Congo News n. 182


EDITORIAL: Clear and precise objectives








In North Kivu, the deployment of a new United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) intervention brigade, the group charged with disarming various armed groups still active in the region such as the 23 March Movement (M23), draws near. This eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has entered into what can be described as a phase of stagnation: dialogue between the government and M23 in Kampala, Uganda has been interrupted in sight of an eventual agreement, and in the field there has been no indication of major confrontations between M23 and the Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC), despite the fact that the level of danger remains high.

The last proposal brought forward by the government in Kampala was a call for the auto-dissolution of M23, even before the deployment of the MONUSCO intervention brigade. The proposition was rather ambiguous. In fact, even if M23 decided to “disband” as a movement, its members would mix with the civilian population or ask to be reintegrated into the regular army. In this manner, M23 could continue its infiltration strategy into state institutions (government, army, police and administration), preparing to resume war after the departure of the new MONUSCO brigade, whose mandate covers a period of only one year.

The situation changed radically on the 20th May when M23, rather than disbanding, resumed hostilities with the following three possible objectives: to prevent the imminent deployment of the MONUSCO intervention brigade, to disrupt the visit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Kinshasa, and to force the Congolese government to resume negotiations in Kampala, once again in a state of weakness.

An International Spiral of Support

It is difficult to comprehend how an armed group, M23 in this case, strong as it may be, can resume hostilities on the brink of the visit of the UN Secretary-General to the DR Congo and right before the deployment of the MONUSCO special brigade. According to certain witnesses, if M23 dares to resume hostilities it is because the group is concretely supported by more powerful forces. Among these is neighbouring Rwanda, whose regime has never assimilated the Security Council’s resolution on the creation of a special intervention brigade in the DR Congo even if officially Rwanda had to approve it. UN presence in Kivu could, in fact, constitute an obstacle to its expansionist politics of control and occupation of Kivu, which is rich in mineral resources. But one must also wonder why Rwanda is strong enough to be able to defy the UN itself. Its “power” comes from the support received at an international level from Anglo-Saxon powers (the United States, England, and Canada), western multinationals, and certain members of the UN Security Council. This “spiral of support” is one of the “profound causes” of the ongoing conflict in the eastern DR Congo. It is within this international spiral, with a Mafia-like overtone similar to a large iceberg, where the true agents of the war in Kivu are hiding.

Clear and Precise Objectives

Meanwhile, in order to avoid the outbreak of war it will be necessary to accelerate the deployment of MONUSCO’s intervention brigade, as announced by Ban Ki-moon, with clear and precise objectives.

a. For the MONUSCO intervention brigade:

– Target weapon warehouses and military command centres belonging to M23 and other armed groups,

– Disarm and apprehend the leaders of M23 and other armed groups,

– Survey the borders with Rwanda and Uganda in order to prevent all exterior support given to M23 and other armed groups.

b. For the Congolese government:

– Depose and replace military officers who have showed complicity with M23 and other armed groups,

– Shift towards the east of the country the military units issued by the RCD or the CNDP who have always been in Kivu, close to the countries of Rwanda and Uganda who have consistently supported them as a means of assuring their respective economic interests in Kivu,

– Form and send specialised police and military forces to Kivu, assuring the regular payment of salaries and necessary logistics,

– Ensure that the army and police are capable of maintaining the positions recovered as a part of operations led by the MONUSCO intervention brigade against M23 and other armed groups,

– Re-establish the State’s authority by appointing new administrators in recovered territories,

– Bring the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and all forms of human rights violations to justice,

– Implement the commitments taken in the agreement signed on the 24th February at Addis Ababa and demand that Rwanda and Uganda, directly involved in the conflict, respect them as well.


28 April, the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, arrived in Kinshasa, where she began a regional tour devoted to the implementation Addis Ababa peace agreement for the eastern DR Congo. She will return to Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and South Africa before ending her mission at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For Ms. Robinson, the solution to the crisis in North Kivu is not only military, but inevitably requires respect for the framework Agreement of Addis Ababa which was signed last February 24th by eleven members of the CIRGL and which she renamed for the occasion the “agreement of hope”.

