community, Rwanda is yet again getting a free pass from the DRC authorities.They have agreed to a never ending war against the FDLR and "other armed groups"! Where are the M23? Where are the results of the joint commission verification of Rwanda support to M23 into Rwanda? How can one agree to a never ending war?

Elie M.

blaise said...

"How can one agree to a never ending war?"
Simple : Greed and power. Power corrupt, absolute power corrupt absolutely.
Again, it never been in Jk and co interest to build an army. If we have to believe half of what the M23 ( said, that means we still have that problem of not paying the soldiers at all. Only a criminal will do such thing.
In my new favorite reading(the bottom billion by paul collier), the author reported how an Ugandese's official solved the problem of corruption : publicize any disbursement and let the recipient know how much to expect. That was a 99 percent effective. The former finance minister of Nigeria did the same.
Maybe we should ask those so called patriots who lead us and make us believe that their doing the best they can, to tell us how much they are disbursing for the army. As long as some officers and politicians will benefit from these conflicts, it will be a never ending one.
The way we treat our military we should not expect a long term solution to this crisis.
Tell JK to show us our money! Cut the bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject or anything, but I found this recent CNN article about Burundian refugees making a life- and apparently an urban farm- in Atlanta, in the US State of Georgia.

Atlanta is well known as the seat and center of my country's increasingly well-off and well-educated black community so its not a surprise so many African immigrants call it home. Indeed, whenever I am there for business the cab drivers are almost always either African or Palestinian. (my oldest daughter, who is engaged the oldest son of the Congolese partner in our palm field in Bas Congo province, lives there and is attending medical school at Emory University).

What DID surprise me was how succinctly the reporter broke down all of Burundi's problems in like 3 paragraphs! It makes me wonder why it always seems like this ridiculously hard thing to similarly report about the Congo given so many Western journalists complain its problems are too "complex" and can't be easily distilled into a good guy/bad guy narrative.

Its a funny what happens when you try, right?

Anyway, just thought I'd share this with the Siasa Community.

Hope everyone is well and, as per usual, I appreciate the thoughtful- if exasperated- comments on the ongoing rebellion.


Anonymous said...

I guess it would help to link the article right?

Sorry. :)


Anonymous said...

Revealing some of the previously unreported crimes, President Kagame cited an incident where 50 former CNDP soldiers who were to be integrated in the Congolese army, were transferred from the eastern to north-western DRC and “killed because of their identity”. He said the incident has never been reported because of a “conspiracy of silence”. Kagame said yesterday. Congolese a real killers! Makenga should not surrender

Anonymous said...

Another irresponsibly and puerile comment from kagame. Him n his friend kabila have been ordering the killing of dissents for years. If he cares about reporting executions he should started by his own. Conspiracy of silence? N ' importe quoi

Anonymous said...

Kagame complaining about a "conspiracy of silence". Is this world coming to an end? Maybe even the most powerful are vulnerable. This might be the start of his empire's decline.

Habyarimana and the 5 million Congolese killed must be rolling in their graves. What an evil man!

Jatukik Providence Foundation said...

Hi Jason,

This is Kanchana, an intern at the Jatukik Providence Foundation. JPF works to help the DRC through a number of initiatives. We have heard great things about your book, have read your blog, and follow you on Twitter. You seem very knowledgeable about the origins and grassroots nature of the conflict in the DRC continuing today. I would like to speak to you about something, and I would really appreciate it if you could email me back at


Anonymous said...

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