Sources within M23 Congolese rebels and PARECO-Union des Congolais Patriotes pour la Paix (UPCP) inform AfroAmerica Network that M23 will reorganize after taking Masisi. M23 rebel movement will dissolve into UPCP, led by General Kakulu Sikuli Vasaka Lafontaine.
The decision to dissolve M23 was made early last week, in a meeting held in Bunagana among the M23 leaders, UPCP, and Rwandan Defense Forces top military leaders. The meeting was also attended by Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, the representatives of Etienne Thsisekedi’s UDPS, and top Ugandan military leaders. The reasons behind the decision to dissolve M23 into UPCP were two folds: to give M23 a Congolese image (see our article:DRC: Rwandan Defense Forces’ March On Kinshasa Has Begun of July 8, 2012) and to shed the overwhelming negative image of M23 depicted in international media, by NGOs and foreign governments. M23 rebels are generally viewed as a Rwandan proxy militia, bent on raping, looting, and massacring civilians.
General Kakulu Sikuli Vasaka Lafontaine, who is from the Nande tribe, will become the overall Commander of the new combined rebel troops. His deputy will be Colonel Mboneza, from the Tutsi ethnic group. Colonel Kahasha, the current deputy to General Lafontaine and who hails from the Shi tribe that mostly resides in and around Bukavu (previous informations suggested he was also of Hema descent) will move to South-Kivu, in Bukavu and Uvira areas, to become the Commander of the troops in his native region. The fate of the current M23 rebels commander Colonel Makenga remains undetermined. Colonel Makenga was rather a choice of opportunity and the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame, the force behind M23 rebels, never trusted him and has questioned his allegiances on numerous occasions (see here).
Colonel Mboneza is currently leading the combats in Mabenga, after conquering Kiwandja. He is progressing northward on his way to joining General Lafontaine’s headquarters.
During the Bunagana meeting, Rwandan Defense Forces leaders gave instructions to the rebels to focus more on conquering Masisi and Walikale, making a junction from South-Kivu, to North-Kivu to Ituri and then moving westward to Maniema and beyond. For now, there is no plan to overrun the town of Goma which houses MONUSCO’s headquarters.
After the Bunagana meeting, Rwandan Defense Forces supplied more troop reinforcements along with heavy and modern weaponries and communication equipments to the Congolese rebels. Ugandan Military leaders lent 8 trucks to Mbusa Nyamwisi to carry his troops. Etienne Tshisekedi’s representatives promised to ready their militants for an uprising in Kinshasa when the moment comes.
Early this week, Mbusa Nyamwisi’s additional troops started crossing from Uganda into the Democratic Republic of the Congo along with hundreds of Ugandan Defense Forces troops. According to the sources, Mbusa Nyamwisi has been staying in Kampala for the last few weeks, before heading to an undisclosed country. His troops will coordinate operations with those of Colonel Hillaire Paluku Kombi based around Beni and Butembo and those of Colonel Matata Cobra around Bunia in Ituri.
Colonel Hillaire Paluku Kombi is being supplied in weapons and communication equipment by Colonel Eric Ruhorimbere, the FARDC commander in the Beni area.
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