30 April, Mary Robinson arrived in Goma where she was received by the provincial Governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, who in his welcome speech emphasised:

As of today, the province has two main threats:

1) Threats comprised of negative foreign forces, namely the FDLR (arrived from Rwanda in 1994) and the ADF-NALU (arrived from Uganda in 1986). These rebels continue to spread terror through pillages, rapes, and assassinations.

2) Threats comprised of local armed groups, namely M23 and more than 15 armed groups known as Mai-Mai, all listed among the negative forces in the province.

M23 comprises the greatest threat among local armed groups. Following an internal conflict that ended with Bosco Ntaganda’s surrender, more than 700 M23 militants, as well as a considerable number of civilians, have crossed the Congolese borders to return to Rwanda. Among them are Jean Marie Runiga, former president of the movement, Lt. Colonel Badege, and Colonels Baudouin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina, all included on the UN Sanctions list. All of these people met in Rwanda in violation of the agreement of regional countries who signed the framework agreement which stipulates that the states commit to neither tolerate nor provide protection of any nature whatsoever to those accused of war crimes, crimes of aggression, or to those under the UN sanctions regime. In the field, the new political and military authority figures of M23, namely Bertrand Bisimwa and Sultani Makenga, rush to reorganize their units in preparation for opposing a resistance to the troops from the UN intervention brigade.

In spite of the different threats declared by M23 toward the UN intervention brigade, one finds that at the heart of the movement several members have defected. According to statistics, 519 M23 militants have surrendered to various MONUSCO bases because they are tired of war and no longer find a future with the armed groups. Among these 519 individuals from M23, 116 have claimed to be from Rwanda and the MONUSCO DDR (Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration) Department has already repatriated them.

From this point forward the International Community understood the causes of the crisis in the east and knew the internal and external participants, and thus the solutions to consider.

One of the external participants, Rwanda, has been clearly identified in different accounts from United Nations experts and in this regard there is no longer any doubt that Rwanda exists economically on the destabilisation of the east from its Mafia-like networks of illicit exploitation of ore.

This is why Rwanda has always campaigned so that there are militants in North Kivu who are favourable to them, not because they must track down the FDLR but rather to promote mining fraud.

Finally, some proposals in four stages:

– The first stage is making the Intervention brigade, whose role is both dissuasive and offensive, operational as soon as possible. The troupe’s arrival in Goma can constitute in itself a triggering factor for the massive defections of armed groups spread throughout the province of North Kivu.

– The second stage consists of helping the DRC put the rapid intervention force into place. Here, the International Community, through bilateral or multilateral support, must urgently form special units at the heart of FARDC that are capable of taking over once the Brigade’s mission comes to an end. At the same time, the United Nations should support the Congolese government’s efforts to form a republican army to reform the security sector (army, police, judicial system, and security services).

– The third stage concerns the fight against impunity in the Great Lakes Region. In this case we propose that the Prosecutor close to the International Criminal Court set off their investigations of massacres, rapes, human rights violations and other war crimes, genocide crimes, etc… committed by the parties already identified in the various reports from the United Nations Experts and from Human Rights Watch. These investigations from the Prosecutor and the ICC will allow them to issue new arrest warrants against the Congolese or foreigners who destabilise the Great Lakes Region in general and, in particular, North Kivu.

– The fourth stage is to support the regional organisations, namely the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), which contains Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC. If this organisation functions normally and State interests are discussed there, the hypocrisy and falsehood used by certain members will no longer have a place, because only the interests of the respective populations will be recognised and recurring hostilities can cease.

1 May, during a press conference in Kigali (Rwanda), Mary Robinson called on all countries who signed the Framework agreement in Addis Ababa to respect the provisions in the agreement, among which is the commitment to neither help nor support rebel movements in the eastern Congo. She also considered that the UN intervention brigade is not an end in itself for the eastern DR Congo: “I see the intervention brigade as being a part of strengthening the capacity, but is in no way an overall solution. In fact, the overall solution will not and cannot be military. It must be political.”

2 May, in Kampala (Uganda), Mary Robinson declared that “the region should focus on applying the Framework agreement of Addis Ababa” and that “political cooperation based on this Framework agreement should remain the central axis of deployed efforts to resolve these conflicts and achieve peace, security, and development.”



