Congo News n. 183


EDITORIAL: Moving from discord to harmony


a. A new summit in Addis Ababa

b. The ambiguity of the role of the international community, of Rwanda and of Uganda





EDITORIAL: Moving from discord to harmony

There are many declarations from influential personalities within institutions, from diplomacy and from politics, surrounding the current drama continuing in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which proves the interest of the international community in the return of peace in this country.  But their very diplomatic and official language is not at all understood, nor accepted, by the Congolese population. In effect, such language is often a source of doubts, uncertainty, distrust and discouragement.

The ambiguities and shadows of a language which is too ‘diplomatic’.

When the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs declared that ‘if Rwanda does not want to be viewed as involved in the conflict, they must demonstrate that they want to be part of the solution’, or when the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, asked the Rwandan President, Paul Kegame, to ‘use his political influence for peace, security and development in the Region of the Big Lakes’, what were they saying?  They are trying, perhaps, to ask Rwanda and Uganda to put an end to their support for the movement of 23 March (M23), to the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the DRC and their interference in the Congolese political life. Perhaps with a diplomatic language, they may be asking for respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC. But the Congolese people cannot understand using any kind of magic, how those who are at the origin of the conflict and which are the main cause of all this suffering can, at the same time, be artisans of peace. The Congolese people have the impression that people want to, at all costs, convince them of the fact that their tormentors can also be their saviours and their liberators. Impossible!

When, in Kinshasa, Ban Ki-Moon called on President Kabila to resume negotiations with the M23 in Kampala, he seems to forget that, like the previous so-called rebel movements (AFDL, RCD, and CNDP), the M23 is also supported, in men, weapons and ammunition, by neighbouring countries, including Rwanda and Uganda. The pretext is to ensure the security of their borders of the ‘threat’ from their respective rebellions which took refuge in DRC, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Ugandan ADF-Nalu. It would have been logical that, to resolve the Congolese problem in its entirety, Ban Ki-Moon also called on Rwanda and Uganda to begin to negotiate with their respective rebellions, but it has not done so. The confusion of the Congolese population comes from the fact that the international community asked of the DRC that which we do not dare to ask of Rwanda and Uganda. The Congolese people can no longer tolerate this strategy of double standards Only the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, has dared to propose, throwing a spanner into the works, the organization of an inter-Rwandan and inter-Ugandan dialogue, which could lead to agreements which may allow the different foreign armed groups present in the east of the DRC, to return unarmed to their respective countries. This would be a way capable of restoring peace in the east of the DRC and in the entire Great Lakes region.

In Kinshasa, Ban Ki-Moon has asked for the respect and implementation of the agreement in Addis Ababa and has wished that such an agreement would be applied both inside and outside of the DRC.
However, in Kigali, in a brief statement to the press, he never mentioned the regional aspect of this agreement, nor the thorny question of the Rwandan support of the M23. Ban Ki-Moon knows that the objective of the Rwandan regime is to infiltrate and destabilize, via the M23, the institutions of the DRC, to obtain the full control of the military, political and economic resources on the east of the country, which is very rich in natural resources. But Ban Ki-Moon has wanted to avoid these taboo subjects and just talk, for the umpteenth time, on the recent economic development of Rwanda and on its progress on the equality of men / women. The Congolese people, however, know that the current Rwandan regime will always find ways to ‘legally violate’ the agreement in question, sustained and protected by western multinationals and some international powers, including the United States, England and Canada. The Congolese people expected that Ban Ki-Moon would announce specific sanctions, in the case of Kigali not respecting the Addis Ababa agreements, but their hope was in vain.

During the last visit of Ban Ki-Moon in the Great Lakes region, the World Bank allocated a billion dollars for development projects in the region. It is a gesture which may seem quite normal, but the population is not of this opinion, as expressed by the governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku: “Everyone knows that the countries of the region, and in particular Rwanda and Uganda, have bled the DRC dry through the uninterrupted looting of its natural resources and mining.  It would therefore not be logical to finance the countries who have grown rich at the expense of the Congolese people, by destroying all local socio-economic infrastructure and causing misery. The billion dollars allocated by the World Bank should be invested primarily in the east of the DRC for its economic recovery, in order to recover the delay that the recurrent wars have imposed “.

