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Kivu Insurgency: PARECO and FARDC Deserters Take Up Arms Against FARDC and Rwandan Troops

Sources in Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) inform AfroAmerica Network that the long feared insurgency has started. The insurgency has been predicted by many observers following the November 28, 2011 controversial elections in DRC, which saw the opposition leaders win elections, but the incumbent seize power (see our December 2, 2011 article: Kivu Boiling: Rwanda Rearming CNDP and Serufuri’s RCD As Tshisekedi Is Expected to Win Elections).
According to sources, in the last few weeks, thousand of Rwandan troops,
AfroAmerica Network have crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and joined the troops led by Colonel Ruhorimbere, the FARDC commander in Beni, North Kivu, who is also a former member of Rwandan backed RCD Congolese rebels. Other troops remained in Rutshuru under the command of the accused war criminal General Bosco Ntaganda, also a former member of the the Rwandan backed CNDP Congolese rebels.
In recent weeks, the FARDC troops under the command of the two FARDC commanders backed by Rwandan troops have been battling a growing insurgency led by former congolese Mai-Mai or FARDC deserters. The insurgency is spearheaded by the following congolese armed groups and commanders:

  • PARECO commanded by former MAi-Mai and FARDC commander General Kakulu Sikuli Vasaka Lafontaine. PARECO troops have been battling the FARDC/Rwandan troops in Beni area. Over the last weeks, they led bloody raids against Colonel Ruhorimbere’s troops all way into FARDC bases, killing a score of FARDC troops and high ranking officers. The bloodiest raids happened on February 14, 2012 in Paida-Kisalala FARDC base. The Mai-Mai PARECO also attacked the FARDC battalion based in Nyareki on February 15, 2012, killing a score of FARDC/Rwandan troops. Since December 2011, these Congolese Mai-Mai rebels has stepped up their insurgency and attacked several FARDC bases across Lubero and Ruwenzori forests.
  • Colonel Albert Kahasha, former commander of 808th FARDC division and a former Rwandan-Backed CNDP commander turned ennemy of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Based in Eringeti, Beni, he defected on January 25, 2012 and created his own rebellion. He accuses General Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila of using Rwandan and Congolese Tutsi for their selfish interests and for holding on to power. He himself is from the Congolese Tutsi tribe. He has been battling the FARDC/Rwandan troops since his defection.
  • Colonel Akilimari, former Mai-Mai commander and, until this week, the commander of FARDC division in Ituri. He defected on February 15, 2012 with two battalions. Sources say he is joining forces with General Lafontaine. He accuses General Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila of making the Kivu provinces a bastion of Rwandan troops.

During the campaign, Joseph Kabila heavily invested in Eastern DRC and appealed to Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame for help. General Paul Kagame sent troops to supervise elections and held strategy meetings with Congolese “Rwandophone” candidates in the town of Ruhengeri to plan for the occupation of the Kivus. According to sources in Kivu, the former CNDP leader General Laurent Nkunda, who had been under house arrest in Rwanda, was released last year and participates or leads some of the strategy meetings. He also appears to have reconciled with General Bosco Ntaganda. To attend some of the meetings, General Bosco Ntaganda has been traveling to Kigali, Rwanda.

Sources in Bukavu inform AfroAmerica Network that when the plane carrying Augustin Katumba Mwanke crashed, sealed bags containing around 50 millions US dollars were allegedly found. Some sealed bags containing around 26 million dollars had the name of General Bisengimana, the chief of Congolese National Police, who is also the protege of Rwandan General Paul Kagame, and a Rwandan address. 10 million dollars were allegedly found in briefcases under Katumba Mwanke’s seat.
The destination of such a huge amount of money remains a mystery. Some sources say the money was intended to pay Rwandan troops who have been crossing into DRC to support Colonel Ruhorimbere and General Bosco Ntaganda. Other sources say the money was for Joseph Kabila and his entourage. Joseph Kabila had apparently been saying in Eastern DRC since the November 28, 2011 elections. Whatever the destination, the large sum of money in the area plagued with chaos and insecurity may augur a major event in the Kivus in the near future.
Each rebel group, warlord, and militia appears to be rearming and getting its troops ready for a new protracted insurgency, rebellion, and civil war in the Kivus. The only actor to benefit from the chaos appears to be the Rwandan military. Joseph Kabila may be the pawn in that entangled geopolitical and security mess.

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