During the month of April, the heads of the March 23 Movement established a small base in Kiwanja, next to a camp for internally displaced persons and the principal entrance to the MONUSCO Peacekeepers. According to several sources, the goal is to prevent members of M23 who wish to abandon the movement from surrendering to MONUSCO. Those in charge of M23 deny this information. For them, M23’s nearest position is some eight hundred meters from the Peacekeepers. Local sources affirm that on the 28th April the rebels positioned at the entrance to MONUSCO’s base fired on two police officers who wished to surrender their weapons to the Peacekeepers. Neither of them was wounded and they succeeded in reaching the inner portion of the UN Mission camp. Other sources indicate that around two weeks ago M23 rebels installed two other barriers at Rubare and Munigi, on the route to Rutshuru-Goma, in order to seek out fleeing combatants. Since the beginning of April, eighty-seven M23 rebels have already surrendered to MONUSCO in the Rutshuru territory. They have been assembled at the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Repatriation, Reintegration, and Resettlement (DDRRR) section of the UN mission in Goma.

27 April, around 7 p.m. local time, according to statements from Omar Kavota, the North Kivu civil society spokesperson, two trucks carrying weapons and ammunition entered from the Gasizi border, territory of Nyiragongo, escorted by Rwandan militants to M23’s military position in Kibati. According to several corroborative reports, after its withdrawal from discussions in Kampala, M23 planned to simultaneously attack the villages of Goma, Butembo, and Beni. Three surface-to-air missiles have been delivered to M23 by the DRF, the Rwandan army. Their location has been confirmed by FARDC in the territory of Rutshuru. Their transport convoy was being escorted by three servers (specialists), two of whom were Rwandan and the other a Congolese who had just undergone training in Rwanda.

1 May, Rwandan authorities invited local and international press, as well as numerous diplomatic corps representatives, to the internment camp in eastern Rwanda, where 682 M23 rebels from Jean-Marie Runiga’s faction are confined. These rebels had crossed the border between the DR Congo and Rwanda during the night of the 14th or 15th of last March, after having been routed by Sultani Makenga’s faction. According to authorities, they had been received in Rwanda for humanitarian reasons, had been disarmed and undertaken steps to be demobilized. Séraphine Mukantabana, the Rwandan Minister in charge of refugees, characterized recent rumors regarding the “return” of a portion of the M23 rebels to the DRC as “mere fabrications”. She also asked the UN Security Council for a “lifting of sanctions” that have been imposed “against certain M23 members” who have settled into reception camps in Rwanda and who “have decided to give up on returning to M23″. In this manner, they could obtain refugee status.

1 May, M23 appointed new administrators to the territories of Nyiragongo and Rutshuru. In accordance with the decision, the territory of Nyiragongo will be run by Gaspard Kremera. He will be assisted by Daniel Manganzini and Javier Rwagati, responsible for finances and political questions, respectively. In Rutshuru, Pascal Azamukunda Rubumba is appointed as administer, replacing Benjamin Mbonimpa who has been placed as executive secretary of M23. The North Kivu civil society spokesperson, Omar Kavota, characterises these appointments as provocations. “We condemn these new M23 appointments, which do nothing but reinforce a parallel administration in the province of North Kivu. By this act, M23 demonstrates its determination to destabilise and balkanise this province,” Omar Kavota stated.

2 May, Bertrand Bisimwa, M23’s new president, demanded a cease-fire before resuming negotiations with the government of Kampala.


6 May, the bishop of Goma, Théophile Kaboyi, made public a report on the dreadful situation facing his diocese:

“1. It is from all of the villages that we receive alarm cries reporting skirmishes, assassinations, rapes, pillages, armed robberies… The large number of malicious actions and armed groups spreads terror, particularly in rural areas, so much so that many activities are seriously inhibited.

There are villages where no one can move around freely due to the many barriers and the movement of young militants who, often under the influence of drugs, frighten anyone who passes by demanding money and making death threats. Many farmers, and especially mothers, no longer dare to go to the fields for fear of being savagely raped.