Moving from discord to harmony

Probably, it is these ambiguities and contradictions of a language which is far too diplomatic, which are blocking the peace process in the DRC. We must therefore change strategy and go for a language which is clearer, more explicit and more direct. It will be necessary to move from discord to a symphony in harmony with the local population. Without a doubt, the clarity and transparency would help the Congolese people to regain confidence in international institutions.


a. A new summit in Addis Ababa

26 May, the eleven African Heads of State who have signed the Addis Ababa agreement on peace in the East of the DRC last February met this Sunday, May 26 in the Ethiopian capital on the cusp of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity. The head of State of the DRC Joseph Kabila discussed with his counterparts in Rwanda and Uganda, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni. No concrete announcement was made immediately after this meeting, which was held behind closed doors. Before this meeting, the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, stated that a lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region is only possible “if all signatory countries are working together to overcome the political impasse and create a new dynamic in favour of the safety of the population and of economic development”, adding that it would be necessary to carry out a ‘test of implementation’ of the Addis Ababa Agreement.[1]

The Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete, as a country supplying troops for the new brigade of the Monusco, took the opportunity to deliver his vision of the route which would keep them in view of a lasting resolution of the crisis in the east of the DRC. For him, the UN intervention team will have no impact if dialogue is not opened between the different players, including between Rwanda and the FDLR and between Uganda and the ADF-NALU. The Tanzanian president said three things. Firstly, the special UN team is a good thing, but it will not solve the problem of funds, which is political. Then, he insisted on the necessity for a resumption of the dialogue between the Congolese government and the M23. Finally, and most importantly, for him, such a dialog will not suffice. If Kinshasa negotiates with its enemies of the M23, it is also necessary that Kigali agrees to talk with his enemies of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and Kampala with the Ugandan rebels of the ADF-NALU. We will not have lasting peace, without global negotiation. At these words, Rwandan Head of State Paul Kagame did not stumble. No reaction on his part. “If he has said nothing, it is already so”, breathed a participant at this meeting.  “Up to now, for him, the FDLR were the devil“.   Paul Kagame has said nothing, but Yoweri Museveni reacted in a single sentence: “We discuss with who we want and isolate the others“.  [2]

In an interview with RFI, the response of the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, was scathing: “If the president Jikaya Kikwete thinks that Rwanda should sit 

down at the negotiating table, it is just ridiculous.  Those who think that Rwanda should sit down at the negotiating table with the FDLR, do not know what they are talking about. The FDLR are a group responsible for genocide who have supporters here and there. At the level of our neighbourhood, but also far from Rwanda” In the same interview, Louise Mushikiwabo also asserts that “the new intervention team of Monusco is an important element of a political package. Therefore, what is very important today is that we can very quickly get to grips with this political solution which is just an internal political solution for the DRC. The team, it must not be mistaken, is not a solution to the problem of the Congo, it is a small contribution“.[1]

28 May, Francois Mwamba, the all-new coordinator of the monitoring mechanism of the peace agreement framework of Addis Ababa, has welcomed the proposal of the Tanzanian president, stressing that “what is asked of the DRC, he should ask of others also, to reach a comprehensive solution“.   With regard to the blocking of the talks between the M23 and the government in Kampala, François Mwamba affirmed that the government is waiting for the final proposal of the mediation before putting an end to discussions. In the month of March, the Government drafted a text of 12 articles which could have been signed as final documents putting an end to the discussions.  But the M23 felt that this document was not consistent with its expectations and suggested, in its place, another text. The facilitation was to convene a plenary meeting to discuss the two texts, in order to find a consensus and conclude the negotiations initiated since the December 9, 2012. This plenary meeting has never been convened.[2]

In responding to the proposal of the president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, on 26 May at the summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, requesting on Rwanda and Uganda to negotiate with their respective rebels, as the Congolese government is doing with the M23, Jean Pierre Dusingimungu the president of Ibuka, which is the association that brings together the survivors of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, has stated that, negotiation with the rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), ‘is legitimizing their cause and encourage impunity’. Fanny Bahati, a survivor of the genocide, has stated that ‘Kikwete, whose country houses the headquarters of the ICTR (international criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), seems to ignore history’. Godefroid Kä-Mana also, president of ‘Pole Institute’, an intercultural institute in the Great Lakes region, based in Goma, North Kivu , has stated that ‘to negotiate with the FDLR means erase all the crimes they have committed’ and he believes that we cannot ask the Rwandan government to negotiate with the FDLR rebels. The remarks of Kikwete constitute ‘an insult to the people of Rwanda’, said Gideon Kayinamura, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly of Rwanda. This parliament requires an apology from Tanzania.[3]

