Sources in Masisi, North-Kivu, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) tell AfroAmerica Network that the United Nations Mission in the DRC, MONUSCO, has been holding meetings with the populations and leaders in Eastern DRC to ease serious tensions. The tensions have erupted over the suspicions by the local populations that MONUSCO has been supplying weapons and supporting the Mai-Mai fighters, known as Sheka or Cheka, from the Ndumba Defense of Congo (NDC), one of the countless militias roaming the Congolese forests. These Mai-Mai are funded and armed by the Rwandan government and receive military training from Rwandan Special Forces.
The accusations were motivated by an incident that happened on September 26, 2013, involving a MONUSCO vehicle, a woman suspected of being Rwandan Special Forces operative, and a local Mai-Mai group, known as M26. M26, mostly dominated by Congolese Hutus, was created in response to the Tutsi dominated M23 rebels, supported by the Rwandan Government. M26 rebels are led by Colonel Kasongo.
MONUSCO Vehicle Carrying Weapons Destined to Cheka?
On September 26, 2013, a MONUSCO vehicle in which a Rwandan woman was riding was stopped and searched by Mai-Mai M26 rebels in Kashuga, in Masisi. Upon deep search, the Mai-Mai discovered three machine-guns, a large quantity of ammunitions, and a large sum of money. When these Mai-Mai interrogated the woman, she admitted being on the mission of the Rwandan Defense Forces and bringing the money and the machine-guns to Mai-Mai Cheka from Rwanda. She also said she had bribed MONUSCO employees, so that she may use the vehicle as a cover. When Mai-Mai M26 rebels examined her cellphone, they found messages exchanged between the woman and some leaders of other armed groups operating in the region.
On September 28, 2013, after learning about the incident, a mob attacked MONUSCO staff in Karembe, Masisi. Mai-Mai Cheka managed to break the mob and hid the MONUSCO staff.
MONUSCO Tries to Calm the Tensions.
On October 8, 2013, the populations, mostly composed of young people, women and children, rioted when they saw a MONUSCO convoy traveling into Masisi. They set blockades across the road, both in front and in the back of the MONUSCO convoy. MONUSCO leaders had to appeal to the traditional leaders and Mai-Mai commanders. The meeting with the local leaders in Mweso, Masisi was also attended by a FARDC commander Sukisa, and the M26 Mai-Mai rebels commander Colonel Kasongo. In the meeting, MONUSCO leaders reassured the Congolese population in Masisi that it doesn’t support Rwandan Special Forces backed Ndumba Defense of Congo Cheka.
MONUSCO leaders added that the incident, in which MONUSCO vehicle was carrying machine-guns destined to Cheka, was unfortunate and such actions will never happen again.
The mob and the local leaders refused to believe MONUSCO and accused it of working with Rwandan Special Forces.
According to the sources in Eastern DRC, the tension between MONUSCO and the local populations is so high that MONUSCO troops have to shoot in the air in order to cross Masisi.
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