2. Schoolchildren and other uneducated young people are condemned to a life of vagrancy and consequently become easy victims of forced enlistment in the armed forces: it is there that their “childhood is ripped away from them” in order to teach them to kill, there are also some who sink themselves into mining careers, most of which form “places of vice”. Not a week passes without me hearing that such-and-such village has been burned, livestock taken, deaths, injuries. Corpses are often strewn across paths. While fleeing family members don’t have the chance to organise decent funerals.

3. During a visit to Matanda, just before taking the way back to Goma, a man holding a baby (2 months) in his arms approaches me, begging me to do something for his child that he had just picked up from the back of his mother, who had been killed by an unknown person. With help from the Carmelite Sisters of the Parish, the child was entrusted to a young mother who already had her baby (1 month) to nurse and who would care for it thanks to the help of the Bursor General. No, horribly unintelligible things are happening now.

4. In certain areas, it’s the virus of tribalism (ubaguzi) that has appeared and is raging. Some militias happily devote themselves to fighting against all those who are not of their ethnicity, thus provoking massive displacements of entire families towards the unknown. As long as there are “THE OTHERS” opposed to “US”, one can be certain that peace is still far away. It is a matter of considering the other (tribal affiliation is of little importance) not as a threat but as the possibility of discovering that the “US” by which we recognise ourselves and that gives us an identity is much more broad, more extensive, more rich than we ever could have imagined.

5. The abominable compulsion to take people hostage to demand ransoms is becoming widespread. The kidnappings recorded in the Rutshuru territory follow in rapid succession:

– Tuesday 23 April 2013: Mr. Roch NZABANDORA, technical director assigned to the Hydroelectric Center in Rutshuru.

– Tuesday 30 April 2013: Mr. Jean Baptiste KASEREKA, secretary at the Saint Aloys Parish of Rutshuru.

– Sunday 5 May 2013: Mr. Gratien BAHATI, Primary Education Advisor at the Saint Aloys Parish of Rutshuru.

6. Nevertheless, even the most serious difficulties must not throw us into despair and resignation.”

6 May, the provincial governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, proclaimed that at least five hundred and nineteen M23 rebels have already surrendered to the Congolese army since May 2012, the date of the movement’s creation. For its part, the civil society of North Kivu fears that this reintegration that it characterises as “mindless” is nothing but an infiltration source within the Armed Forces of the DRC. According to officials, a number of these former rebels are directly reintegrated within FARDC from Bweremana, current base for the eighth military region. For the spokesperson for the civil society of North Kivu, Omar Kavota, preconditions must be set before full reintegration and he affirms that “in order to ensure that there are no infiltrations within the army from these surrenders, the government must organise transit centres for their identification and formation.” From his part, the spokesperson for FARDC declared that the doors to the military structure for integration are already closed in North and South Kivu and he specified that “these ex-combatants are made available to the military hierarchy for a final decision”.

10 May, the spokesperson for MONUSCO, Madnodje Mounoubai, confirmed that a troupe of Tanzanian militants arrived in Goma, North Kivu, to organise the deployment of the new MONUSCO intervention brigade. “These are officers, members of the military staff, who arrived and are charged with planning”, affirmed Madnodje Mounoubai, who recalled that the Brigade’s commander, James Mwakibolwa, has been on site with certain members of the military staff since 23 April.

13 May, President Joseph Kabila has just created a national monitoring mechanism in order to implement the commitments that the government took in the context of the UN Framework-agreement regarding the eastern DRC. This committee is created for a duration of one year. The mechanism is composed of three committees: management, executive, and advisory. The management committee will be presided over by the President of the Republic, and the Prime Minister is the vice-president. The members of this committee include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Ministers of National Defence, of the Interior, of Justice, of the Budget and of Finances, as well as a coordinator. The executive committee’s task will be to develop a plan for the implementation of the signed commitments and to oversee their implementation. The advisory council’s task will be to organise a dialogue with all active forces in the Republic, and the council is comprised of independent leading figures and representatives of the political class and civil society.