In the aftermath of the statements made by Gideon Kayinamura, calling on the Tanzanian Government to apologize, for having proposed the holding of an inter-Rwandan political dialogue, the Tanzanian Minister has simply declared that “for nothing in the world, will Tanzania present any excuse. First, because the Tanzanian government is animated and guided by good intentions aimed at the restoration of a lasting peace in the sub-region, submerged in repetitive wars for almost twenty years. Next, because for sixteen years Kigali has defended the thesis of the preventive war against the Rwandan Hutu rebels taking refuge in the DRC, considered as their battlefield, and this has been without success. On four occasions, in effect, the Kigali Government has supported movements against so-called Congolese rebels, to neutralize the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). In turn the AFDL, RCD, the CNDP and recently the M23 have benefited from public diplomatic, financial, military support from the Rwandan Government. There are also those recruited from within the Rwandan military ranks, who have always formed the bulk of the troops of all these so-called Congolese rebellions, who fought alongside the Congolese, trained and equipped by senior officers of the Rwandan regular army“. Finally, the minister is of the opinion that the refusal to open negotiations with the Hutu rebels of the FDLR will never be the best way to bring peace in this sub-region of the Great Lakes region, particularly in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.[4]

4 June, Kinshasa, the ambassador of Tanzania in DRC, Emedy Ngaza, continues, saying that ‘to oppose the proposal of the Tanzanian president of a dialogue between Rwanda and Uganda and their respective rebellions, is to oppose the establishment of a lasting peace in the Great Lakes region’.[5]

Peace in the Great Lakes region will come to pass essentially by the effective democratization of institutions in Rwanda and the dialogue with the FDLR,” said Julien Paluku, Governor of the Province of North Kivu. The man believes strongly that it is by an official dialogue and open between the power in Kigali and the rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in particular, that a lasting peace can settle in the region. Julien Paluku believes that all Rwandans found outside Rwanda outside must not be considered as rebels. Since, he argues, among them there are three categories of people. There is first, the most hunted men in international justice. The real criminals who have perpetrated the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. These individuals should have a treatment much more severe from the Government of Rwanda. There is then, Rwandan political refugees  fleeing the monolithic regime and terror installed in Kigali, here for the last 19 years and therefore do not feel the slightest tendency towards the sharing of power between all the sons and daughters of Rwanda. An illustration is the condemnation of an opponent of international renown, Madam Ingabire, whose only sin was to have dared to submit herself as a candidate in the presidential election in 2010 in Kigali. She was sentenced to 8 years in prison, a sentence which will extend until 2018. All this, in order to prevent the exploit being republished, and securing again his representation at the presidential elections in 2017. It is here that the Governor Julien Paluku spreads his exasperation and calls the President Paul Kagame to interact with this category of Rwandans who have nothing to do with the genocide, but against whom charges have been brought to ensure their silence. There is, finally, these other Rwandans who have grown up with the genocide, then minors (less than 18 years in 1994). The latter also are freely capable of participation in genocide, whereas they were not in any way involved in the atrocities of 1994. This category should involve all those who are born outside of Rwanda, that is to say, during all this time of refuge. Today, their age is between 19 years and close to 35 years. These people must not be labelled with the ideology of genocide, as they were not present on Rwandan soil in these times, because most were born outside the country. To the North Kivu Provincial Authority, the proposition of the Tanzanian President concerning the last two categories of Rwandans who are completely excluded from the political management of Rwanda. To discuss this is neither to be bearer of the ideology of genocide, nor be spokesperson of the FDLR rebels.[6]

According to several observers, for the leaders of Kigali, he who proposed the inter-Rwandan dialogue must be treated as an accomplice and a sympathizer of the genocidal hutu. Paul Kagame and his friends of the RPF can not tolerate the slightest contradiction. They have made of the genocide their method of trade to evoke in member countries of the international community the feeling of guilt for not having given assistance to a people massacre in 1994. And each time they are caught short of arguments, they hide behind this same pretext of genocide. They do not want to recognize that all the Hutu refugees in the DRC are not genocidal and that, in 1994, hundreds of thousands of them had been massacred, either by the interahamwe militia, or by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). If the Rwandan regime obstinately refuses to impose its policy of exclusion, what could be done to ensure that the Congolese people, victims of mass killings, rape, forced displacement to the interior of their country, looting of mineral resources of their country, are able to experience a day where the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian regimes are recognized as being responsible for the countless war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on their soil? Because, peace and understanding as well as cooperation are the fruit of the search for truth and justice by the dialogues and negotiations between the States.[7]

