Some DR Congo ministers helped in creating ALIR-FDLR


Who are the FDLR? History and current situation

Aloys Tegera, Goma, March 2008

All guilty, all responsible

It all began with the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the subsequent debate between Rwandans living in Rwanda and those in the diaspora. Today the reality of the genocide has been recognized worldwide. But it is understood differently among the Rwandan Hutu refugees located in South and North Kivu and elsewhere in the world.

Because of the hardly describable nature of the events, the question of responsibility for the genocide and massacres became a subject of debate and this worried certain groups among the Rwandan Hutu refugees in Kivu. Between October 1994 and April 1995 the “Rassemblement pour la Démocratie et le retour des Réfugiés“(RDR) (Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda) was created in Bukavu and the camps in Mugunga in North Kivu. Its director was François Nzabahimana, a member of the editorial committee of the magazine “Dialogue”, now located in Brussels.

“The position of this movement, which presents itself as a ‘third way,’ is simple,” writes the historian Jean-Pierra Chrétien. “It is that the genocide was only one aspect of the massacre of the ‘war’; that there were many victims of the Rwandan Patriotic

Front (RPF) (which is not completely false), with the dimensions of a further genocide, one kept secret. This ‘double genocide’, the argument goes on, was connected to the centuries-old confrontation between Hutu and Tutsi, and it is even suggested that what happened in 1994 was a ‘media show’, a typical Tutsi trick. As a result, the only solution is mutual forgiveness and negotiations between the Tutsi government in Kigali and the representatives of the Hutu refugees. Otherwise retaliation would be inevitable. … On this basis attempts were made, especially in Europe, to force Kigali to negotiate with these forces on the basis of a general amnesty and a compromise based on ethnic dualism. This negationist ideology of equal responsibility achieves its goal of laying the blame on both ‘camps’ of Tutsi and Hutu, all the better to be able to call everybody innocent, starting with the initiators of the genocide.”[1]

These positions of the RDR were officially adopted by the commander-in-chief of the former Rwandan army ex-FAR during a meeting in Bukavu on April 28-29, 1995. At this meeting the higher officials of the army went even further, with the suggestion that the government in exile representing their interests should simply be replaced by the RDR.[2] The executive secretariat, directed by the former head of the Bank of Rwanda, Denis Ntirugirimbabazi, was located in Nairobi, Kenya. Its military and the political wings functioned fairly well until early 1996, when a conflict about finances alienated President François Nzabahimana from Major General Augustin Bizimungu and Colonel André Bizimana, initiating the beginning of the end for the movement.[3]

The Rwandan Hutu refugees housed in South and North Kivu on the border of Rwanda were supported by a Mobutu regime that was clearly approaching its end. But they were an ecological disaster for the flora and fauna of the Virunga National Park, and a humanitarian crisis for the population of the small city of Goma, flooded by crowds of Rwandans. Its location on the border with Rwanda also made it a base for attacks on surviving eyewitnesses of the genocide.

Out of the Ex-FAR and the Interahamwe militia, a military machine was organized, which acted as the fighting wing of the RDR. Military training and embezzlement of food aid happened under the indulgent eyes of the UN refugee organization UNHCR. The military group’s well-aimed attacks on Rwanda between 1995 and mid-1996 on the whole avoided a direct confrontation with the new army of Rwanda, the APR. (This was the armed wing of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which took power in the country in 1994 following the flight of the perpetrators of the genocide.)

Alliance with Laurent Kabila and creation of the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) In autumn 1996, the camps of the Rwandan Hutu refugees were smashed by the Rwandan army. The AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire), supported by the Rwandan army, was the Congolese rebel alliance under Laurent-Désiré Kabila that toppled the Mobutu dictatorship in 1997. AFDL troops drove the refugees apart and massacred many of them. This marked the beginning of the complexities faced today, and the stagnation when it comes to dealing with the problems of Rwandan Hutu refugees in Congo, and especially with their armed elements.