20 May, M23 and the FARDC come face to face in Mutaho (a sector of the association in Kibati, in the Nyirangongo territory), nearly 10 km north from the city of Goma, administrative center of North Kivu. MONUSCO indicates that nearly one thousand people who have fled from the fighting have taken refuge in MONUSCO’s internal displacement camps.

The FARDC accuses M23 of having attacked its positions in Mutaho. According to the army’s spokesperson, Colonel Hamuli, M23 intends to pass through this area in order to reach Mugunga and cut off all of the army’s supply routes. Mugunga, an outlying district of Goma, is the principal entry route for the city. Colonel Hamuli affirmed that M23 threatened to attack the city of Goma once again last week, in order to hinder the deployment of MONUSCO’s intervention brigade charged with neutralising all armed groups.

For his part, the president of M23, Bertrand Bisimwa, rejects these accusations while affirming that his movement wished to drive out Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) out of Mutaho, which they had occupied for several days. “When our troops went to collect water, they found that the wells had already been seized by the FDLR: we pursued them. The FDLR began to fire on our positions,” he declared, accusing Kinshasa of having shown its intent to “resume war, in order to speed up the deployment of MONUSCO’s intervention brigade”. After the exchange of shots, a relative calm came to Mutaho. The governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, stated that M23 resumed fighting to cast doubt upon the MONUSCO international brigade and for fear of the arrival of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who is expected in Kinshasa Wednesday 22 May. For that matter, MONUSCO expressed its concern in light of this resumption of hostilities and has emphasised that diplomatic and political solutions are planned, and that every effort is being made to contain and bring an end to these confrontations.

21 May, confrontations between M23 and FARDC resumed during the morning in Mutaho. Local sources indicate that M23 rebels launched their offensive starting from Mujoga, located 4 km from Mutaho. Colonel Olivier Hamuli assures that the rebellion received reinforcements of men and weapons from Kibati and Kibumba. The Congolese government’s spokesperson, Lambert Mende, declared that fifteen M23 rebels were killed and twenty-one others were wounded during combat. Four Congolese militants from FARDC also perished during the confrontation, while six others were wounded. He also indicated that “heavy weapons and several ammunition boxes coming from outside were recovered in two of the enemy’s forward positions that passed under the control of the regular Congolese forces.” Lambert Mende finally affirmed that “this M23 offensive aims to dissuade, even prevent the deployment of the international special force and to disturb the arrival of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to Kinshasa.” According to other sources, M23 resumed hostilities to oblige the Congolese government to accept a cease-fire and to resume negotiations in Kampala, which are once again in a weakened condition.

21 May, the vice-president of the civil society of North Kivu, Omar Kavota, denounced the presence of Rwandan militants on the side of M23 rebels. He affirmed that the resumption of these confrontations was “foreseeable”, explaining that the rebels had already “planned everything”. “It was foreseeable. We also have reliable information that the Rwandan army is supporting M23. We alerted the authorities last weekend of M23’s manoeuvres aimed at attacking the city of Goma and defying the UN’s Intervention Brigade.” declared Omar Kavota, who also indicated that at the beginning of these fights, “more than three hundred people from the Rwandan army crossed the Gasizi border to stand alongside M23.”

He added that the civil society of North Kivu had alerted the Congolese authorities several times regarding M23’s planning of these confrontations. “We thought that the authorities dragged their feet while getting organised,” stated Omar Kavota who, moreover, demanded that the MONUSCO Intervention Brigade “get to work”, indicating that “the security of the millions of inhabitants of Goma and its outlying areas is in danger.” For its part, MONUSCO has neither confirmed nor denied the presence of Rwandan militants alongside M23 rebels during fights with the Congolese military.

21 May, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, concluded that the deployment of the MONUSCO intervention force must be “sped up”. “Seeing what has happened, I think that we should speed up the deployment so that they will be entirely at work as soon as possible,” Ban Ki-moon declared during a visit to Mozambique.

22 May, activities move in slow motion in the city of Goma, due to the intensification of fights between the FARDC and M23 in Mutaho. Sources on the ground affirm that many nursery and primary schools did not operate. Educational establishments that had opened in the morning sent students home several hours later.