According to several observers, the way out of the crisis in the Great Lakes region involves a comprehensive approach between all the countries involved. All the countries of the region are affected, in one way or another, by rebel movements: Rwanda by the FDLR, Uganda by ADF-Nalu. Since all are affected, the United Nations intends to put in place a mechanism for resolution that involves all. If this approach appears effective, its success is dependant however on certain preconditions. This is the case of the good faith of the players involved to collaborate for a mutually beneficial solution for all countries. However, from this point of view, it is not safe to say that for the specific case of Great Lakes, all countries are watching in the same direction. Today, it is proven by the failure of all the mechanisms implemented in the region that the good faith of some countries, such as Rwanda and Uganda, is not established.

There are many observers who believe that the return of peace in the DRC will serve its neighbours, mainly those of the East. Not only will they lose the dividends derived from the plundering of natural resources, but also the recommended reconciliation will jeopardise their regimes. In other words, the process of repatriation and reconciliation, particularly in Rwanda and Uganda, will bring into their respective territories the rebels that they have managed to keep away for decades. To the point where, sweeping clean the DRC becomes a challenge.

Everyone knows it and nobody dares to say it out loud. There is only the force of the pressure to persuade the refractory States, Rwanda and Uganda in particular, to become truly involved in the global option presented in Addis Ababa by the Tanzanian President. Concerning the M23, the involvement of the international community should be translated by a coercive force and not a preventive force which cannot deter anyone. As evidence, the Monusco is17 thousand men strong, but they have never managed to put an end to the armed conflicts in the east of the country. It is in these conditions that the desired involvement of all countries in the sub-region could find its meaning in the light of the framework agreement in Addis Ababa.[8]

b. The ambiguity of the role of the international community, of Rwanda and of Uganda

At the end of the tour of Ban Ki-Moon in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, the former Irish president has granted an exclusive interview with Bruno Minas, corresponding to RFI. Mary Robinson, sent specially by the secretary-general of the United Nations for the Great Lakes Region pleaded for a resolution of the crisis by the development and welcomes the financial commitment of the World Bank: “There is now a billion dollars, this changes a lot of things“.

RFI: Ban Ki-Moon hopes talks in Kampala between the M23 and the Kinshasa Government will resume. Everyone thought that this dialogue was buried. Do you think it is still possible to resume dialogue and that it is really necessary?

Mary Robinson: I think that it is necessary, because it is better that people are discussing to find a way to bring peace. Now we have a broader approach with the framework agreement of Addis Ababa. It is a matter of peace, security and development. The two parties can reap the benefits of peace. I want to encourage the two parties, the government and the M23, to return to the negotiating table, because there are a lot more choices now.

RFI:  Does that mean that it will still incorporate rebel combatants into the national army as in the past?

Mary Robinson: I know that we were very afraid of this solution, particularly in Goma. There are some that we could integrate, but for the others it was now more of a choice of what they might do; because we can propose a sort of ‘economic strength’. There must be no impunity and thoughtless integration, because, up to now, this has not worked. But, now, we know that there will be initiatives for development with the support of the World Bank. There is now a billion dollars and that changes a lot of things, that counts!

RFI:  Is it the billion dollars which will bring peace?

Mary Robinson: No, we cannot say that. But people’s mentalities must change a little, so that they can say that there will be a better future, because it is such a rich region! And we could really move forward, like other countries in Africa. I have talked with groups of women, with the civil society. Everyone wants development.

RFI:  Does this mean that the Congo should share a little of its wealth?

Mary Robinson: In the Congo, at the moment, the wealth has been stolen. If we could exploit all of this in a lawful manner, this could help all the countries in the region. Because there is a need for investment, workers … This is good for everyone.

RFI:  There are a lot of accusations against Rwanda and Uganda, indicating that they may be behind the M23. What do you think of these accusations?

Mary Robinson: I want to be straightforward I have private discussions with people as a special envoy. I think we will make progress, and have done already.

RFI:  There is a debate in the DRC on democracy and human rights. We still await a consultation promised by the president

Mary Robinson: When we were in Kinshasa and Goma, we talked about this consultation, in that dialogue, and I have the impression that it will start soon. It is important because I have found that women’s groups and civil society are a little too preoccupied by the intervention unit to resolve all the problems. I say that the unit, certainly, is important, but this is not the solution. The solution is rather the framework agreement for peace, security and development. The Congolese must understand that the government must have an army and a police force that work well, a State authority throughout the territory. This is the long term, I know. But, now, I think it can really begin. We have the mechanism to follow-up I hope that the civil society, women’s groups and young people will follow this process, and the opposition also.

