Friday, November 28, 2008

Nkunda's Army

From Jeune Afrique comes an interesting analysis of the dynamics behind the war in the Kivus. The Banyamulenge of North Kivu comprise waves of immigrants from Rwanda including both Hutu and Tutsi. They form a (slender) majority in the southern part of North Kivu, near Goma. But the Nande, "indigenous Congo" who form the majority in "le grand nord"--the northern part of North Kivu--won political control of the province after the election. For a while, many of the Hutu Banyamulenge threw their lot in with the Nande, leaving the Tutsi minority of le grand nord feeling ever more isolated.

But the (Banyamulenge) Hutu got very little in return for their allegiance, and now, says Congolese analyst Onesphore Sematumba, the Hutu are turning again to Nkunda, who is widely viewed as the strongman of the moment. "The Hutu feel like the made the wrong choice," said Sematumba.

My own suspicion is that the Hutu should stick with the one that brung 'em. The international community has reached a tipping point. Sooner or later, MONUC or the EU will arrive with enough firepower to put down Nkunda's rebellion, and the Nande will be again in charge. The Hutu don't want to be seen as deserters or opportunists when that time comes.

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