The same sources indicate that in Goma’s town centre, businesses and banks opened but residents did not come. When it comes to customs offices, border control officers affirm that the enthusiasm of those who return to or from Rwanda diminished since the day before. The panic is more evident in the outlying districts to the northeast of Goma, notably Majengo, North Mabanga, Katoyi, Kasika, Nyabushongo, Ndosho and Mugunga, bordering the territory of Nyiragongo. In the morning some artillery shells were dropped in the districts of Ndosho and Mugunga. Hospital sources report that four people were killed and seventeen others wounded by the artillery shells. According to the military spokesperson in North Kivu, Colonel Olivier Hamuli, all of these explosives were fired by M23 rebels from their position in Kibati. Sources on the ground report that internally displaced persons from the third Mugunga camp were in the process of fleeing towards other districts to the south. Residents of the Ndosho district would do the same, apart from some people who still remain hidden in their houses. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 30,000 people fled from their internal displacement camp near Goma. “The internal displacement camp Mugunga 1, which counts 55,000 internally displaced persons, was 45% emptied and that of Mugunga 3, where  13,000 people are counted, was 70% emptied,” proclaimed Simplice Kpandji, charged with communicating to the regional HCR bureau in Kinshasa.

22 May, M23 declares itself ready for immediate cessation of hostilities with the army in order to facilitate UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Goma. The one responsible for the communication, Amani Kabasha, declared during the evening that M23 demands a truce formalised by a cease-fire agreement duly signed by both parties, also calling for the negotiations of Kampala to resume. M23 will react “vigorously” if the truce is not respected by the Congolese army, threatens Amani Kabasha.


22 May, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Kinshasa, accompanied by the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Mary Robinson, and Hervé Ladsous, who is responsible for UN Peacekeeping operations. In Kinshasa, he encouraged the Congolese population to not abandon hope, explaining that the objective of his visit is to express the United Nation’s solidarity and to support the implementation of the Framework for peace, security, and cooperation for the DRC and the region. As far as the war in the eastern Republic, Ban Ki-moon pleaded for the Framework-agreement of Addis Ababa to be respected and applied in its entirety. He feels that this agreement should be applied both within and outside of the DRC in order for peace to prevail not only in the DR Congo but in the Great Lakes Region as a whole.

At the end of his interview with President Kabila, Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern on the resumption of hostilities near Goma and insisted upon the intervention brigade’s creation with a strengthened mandate in the east. It’s a first, he said, a first in UN operations.

During a press conference, the UN Secretary-General said he was concerned about the tense security situation in North Kivu. He called for the two parties to agree to a cease-fire with the aim to peacefully resolve the crisis that rattles the eastern part of the DRC. He pleaded for the resumption of peace talks in Kampala in order to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis. Ban Ki-moon then welcomed the creation of the national surveillance mechanism that, according to him, helps ensure the implementation of principal reforms, political dialogue and national reconciliation.

For his part, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, announced that the Great Lakes region would receive interest-free aid in the amount of one billion U.S. dollars. These funds will finance sectors such as hydroelectric energy, roads, agriculture, cross-border trade, health, and employment.

A report from the World Bank specified that the financing consists of 100,000,000 USD for agriculture and the improvement of subsistence methods in rural environments for the displaced persons within the region’s countries; 340,000,000 USD for the Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project generating 80 megawatts that will benefit Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. 150,000,000 USD will help the rehabilitation of Ruzizi 1 and 2 hydroelectric projects and will finance Ruzizi 3 which will supply power to Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC. 165,000,000 USD are for the construction of roads in the DRC in North and South Kivu and the Orientale Province, as well as 180,000,000 USD to improve infrastructure and resource management on the border between Rwanda and the DRC.

According to the President of the World Bank, “this financing will help to revive economic development, create jobs and improve living conditions for the populaces that have suffered for far too long.” For his part, Ban Ki-moon thinks that “these new investments will allow direct support of the implementation of the Framework for peace, security, and cooperation signed by President Kabila as well.” He stated that “peace and stability are not simply a question of security” and that it is necessary to “tackle poverty, which is one of the profound causes of the conflict.” That is to say that the UN and the World Bank are in agreement on an approach on which peace in the Great Lakes depends for the implementation of development projects. But what does a billion USD represent for an area where challenges in terms of development are counted in billions of USD?