RFI:  The intervention unit would therefore be rather a deterrence unit?

Mary Robinson: I hope so. It must be a preventative force and that we should rather attempt progress at the political level, toward peace, and especially development.[9]

Rwanda and Uganda play a quite unique role. They are both accused of supporting the rebellion and, at the same time, are considered as solutions to the conflict. This is the ambiguity that has reigned for years. The subject is almost taboo. To such a point, in fact, that it is impossible to draw a word from Ban Ki-Moon on these questions. Uganda has a doubly unique role, since Uganda is also a mediator country between the M23 and the Congo. Although these negotiation initiated at the beginning of December 2012, they are completely stalled at the present moment. In Kigali, Ban Ki-Moon has also said that he had encouraged President Kabila, who he met with that day, to pursue negotiations in Kampala. But actually, we are walking on eggshells in these two countries, where some accuse them of being in support of the rebellion, and others say that, on the contrary, they can play a big role for peace.[10]

Already last May 10th, for example, during a meeting held in Bujumbura (Burundi), the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, of Burundi and of the DRC continues had expressed their desire to create a court of justice for the prosecution of crimes committed in the region of the Great Lakes. However, the heads of diplomatic missions of these three countries had not yet defined the mode of establishment of this court, nor its skills.[11] According to some observers, this initiative could hide the attempt, on the part of the Governments of Rwanda and Uganda, to avoid international justice for the perpetrators of serious violations of human rights committed by Ugandan and Rwandan officials on Congolese territory.


The people and the civil society of North Kivu showed more and more gestures of solidarity in favour of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) since the latest fighting with the rebels of the M23 in Mutaho from 20 to 22 May. The women of the political parties, local associations as well as the civil society of the North Kivu have handed to the officials of the army to Goma an envelope of $1 000 for the military positioned on the front line. The spokesperson for the committee of women, Me Nelly Lumbulumbu, indicates that it is a gesture to encourage the armed forces and ‘tell them that the women and the entire Congolese population are supporting them’. While the fighting was taking place in Mutaho, some inhabitants of Mugunga volunteered to carry military equipment and ammunition to the front line. But the military command have not accepted this offer, explaining that it would endanger the lives of civilians. Other inhabitants of the North Kivu have posted messages of support to the FARDC on the Facebook social networking site. Leaders of the provincial civil society remind the military however of their responsibility concerning civilians, cautioning against abuses such as those which were committed last November in Minova during the occupation of Goma by the M23.[12]

28 May, the spokesman of the civil society of North Kivu, Omar Kavota, stated that the M23 takes advantage of the truce to strengthen its positions in men and munitions from Rwanda and that this attitude demonstrates that they still have the ambition to retake the city of Goma.[13]

29 May, in Goma, at the end of a meeting to raise awareness of young people so that they do not integrate into the armed groups, the traditional chiefs of North Kivu have asked the Congolese government to avoid integrating foreigners, criminals or rebels within the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC). The dialogue was organized by the Barza inter community and the civil society of North Kivu, with the support of the public information section of the Monusco. For more than two-hundred notable people of North Kivu, who have participated in this dialogue, one of the output channels for this province, after more than twenty years of war, is the training of an army capable of ensuring the integrity of the national territory. These communities are committed to educate their young people to leave the armed groups and rebel movements. They have also asked the government to be rigorous in the selection of combatants before integrating them into the army.[14]

4th June, the military spokesman for the Monusco, the lieutenant-colonel Prosper Low, has stated that a third of the total of the United Nations intervention team, have already arrived in Goma. Other military personnel are expected ‘in the next few days’. This brigade should be made up of 3,069 men provided by Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. Part of the South African troops will be based at Munigi, north of Goma. Another barracks to the west of the city is under construction. The spokesman of the United Nations, Martin Nesirky, had announced on 3 June that the troops already on site had already begun to patrol with other members of the Monusco. According to the patron of peacekeeping operations of the UN, Herve Ladsous, this team should be operational by mid-July. In a press release published last May 24th, the leader of the diplomacy of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, had wanted a ‘rapid’ deployment of this force.[15]

The June 5 , The civil spokesperson of the United Nations Mission for the stabilization of the Congo (Monusco), Penangini Toure, has stated that if the rebels of the M23 actually return to Kampala to continue the negotiations, the UN intervention team will not attack where they are.