The alliance between Laurent Kabila and his Rwandan godparent did not last long. His attempt to free himself definitively from them triggered a second rebellion in August 1998, that of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD). Given this coalition of rebels, supported from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, Kabila could think of nothing better than to ally himself with the Ex-FAR and Rwandan Interahamwe. These had just recently played an important role in Sassou Nguesso’s takeover of power in Congo-Brazzaville from its elected president Pascal Lissouba.

According to a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a delegation from the Ex-FAR went to Lubumbashi on 10 August 1998, to meet with Laurent Kabila. Following a month of negotiations, a kind of “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was agreed on 10 September 1998. According to this, the Ex-FAR and Interahamwe would support Laurent Kabila in his fight against the aggression in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, while he would; in return, offer them the logistics necessary to regain power in Rwanda. Those on the Congolese side who supported Kabila in this approach were Victor Mpoyo, Didier Kazadi Nyembwe and Mwenze Kongolo. On the side of the Rwandan Hutu refugees, the key people in this alliance were André Bizimana and Dr. Casimir Bizimungu.[4] Another person was also there, inconspicuous and hardly known, Fabien Singaye, the former Rwandan Ambassador to Switzerland.[5]

In the meantime, three higher officers, Léonard Nkundiye, Paul Rwarakabije and Gaston Iyamuremye, infiltrated themselves into Rwanda to lead an uprising in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi.[6] Parallel to the organizing and structuring of the activities of these insurgents in northern Rwanda, an armed force formed in Kinshasa calling itself the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR). It was made up from Ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias coming from various countries[7] into which they had been driven from the Congo during the AFDL’s takeover. In contrast to the creation of the RDR and their difficulties with their armed wing, the ALIR founded a political wing, called PALIR (People’s Army for the Liberation of Rwanda), to mobilize the public.

Initiatially, ALIR consisted of some 10,000 men,[8]  with brigades in Kamina, Lubumbashi (Katanga province) and in Mbuji-Mayi (Eastern Kasaï province), while two battalions were located in Mbandaka und Ikela (Equateur province). With the help of Zimbabwean and Angolan airplanes and artillery, the Ex-FAR and Interahamwe were a powerful ally of Laurent Kabila in the western and southern part of the country.

After the collapse of the rebellion in northwestern Rwanda, especially after the death of officers Nkundiye and Mugemanyi, the remaining troops under the leadership of Paul Rwarakabije returned to the Congo, to Masisi (North Kivu) in October 1998.[9] But it was not until 2001 that the forces of the ALIR were finally unable to do further harm in Rwanda.

The creation of the Coordination Committee for Resistance (CCR) The defeat of the ALIR in Rwanda coincided with its inclusion in the US list of terrorist organizations. This put the Congolese regime of Laurent Kabila in a quandary, as it was allied with this movement. Thus the ALIR was forced to invent a new identity and turned itself into the “Coordination Committee for Resistance” (CCR) under the leadership of Dr. Casimir Bizimungu, Tharcisse Renzaho (executive secretary and head of the army), Hyacinthe Rafiki (former Minister of Public Works, afterwards assigned to documentation and security), Colonel André Bizimana (responsible for military training), Colonel Aloys Ntiwirigaba (responsible for logisitics) and Colonel Jean-Bosco Ruhorahoza (responsible for recruitment and military operations). Internal conflicts led to a split in the CCR and quickly thereafter to the founding of the “Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda” (FDLR).

The FDLR in Laurent Kabila’s wake

The idea to found this armed movement came from Colonel Aloys Ntiwirigaba and Hyacinthe Rafiki. At the start the movement was only military. Its commander, Colonel Ntiwirigaba, was then stationed in Kinshasa, and his deputy, Colonel Renzaho, in Lubumbashi. They enjoyed the support of other officers like Sylvestre Mudacumura, stationed at the time in Pweto (Katanga), Bernard Uwizezimana and André Bizimana.