Already, in its first strategy for the DRC, the World Bank had calculated developmental needs at around 5 billion USD per year. If the UN and the World Bank are today pleased to commit scarcely a billion USD to the Great Lakes Region, can that not be interpreted as a manner of spitting on the five million dead in the eastern DRC?

What is true is that the UN and the World Bank are wrong in their analysis. Rather than naming the troublemaker and addressing the true problems, Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim preferred to limit themselves to outlying problems that don’t have any influence on a rapid return to peace in the region. They missed a great opportunity to send a message of assurance to the Congolese populace, bruised by years of war caused by Rwanda and all the western countries that support it from the shadows and keep, at all costs, pursuing the systematic pillage of the DRC’s natural resources.

This visit has a strong economic dimension. In fact, the two leaders arrive in the region betting that this massive investment in the economy will automatically lead to beneficial effects for peace. But, if the investments in the development projects are helpful, it isn’t certain that they will bring back peace. To be coherent, Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim must not leave out one of the principal factors of the conflict in the Great Lakes Region. In fact, this conflict has a strong economic dimension. Since the end of the ’90’s, several warring parties have thrived on mining riches from the Kivu regions in order to arm and strengthen themselves. This situation persists firstly due to the incapacity of the States to sanction their immigrants and the economic players who are proved to have participated in this war economy. This concerns not only the DR Congo but also Rwanda and Uganda as well as other outside countries. This impunity in the pillaging of natural resources for the benefit of armed groups is also the consequence of the absence or the insufficiency of international presence able to prevent these resources from reaching the international market.

If Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim wish to stop the cycle of armed violence in this region of the world, they must also commit to promoting at an international level restrictive initiatives that will impose a “duty of diligence” upon economic players, a simple approach to obligate them to exclude their supply chains from minerals whose exploitation and commerce finances violence. This will finally bring them to force Rwanda to put an end to its campaign to destabilise the Great Lakes Region.

23 May, in the morning Ban Ki-moon arrived in Goma, where he was welcomed at the airport by the governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku. After the confrontations between M23 and FARDC in Mutaho, the situation has been calm since the morning. According to Julien Paluku, Ban Ki-moon’s visit conveys the UN’s willingness to make the signing of the Framework happen as well as the Resolution 2098 creating the MONUSCO Intervention brigade charged with tracking armed groups in the eastern DRC.

Ban Ki-moon announced that the deployment of the intervention brigade will be effective “within a month or two”. “This time, we go beyond the traditional peacekeeping mandate. The mandate is distinctive because it aims to impose peace as soon as it is necessary,” he declared.

Mr. Ban visited the Heal Africa Hospital, which notably cares for victims of sexual violence. According to William Bonane, a doctor at Heal Africa, the hospital reported 6,500 cases of rape in 2012 and 2,500 in first quarter of 2013. In front of the hospital, a small protest group of women was organised. Among their messages: “No to Kampala”, “We refuse all negotiations”, and “Negotiations until when?” – a reference to negotiations to end the crisis in process in Kampala.

According to the Associate Director of the Oxfam confederation of organisations in the DRC, Joanna Trevor, “the intervention brigade will be able to bring a certain security, but it will not resolve the real causes of violence in the DRC.” According to her, it is necessary to invest in “strong and reliable” security forces, a power “at the people’s service” and a judiciary system which obligates those who violate human rights to be held accountable.

Rwanda’s manoeuvres to keep North Kivu under permanent fire have been clearly denounced by the provincial Executive Chief, Julien Paluku, who emphasised that it is from these rebel movements deliberately created by Rwanda through which the country continues to pillage Congolese wealth.