The team is there to neutralize these forces, which they will teach the civilian population“, said Mr. Toure, adding that, “If they remain where they are located and if they do not disturb anyone, I do not see why the intervention team or the strength of Monusco would seek to dislodge them“. “Sooner or later, it will be necessary that this force is on the side of the Republic, as there is a single republic, there is a single authority of State and there is only one government.  Everyone needs to subscribe to this logic. Therefore, sooner or later, these armed groups will have to be dismantled, if really we want to achieve peace“, he continued. “But in the meantime, negotiations must continue,” concluded the UN spokesperson.[16]

On 5 June, in a press release, the political head of the M23, Bertrand Bisimwa, stated that “the M23, in agreement with the facilitation, confirmed that his delegation will travel to Kampala on Sunday, June 9, in order to continue the dialogue with the Congolese government“. The M23 justifies this decision particularly by the comments of the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and his special representative for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, during a tour late May in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Ban Ki-Moon and Mary Robinson had then advocated a “political solution in the resolution of the root causes of the crisis in the East of the DRC) “, summarised Mr. Bisimwa. These discussions, began in December 2012, have reached stalemate since the division of the rebel movement last February. In March, as a result of the vote on resolution 2098 of the Security Council creating the intervention team of Monusco, mandated to combat the armed groups in the East of the DRC, Kinshasa had asked the M23 to self-dissolve.[17]


24 May, from 4 o’clock in the morning, young “Banyamulenges” of the Nguba district, to the east of the city of Bukavu, near the border with Rwanda, barricaded the main road that leads toward the Ruzizi Ier border.

At first sight, these young “Banyamulenge” wanted to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with certain events which occurred the previous day. In the evening of Thursday, May 23, 2013, there would have been violent disputes between a group of young Congolese and Banyamulenges in the area behind the market of Nguba. For the Banyamulenge, everything stemmed from insults uttered without charge by the Congolese, qualified as M23, when they were discussing peacefully of some private issues. For the other party (Congolese), everything stemmed from a flow of drinks, when a few young Banyamulenge entered and took the bottle off someone they thought they had already drunk enough The one who was asking questions was spat on, which he wasn’t able to bear. The brawl came to a head injuring 2 Banyamulenge girls and 3 boys who were subsequently checked in to the BIOSADEC dispensary in Nguba. The young Banyamulenge, living in groups of more than ten people here and there throughout the entire city in what they call student homes, couldn’t think of better revenge than blockading the road, preventing the entire population, the majority of whom were not involved in this private dispute, from peacefully going about their business. Children were not able to get to their classrooms. All the parents who took their children to school by foot, by car or by motorcycle were refused access to the school. This seemed unfair and unacceptable and some motorists intend to demand that access is granted. To date, some bikers bringing schoolchildren have been knocked off their bikes by stones thrown at them, and have been injured. This then stirred anger throughout the biker taxi gangs, who generally support each other in all circumstances. A fast and strong mobilization followed and the violence has escalated. The throwing of stones between the two parties escalated so much that it descended into a situation of violence. The damage was key: the broken and wounded in the two camps, wanton destruction, pillaging, and the theft of money and objects of value. In the aftermath, the Methodist Church of Muhumba was ransacked and partly burned. The same happened at the CEPAC/Shalom church of Nguba. It should be noted that these two churches are essentially Banyamulenge.

According to several observers, in Kivu, the situation of insecurity has persisted for 20 years now, and it seems that it will be that way forever. It has all become the already seen, already heard and already lived. We can say without risk of being wrong that nothing is done without cause or ‘political’ afterthought in this kind of demonstration. It is time to think of a deliberate strategy? How can we explain that a private dispute between a few young people in the district can lead to such spillovers without that thinking of manipulation and orchestration?  Should we think of the Trojan horse brand M23? Only time will tell. But it is virtually certain that xenophobia and ethnic hatred will once more marketed by the leaders and Tutsi extremists/Banyamulenge to justify any possible military reaction and/or policy.[18]

24 may, In effect, a press release, signed at Bunagana (North Kivu) by Amani Kabasha, Head of the Department of Communication and Media for the M23, stated “Management of the Movement denounce and condemn the selective abuse specifically in the towns of Bukavu and Goma, in the place of some compatriots for their ethnic affiliation.” Still according to the press release, “in Bukavu hordes of young people manipulated and paid by the local authorities have taken on Banyamulenge students who were beaten, mutilated and have suffered degrading treatment, in violation of human rights and the dignity. Some died as a result of the beatings, others were burned in the Churches. 