Laurent Kabila proved incapable of reconquering the lost territories in eastern Congo. The rebels of the RCD in eastern Congo were on their side held in check by Zimbabwean and Angolese troops, supported by the Ex-FAR and the Rwandan Interahamwe in Kasai, Katai and Equateur. In view of the military stalemate, a political dialogue was initiated. The negotiations between the war parties that led to the Lusaka Accord in July 1999 labelled the FDLR and Laurent Kabila’s other armed auxiliaries as “negative forces.” This isolation compelled Kabila to form a broad coalition between the FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi militias, who fought against the Rwandans in eastern Congo and were also allied to him. This was supposed to, on the one hand, bring the Rwandans in the FDLR closer to the Congolese population, and on the other hand, present the struggle of the Mayi-Mayi as a patriotic effort.

This would serve to cover up the Rwandan identity of the FDLR, who were the main fighters of the coalition in both Kivu provinces. This strategy was based on an agreement that was signed in 1999 between the representative of the Mayi-Mayi in South Kivu, General Kalendo Bulenda (alias Padiri) and Paul Rwarakabije from the FDLR.[10] The military defeat in Pweto – a turning point for the FDLR The fall of the city of Pweto in Katanga in July 2000, a great defeat for Laurent Kabila, marked a turning point in his relations with the FDLR. The disintegration of his army and the loss of a great deal of weapons destroyed any remaining hopes of regaining the regions in the east of the country and to keep his promise to help the FDLR return to Rwanda by force of arms. In addition, criticism came from foreign troops fighting on his side, especially the Zimbabweans. For them the Congolese armed forces were a band of incompetents, hard to help without taking on enormous losses oneself. In addition there was international pressure on Kabila to disarm the Ex- FAR/Interahamwe responsible for the Rwandan genocide.

Kabila decided to turn the military promise he had made to the FDLR into a political involvement to their benefit. Specifically, the FDLR first of all had to give him a brigade he could disarm, put in barracks and show the world as the only Rwandan soldiers they would see.

Secondly, it was proposed that the FDLR look for a leader who had not been in any way involved in the Rwandan genocide. Brigade 1780, commanded by Colonel Ndagijimana, was selected and brought to Kamina, where their weapons and munition were burned before international cameras. And the economist Ignace Murwanashyaka, living in Germany since 1989, was nominated as the new president of the FDLR. His nomination was confirmed at the FDLR Congress in October 2000.[11] The first vice president was Jean Marie- Vianney Higiro, second vice president Paul Rwarakabije, and Alexis Nshimiyimana would be the executive secretary.

The murder of Laurent Kabila and the FDLR’s new orientation

Laurent Kabila was murdered on 16 January 2001. His son Joseph Kabila took over as president and was open for a political dialogue with his war opponents. These changes caused agitation inside the FDLR. They were compelled to learn to integrate a political dimension into their fight. Their anxieties were reinforced by the decision of the USA in July 2002 to offer rewards of up to several million US dollars for the capture of people responsible for the Rwandan genocide who had been indicted worldwide and were dispersed. Parallel to this American initiative the Pretoria Peace Agreement between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was signed on 31 July 2002. This obligated Rwanda to withdraw its army from the Congo.

In return the DRC had to forbid the political activities of the FDLR on their territory and expel their leadership within 72 hours. And in fact, on 2 August 2002 Major General Augustin Bizimungu was arrested in Angola.,Tharcisse Renzaho was captured in the DRC on 29 September 2002, and finally ten FDLR leaders stationed in Kamina were transferred to Rwanda. These arrests and expulsions of high-ranking people from the general staff of Ex- FAR/Interahamwe forced the armed branch of the FDLR, located in the western part of the Congo under Kabila’s control, to join up with Paul Rwarakabije’s forces fighting within the RCD rebel area in the east of the country. On 15 February 2003, troops led by Sylvestre Mudacumura reached Kilembwe in South Kivu.

