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Bitter and Frustrated by Rwandan Military Leaders, Colonel Kahasha Throws In the Towel

Colonel Albert Kahasha alias Foka Mike, the commander of one of the Congolese rebels groups allied with M23, has surrendered to the Congolese army, FARDC. He gave up the rebellion after months of frustration, bitterness and feeling of betrayal by the Rwandan Military and government leaders, who support and effectively lead the M23 rebels.

According to sources in contact with Colonel Kahasha, he surrendered after a trip to Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he held lengthy talks with Rwandan Defense Minister, General James Kabarebe. General Kabarebe had summoned him to Kigali, after persistent signs of his discontent over the failure of Rwandan Military leaders to honor promises made to him in Bunagana when he allied himself with M23 rebels. In September 2012, Colonel Kahasha was also shocked to learn first through the media the formation of M23 government, when he was supposed to be one of the M23 top commanders (see our article: Congolese M23 Rebellion Unravelling Under Pressure and Following Dissension of September 15, 2012).

According to the sources in contact with Colonel Kahasha, prior to his surrender, Colonel Kahasha was ordered by General James Kabarebe to report to him in Kigali, Rwanda. He travelled to Rwanda with heavy security detail. During their meeting, General James Kabarebe told him that he understood his frustration and that the Rwandan Military leaders were ready to find and fix what went wrong. General James Kabarebe then gave Colonel Kahasha troops, mostly composed of demobilized ex-FDLR to help him start a new rebellion in South Kivu. General Kabarebe also ordered the Raia-Mutomomboki commanders to be ready to receive Colonel Kahasha as the operations commander of South-Kivu rebellion. Raia-Mutomboki is a congolese rebel group mostly led by Rwandan special forces officers.

The conversation was going well. Then, on the last day, General James Kabarebe, General Kayonga, Colonel Mutebusi, General Laurent Nkunda and General Jack Nziza held a meeting with Colonel Kahasha to outline his mission. They told him that the mission for M23 rebels and their allies was to secede the South-Kivu and North-Kivu from DRC.

Colonel Kahasha gave the impression to agree to the mission and left for Cyangugu, where he spent a few days, apparently waiting, along with the ex-FDLR soldiers, for the Raia Mutomboki to tell him where to join them. Meanwhile, he contacted the Governor of South KIvu, Marcellin Cishambo, to offer his surrender. Marcellin Cishambo immediately sent an escort to receive Colonel Kahasha at the border with Rwanda and led him to his residence. The soldiers that were with with him were received in FARDC military camps.

According to the sources in contact with Colonel Kahasha, he has promised to reveal everything about the plan by Rwandan military leaders to break South and North Kivu provinces away from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the enrollment of demobilized ex-FDLR and young boys, the mass executions by M23 commanders and Rwandan Defense Forces officers of those suspected of desertion or who refuse to fight, including young boys and girls. According to the sources, to frighten and dissuade other young boys and girls, M23 commander often bury alive those caught fleeing or suspected of desertion.

Whether the Rwandan Military Intelligence and Special Forces and General James Kabarebe will give him the opportunity to spill out the military secrets remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Colonel Albert Kahasha is being received as a hero by Congolese political and military leaders.

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