The stigma of a part of the national community, used as a scapegoat for the problems facing the country, is the basis of a lot of frustrations that have led to recurrent wars. Some authorities take daily media space, public and private, for launching messages of appeal for ethnic hatred, a populist discourse which has made tribal hatred the cement of a pseudo patriotism. The rhetoric of ethnic hatred is adopted as a strategy of popular mobilization.

The M23 continues to hold the Government of the DRC wholly responsible for this ethnic cleansing. These acts of genocide are the consequence of these calls to incite hatred, for which nobody has been sentenced to date. We are therefore under obligation to prevent the national and international community from experiencing the disturbing nature of the threat of this campaign of ethnic hatred in a Region which has already experienced one of the worst genocides in the history of mankind. We also appeal to the entire human community, international institutions, in this case the Monusco, whose mission is to protect the civilian populations, to put an end to the collaboration with the security bodies (intelligence services, migration services, Army and Police) of the Congolese Government“.[19]

According to some observers, the rapidity with which the M23 has reacted can suggest its direct involvement in the incidents of Bukavu, acting as an intermediary using some of its militants who have infiltrated the city. First of all, the press release by the M23 is in an exasperating tone, and falsifies information when it speaks of young Banyamulenge killed following the beatings or burned in the churches. In effect, no deaths have been reported and the injured can be found in both parties. In addition, the themes mentioned have all been heard before: the insecurity in which the Congolese Rwandophone community live (Banyamulenge, Banyarwanda Tutsi), marginalized, excluded, deprived of all rights, victims of ethnic hatred, and always under threat of ethnic cleansing and genocide. In reality, the victim and ‘scapegoat’ complex displayed by some politicians and some military authorities of the Rwandophone community, today members of the M23 themselves, is part of the strategy adopted to hide their plan of destabilization of the two Kivu provinces, to ensure political, military and economic control. In effect, by directly accusing the Congolese government of being ‘wholly responsible’ for the so-called ethnic cleansing, the press release suggests that the war of the M23 is nothing other than a war against the Congolese State.

It is therefore not a problem of coexistence between the different ethnic communities that make up the Congolese people in Kivu. When the deployment of the new MONUSCO intervention team now seems imminent, the purpose of the press release of the M23, and perhaps even events in Bukavu, is to push the United Nations, Monusco and the international community to dissociate themselves from the Congolese government, by putting an end to any form of cooperation with its security services, in order to isolate and fight them more easily. With the logistical and military support of neighbouring countries, such as Rwanda and Uganda, in turn backed by Western multinationals from the United States and England, the M23 revealed, as well, its true nature as a terrorist group at war against the Congolese State and its people.


On May 7, in a letter addressed to the President Joseph Kabila, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed its concerns and presented recommendations in regard to the human rights situation in the east of the DRC, stressing the need to end immunity for the perpetrators of serious violations of these rights.

According to HRW, the new Framework Agreement for the Great Lakes region, signed in Addis Ababa on February 24, 2013, by the appointment of Mary Robinson as Special Envoy of the secretary-general of the United Nations, as well as the forthcoming deployment of the intervention team – a force under African direction created as part of the peace-keeping Mission of the United Nations in DRC, the MONUSCO – are all good opportunities to seize in order to advance things. Human Rights Watch calls on the international actors to exert sustained pressure to ensure the immediate cessation of all military support from Rwanda or Uganda to the M23 or to other armed groups active and committing abuse in DRC. The persons responsible for such support should be held accountable and subjected to sanctions.

The success of the regional and international commitments contained in the Framework Agreement cannot be ensured without the full involvement of the Congolese government and without a genuine commitment and concrete action from them in favour of the implementation of key reforms at a national level.

For too long, the policy of integrating of war leaders, who are the perpetrators of atrocities, within the ranks of the army and to grant them high grades and influence, has spread immunity, which amounts to rewarding the use of violence.

The recent accountability of Bosco Ntaganda and its transfer to The Hague have been important steps in the fight against immunity for the most serious crimes committed in the east of DR Congo. HRW hopes that other individuals suspected of having committed serious violations against human rights – including leaders of the M23 such as Baudouin Ngaruye and Innocent Zimurinda (who are currently in Rwanda), Sultani Makenga and Innocent Kayna – will also be arrested and brought to justice. All these persons are included within the list of sanctions established by the United Nations and by the United States and deserve no amnesty.