But this unification of troops from the west, ALIR 2, with those in the east, FDLR- FOCA – (Forces Combattates Abacunguzi), did not last long, because on 15 November 2003, Brigadier General Paul Rwarakabije, commander of the armed FDLR wing FDLR-FOCA, decided to return to Rwanda, accompanied by 160 men, among them four high officers and three junior officers.[12] The remaining forces were reorganized under the leadership of Major General Mudacumura.

The burden of genocide and the appetite for money

In view of the new political orientation of Joseph Kabila to end the war in Congo by encouraging dialogue, the FDLR saw their strategic importance decline. In addition, there was discord inside the movement, for two main reasons.

The first reason had to do with the level of responsibility of the higher officers for the genocide. They were above the officers who were recruited in exile and who had not themselves taken part in the horrible events around the genocide. The election of Ignace Murwanashyaka was, as previously presented, largely an attempt to give the FDLR a cleaner leadership.

As expected, the Rome Communiqué signed by Murwanashyaka on 30 March 2005 at the end of the negotiations organized by the community of Saint Egidio included the following statement: “The FDLR condemns the genocide committed in Rwanda and its perpetrators. It commits itself to fight against all ideologies of hatred and emphasises once again its willingness to cooperate with international justice.” This was a further attempt to act in as correct and trustworthy political movement.[13]

However the local military leadership in the hands of officers who were involved in the genocide regarded this turnaround simply as a betrayal.

The second reason for the discord inside the movement had to do with money. As much as the ideological positioning concerning the Rwanda genocide, money was a reason for more division and restructuring of the FDLR in the forests of the Congo.

The main wings of the FDLR are:

RUD-URUNANA (Rally for Unity and Democracy-Rassemblement pour l’Unité et la Démocratie). This wing was founded on September 12, 2004, by Jean Marie-Vianney Higiro together with Félicien Kanyamibwa in a split with Ignace Murwanashyaka. Since June 2006, he had enjoyed the military support of the AN-Imboneza following a quarrel about money between Mudacumura and Colonel Jean-Damascène Ndibabaje, alias Musare. His general staff included: Colonel Ndibabaje, alias Musare (chief commander), Lt. Col. Martin Nzitonda (vice commander), Lt. Col. Bernard Hitimana (administration and personnel), Lt. Col. Nteziyaremye (training), Lt. Col. Nzitonda (recruiting and operations), Lt. Samuel Bahembera (logistics), Col. Victor (war name) (political mobilization). Ndibabaje’s brigade was further divided into four companies.

CMC-FOCA (Commandement Militaire pour le Changement – Military Command for Change). This wing was founded in June 2005 by Major General Séraphin Bizimungu, alias Amani Mahoro, following a dispute over the Communiqué of Rome between Bizimungu and Major General Mudacumura, commander of the FDLR- FOCA. Bizimungu was supported by Colonel Nsabimana (alias Rubasha), and another officer, Balthazar Ntakamarishavu. When Bizimungu decided in December 2005 to return to Rwanda, he was replaced by Christophe Hakizabera.

Rasta: These are more of a combination of various elements than a permanent grouping. They include members of the FDLR, the Mayi-Mayi and the Bashi militia “Mudundu 40” and are known for their brutality, massacres, thefts, rapes and plundering of the civil population in South Kivu.

The FDLR – a well structured war machine

Despite these divisions, the FDLR is well organized and structured. Their general staff has both military and political wings. The political leadership has its official seat in Mbeshimbeshi in Ufamando 2, Katoyi Masisi territory, North Kivu province. The military leadership is in Kalonge in the same location.

The political leadership is made up of Ignace Murwanashyaka, president, living in Germany; and vice president Straton Musoni, also living in Germany; Brigadier General Gaston Iyamuremye, in Masisi; Callixthe Mbarushimana, executive secretary, living in France; Col. Rumgabo, deputy executive secretary, in Masisi; and Jean-Marie Vianney Nyawenda, Murwanashyaka’s chief of cabinet, in Masisi. The executive secretariat is structured like a government cabinet, with heads of various commissions, such as defence, finance, political, social and education, mobilization, gender, foreign relations and human rights.