Julien Paluku evoked two major causes that explain the persistence of insecurity: the presence of Rwandan Hutu rebels (FDLR), Ugandan rebels (ADF-Nalu), as well as around ten national armed groups (Mai-Mai) on Congolese soil, and the illicit exploitation of natural resources by Rwanda. In order to get to this point, the country succeeded in devising a program to create local militias, making use of the Congolese that Kagame had used in Rwanda in the Rwandan Patriotic Army in the 1990’s. These militias were sent to the DRC through different rebellions (AFDL, RCD, CNDP, from which the current M23 stems) that integrated them in the Armed Forces of the DRC, as the Congolese claim. Even worse, the government of Kigali refers to former FDLR members who were demobilised through MONUSCO’s DDRRR fighting at the side of M23. Many of them had been captured or had surrendered to MONUSCO bases where they were then repatriated to Rwanda.

Julien Paluku insisted upon the deployment of surveillance drones before the start of immediate operations to allow observation of nightly passages and logistic support from Rwanda to M23, as the new weapons, ammunition, and heavy artillery that M23 uses is strong proof of the outside support from which this death machine benefits. Taking advantage of the announcement that the region would receive one billion dollars in aid, Julien Paluku assessed that “as the countries in the region and particularly Rwanda have gutted the DRC with repeated pillages, it would not be logical to finance these countries that are already enriched at the expense of Congolese misery by destroying the socio-economic infrastructure bases. For this the billion dollars should be granted principally to the East for its economic recovery in sight of making up for the lack of development imposed upon it by repeated wars. This will create sufficient employment for the young people who are often victims of being recruited to various rebellions.”

After Ban Ki-moon’s departure, the civil society of North Kivu said it was “deeply disappointed in the brief visit” of Ban Ki-moon to Goma. Its president, Thomas D’acquin Mwiti, felt that the UN Secretary-General should have seen the different sectors of the population in order to better understand the situation that prevails over this province which has been in the grip of armed groups for more than two decades. “He listened to certain people like the provincial governor. He did not reserve enough time to listen to the people and understand the situation,” he declared.

After Goma, the UN Secretary-General will cross the border into neighbouring Rwanda, where he will meet with President Paul Kagame. There’s no need to be a prophet to know what the master of Kigali will say to his host. An old security antiphony that, recalling years of genocide, falls more under the virtual rather than the real and is transformed into a real commerce hub. The refrain ends invariably with the “Ponce Pilate” side of the Rwandan president in relation to the “congolo-Congolese conflict” occurring in the eastern DRC. This record is well-known. In the face of this denial of aggression, and violations of integrity in Congolese territory, what can Ban Ki-moon do? A terrible question. However, the key to the recovery of the Great Lakes Region will depend upon the reaction of the first UN diplomats to the eternal Kigali theory. Ban Ki-moon’s hypothesis will hide behind obscure diplomatic language and would refuse to qualify the nature of the armed conflict occurring in the two Kivus, continuing to turn in circles. M23 is comparable to a fever whose original illness is found well on the other side of the border. It is Rwanda – and in to a certain extent Uganda – that is the problem. It is with Paul Kagame that the Number 1 of the UN should come clean. An experienced diplomat, Ban Ki-moon knows that the truth is quite solvable in diplomatic language. It is this language of truth that it is important to have in Kigali to hope to restore peace by peaceful means. Case laws of repeated wars in the eastern DRC inform that different rebellions supposedly born from the womb of the legitimate army obey orders from Kigali. Thus it is in the capital of Rwanda where one finds the solution to the umpteenth war of aggression which extends the martyr of the Congolese people.

24 May, Ban Ki-moon arrived in Kigali from Goma. He affirmed that Rwanda has an “essential” role to play in order to guarantee peace in the eastern DRC and he asked the Rwandan Chief of State, Paul Kagame, “to use his political charisma for peace, security, and development in the Great Lakes Region.” According to him, Rwanda has an essential role to play in the implementation of the agreement of Addis Ababa, an agreement that forbids the signing countries from supporting active armed groups in the eastern DR Congo. However, in the rapid declaration in front of the press, at no moment was the political aspect of the Addis Ababa agreement evoked, nor the next deployment of the intervention brigade in the eastern DR Congo, nor the question of Rwandan support of M23. Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim contented themselves with recognising Rwanda’s economic development and their success in the matter of male/female equality.


Thanks to PerMondo and the translator Kristin Dale, this translation has been possible. PerMondo was created by Mondo Agit with the aim of helping NGOs with free translations.