Friday, June 26, 2009

The Congolese Army Disintegrating in Kivu

Marie France Clos has an excellent article in Libre Belgique on the disastrous state of the Congolese army in the Kivus. In brief, the Congolese troops sent to the Kivus haven't been paid in months, and are defecting not individually but whole companies at a time. Some are going into business with the "enemy" ex-genocidaires (FDLR). Others are simply terrorizing the populace. The only group willing to fight the FDLR are the Tutsi CNDP, formerly led by Laurent Nkunda (and now by the war criminal Jean Bosco). The CNDP is responsible for massacring families in the area of Hombo in May--the ex-gen retaliated by killing civilians in Muturungi. Meanwhile, Monuc soldiers sit with their hands under their ass, and will only take up arms to defend themselves.

According to an article in the Rwandan New Times, a group of Mai-Mai fighters known as the Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS), is said to have joined forces with the FDLR.
Most Mai-Mai fighters were earlier integrated into the Congolese National Army (FARDC) but this faction recently pulled out of the alliance and is stirring more trouble in DRC's unstable east.

"The main problem is that they don't agree with the programme of integration, which is the main reason why there is conflict between them and FARDC. Like many other rebel groups, the problem is about issues such as ranks, and pay," said Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich Chief Military Spokesperson for the UN mission in DRC - MONUC.

Dietrich noted that although discussions for integration into FARDC were still ongoing, APCLS combatants and FARDC clashed several times recently.
Colette Braeckman adds more detail on the army's failures: Umoja Wetu destroyed the FDLR's command structure and dislodged them from the more productive mining sites, she says. But it left the bulk of the forces untouched. These have responded with massacres and rapes: The UN has registered some 1330 rapes in South Kivu since the start of 2009, and FARDC forces are as guilty as the FDLR. Monuc continues to sit on its hands. But, tellingly, no one in the area wants to see the Rwandans return.

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