However, for these measures to have a lasting effect, the Congolese government should not enter into any agreement with a war leader who has committed abuses, regardless of his political affiliation, ethnicity or other affiliations. In effect, the M23 is not the only group of this kind. To put an end to immunity, the government should adopt a consistent attitude and be fair across all the armed groups responsible for serious abuse, and refrain from promoting justice in a single direction or a system with double standards. A number of militia, as well as members of the Congolese national army, have also committed atrocious attacks against civilian populations. Among these militia groups are the armed group Raia Mutomboki, the Democratic Forces for the liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Nyatura, the Mayi-mayi Sheka, the patriotic Alliance for a free and sovereign Congo (APCLS), Mai-mai Yakutumba, the Front of the Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI) and the Mayi-mayi fighters in Katanga. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and dozens of villages attacked by these groups. The perpetrators of such acts should not be rewarded, but arrested and brought to justice.

The deployment of the intervention team is not without its risks, but also represents a unique opportunity to stop the rebel leaders who are responsible for the worst atrocities. The team should concentrate its efforts on targeted operations and be well prepared for these arrests, and take all possible precautions in order to minimize the damages suffered by the civilian population, such as was caused by previous military operations which led to the displacement of the population and to violations of human rights on a huge scale.

In the regions that the intervention team succeeds to control, it will be essential that the Congolese government, in coordination with MONUSCO, makes preparations in order to be able to hold and secure these areas restore institutions and credible public services. The protection of civilians should be a priority. A policy regarding combatants of armed groups who are willing to lay down arms should be developed and implemented even before the start of military operations, and should avoid the failures of previous programmes of disarmament.

In the framework of the government national reform programme, and to ensure the monitoring of other commitments contained in the Framework Agreement, the following measures should be taken:

Relieve of their duties, submit to investigations and prosecute in a suitable manner the members of the Congolese security forces implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of human rights, whatever their rank.

Ensure that the Congolese government refrain from providing military support to the militias or the foreign armed groups or Congolese who are responsible for widespread or systematic violations. The civil leaders and the military who have given their support to such groups should be relieved of their duties, be the subject of investigations and be duly prosecuted.

Implement a mechanism of ‘vetting’, or control of personnel for the army and the police, in order to exclude those individuals who are capable of serious violations of human rights.

Create specialized mixed chambers or courts within the Congolese judicial system, with the participation of prosecutors, judges and other international personnel, to open trials in conformity with international law, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in DR Congo since 1990.

“With the support of the United Nations and the aid community, develop and implement as a matter of urgency a new programme and strategy for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) concerning the members of armed groups. Such a strategy should ensure that:  the people responsible for serious violations of human rights are not only excluded from the army, but also subjected to enquiries and duly prosecuted; the children are immediately separated from these groups and entrusted to agencies for the protection of children; the veterans who are integrated in the army or the police are following an appropriate training in order to be able to behave in conformity with international law and human rights standards, before being assigned to regions of the country other than those where they have operated as a militia; and that ex-combatants are offered realistic alternatives to a career in the army, such as the potential for long-term employment in the civilian world.

• Include civil society organizations, in particular  human rights and women’s rights defence groups, in the development of national reform programs, as well as follow-up mechanisms.[20]

[1] Cf Christophe Boisbouvier – RFI, 27.05 . ’13

[2] Cf Radio Okapi, 28 and 29.05 . ’13

[3] Cf Taylor Toeka Kakala – Ips News – Goma, 07.06 . ’13

[4] Cf The Phare – Kinshasa, 04.06 . ’13

[5] Cf Radio Okapi, 04.06 . ’13

[7] Cf The Phare – Kinshasa, 04.06 . ’13

[8] Cf The Potential – Kinshasa, 05.27.13

[10] Cf RFI, 24.05 . ’13

[11] Cf Radio Okapi, 13.05 . ’13

[12] Cf Radio Okapi, 28.05 . ’13

[13] Cf CRI – Kinshasa, 29.05 . ’13

[14] Cf Radio Okapi, 30.05 . ’13

[15] Cf Radio Okapi, 04.06 . ’13

[16] Cf Xinhua – Kinshasa, 06.06 . ’13 (via

[17] Cf Radio Okapi, 06.06 . ’13

[18] Cf Alfajiri Kivu, Blog for the Center for political and strategic analysis for Action – Great Lakes, 25.05 . ’13

[19] Cf special correspondence

[20] Cf Human Right Watch – Kinshasa, 07.05 . ’13 


Thanks to the PerMondo initiative and the translator Laura Hargreaves, this translation has been possible. The initiative was created by Mondo Agit with the aim of helping NGOs with free translations of documents and websites.