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Colonel Albert Kahasha Defects Again A Week After He Surrendered

Colonel Albert Kahasha alias Foka Mike, the commander of one of the Congolese rebels groups allied with M23, has defected once again, less than ten days after he surrendered to the Congolese army, FARDC, sources with Colonel Kahasha tell AfroAmerica Network.

Colonel Kahasha, who was the commander of the 808th regiment of Congolese troops, known as FARDC, defected the first time on January 15, 2012 (see our article Kivu Insurgency: PARECO and FARDC Deserters Take Up Arms Against FARDC and Rwandan Troops of February 16, 2012 other articles about Colonel Kahasha here)..

He is a former Rwandan-Backed CNDP commander who turned ennemy of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and joined the FARDC. After he joined the FARDC, he became the regiment commander. He was based in Oicha and Eringeti, Beni, when he defected and created his own rebellion. He accused General Paul Kagame and General Joseph Kabila of using Rwandan and Congolese Tutsi for their selfish interests and for holding on to power. He himself is from both the Congolese Shi and Tutsi tribes. He battled the FARDC/Rwandan Defense Forces troops after his defection.

Then, around April 2012, he decided to ally himself with another Congolese rebel, General Kakulu Sikuli Vasaka Lafontaine, from the Nande tribe and the Commander of Mai-Mai PARECO-Union des Congolais Patriotes pour la Paix (UPCP) troops. Later, they both joined forces with Rwandan backed M23 rebels (see our article: M23 to Reorganize After Taking Masisi; General Lafontaine to Become Overall Commander.) However they soon found out that the alliance was an illusion, especially when the Tutsi dominated M23 leadership created a government without informing them.
That is when General Lafontaine and Colonel Kahasha started organizing to continue with their own rebellion, separate from, but without antagonizing, M23 rebels leadership. When the Rwandan Military leaders, including General James Kabarebe, the Rwandan Defense Minister who is the de facto Commander of M23 rebels, learned about their frustration and their plans, they invited Colonel Kahasha to Kigali and sent military equipment, ammunitions and other army supplies to General Lafontaine.
The Rwandan Military leaders also ordered M23 to never push  beyond Kanyabayonga and let Colonel Kahasha lead operations in South Kivu.

It is upon his return from Kigali, Rwanda that Colonel Kahasha surrendered to FARDC (see our article: Bitter and Frustrated by Rwandan Military Leaders, Colonel Kahasha Throws In the Towel of November 15, 2012).

According to the sources with Colonel Kahasha, what happened next led to his decision to defect once again.

  • First, despite promises from FARDC leadership that he will be integrated without a problem and conditions, he was asked to invite his men from bush to be disarmed and regrouped on a site. He had between 300 – 500 men, mostly from the Shi and Nande troops in the bush in South Kivu.
  • Second, General James Kabarebe called him without respite to remind him of the promises he made back in Kigali and how cowardly it was to abandon the rebellion.
  • Third, General Lafontaine was calling him and accusing him of betraying the cause they agreed to fight for.  A large number of  troops with Colonel Kahasha were also troops lent to him by General Lafontaine.
  • Fourth, on November 23, 2012 FARDC commanders sent some of the ex-FDLR troops and Raia Mutomboki that surrendered with him back to Rwanda or to MONUSCO, without informing him.
  • Finally, he saw how the FARDC were losing battle after battle.

That was too much for him. According to the sources, he has decided to continue with the plans to open a front in South Kivu and concentrate his efforts there. Other sources both in Kinshasa and Bukavu, told Afroamerica Network that Colonel Kahasha has been in communication with Congolese opposition leaders, including Vital Kamerhe, the former Speaker of the Parliament who is also from the South Kivu and from the same tribe as Colonel Kahasha and former Foreign Affairs Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi.
Initially a close ally of Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Vital Kamerhe has been very critical of Joseph Kabila since the latter invited Rwandan troops into Congo without the approval of the Parliament during Umoja Wetu military operations against Rwandan rebels. Vital Kabila unsuccessfully ran againt Joseph Kabila in the 2011 elections.

Mbusa Nyamwisi was also an ally with Joseph Kabila. He later fell out favor following his attempts to find  peaceful solutions to the problem of Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was pushing for  the Rome and Kisangani peace process between the DRC government and National Democratic Congress (NDC), an umbrella organization of Rwandan rebels. Both Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame opposed the process.
Invited into DRC by Joseph Kabila within the framework of Umoja Wetu and secret accords (see our article DRC President Joseph Kabila Accused of Treason: Did He Do It? The Telegram Story of Septmebre 6, 2012), Rwandan Defense Forces troops attacked the Rwandan refugee camp in Kasiki, South Lubero, North Kivu, DRC. Mbusa Nyamwisi was subsequently removed from the government, sidelined, and later forced into exile. He has been organizing a rebellion, crisscrossing between Kigali, Rwanda and Kampala, Uganda.

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