The military leadership is directed by Major General Sylvestre Mudacumura, seconded by Stanislas Nzeyimana alias Bigaruka, with Brigadier General Léodomir Mugaragu as Chief of Staff. In addition there are officers for adminstration, investigation, recruiting and operations, logistics and political mobilization. There is one division each in South and North Kivu, each with four batallions, in addition a reserve brigade of three batallions.

In addition the FDLR has an important support network throughout Africa (Tanzania, Sudan, Zambia, Cameroon, Uganda and Mozambique), Europe (Germany, Belgium, France, Norway, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark) and North America (Canada and the United States).

The problem with the FDLR’s demands

The FDLR justifies its armed presence in both Kivu provinces as a step towards regaining their lost power in Rwanda with force of arms should the regime of Paul Kagame not agree to a politial dialogue. This demand for a “inter-Rwandan dialogue” is more like a dialogue of the deaf.

One the one side, the Rwandan government finds itself in a position of strength against a rebellion that makes its demands from foreign territory. Rwanda demands the unconditional surrender of the FDLR, as previously with other armed groups and military commandos returning to Rwanda. On the other side, the FDLR demands security guarantees, the integration of part of their combatants in the Rwandan army and the possibility to change into a fully accepted political party, should they return to Rwandan territory. And they are only willing to talk about the necessary political consensus in the framework of an inter-Rwandan dialogue.

In any case, the presence of the FDLR in both Kivu provinces has become more damaging for the local population than for the Rwandan government which they claim to be fighting At the Goma Peace Conference in January 2008, the statements of all the ethnic communities of the Kivu provinces clearly demanded the complete withdrawal of these armed groups which have caused them so much suffering. Although some of these statements supported the FDLR demand for an inter-Rwandan dialogue, it is difficult to make that a condition for their return to Rwanda.

In any case, it is difficult for a country like the DR Congo to force Rwanda into an internal dialogue. But then the question remains how to get the FDLR to leave Eastern Congo, as they control and administer whole regions in North and South Kivu. As opposed to the almost non-existent national Congolese army, the FDLR has proven itself in battle.

They are very active in a number of trade networks with raw materials under their control (minerals, wood, transport, etc.), and with this they finance their war and alsohave a source of enrichment. The final statement of the Goma Peace Conference, signed by the armed groups of Eastern Congo and the government of Joseph Kabila, referred, when it came to the FDLR, to the November 2007 Nairobi Communiqué agreed between the governments of the DR Congo and Rwanda. This said that Rwanda, the DR Congo and the United States would participate in the voluntary repatriation of the FDLR, if necessary also with force. However the FDLR do not feel affected by any agreement resulting from a discussion at which they were not represented. And they promise the people of Kivu to make life hell for them if the FDLR are forced by violence to repatriate.

Why the DR Congo is unable to deal with the FDLR problem

In view of this complex situation, the DR Congo finds itself in difficulty. Statements like that of Defence Minister Diemu Tchikez, that 30 percent of the FDLR are Congolese, or from the parliament’s president Vital Kamerhe about the integration of the FDLR in the social and family structures of the country, highlight more than ever the inability of the DRC to find an adequate solution for the presence of the FDLR in the two Kivu provinces.

The first complexity results from the integration of the FDLR into the Congolese national army FARDC. This goes back some years to the time that Laurent Désiré Kabila was fighting the rebellion of the RDC/Goma and the MLC in Eastern Congo.

It was estimated that between 1998 and 2001, 6,000 soldiers from the Ex-FAR and Interahamwe were integrated into the Congolese forces of the time.[14] In the same way there are FDLR integrated fighters in today’s Congolese army FARDC andFDLR forces that operate like autonomous armed bands in both Kivu provinces: In South Kivu, among others, in Walungu, Shabunda, Mwenga, and Bunyakiri, and inNorth Kivu, among others, in Katoyi, Walikale, Kibua and Bunyatende. They often form occasional alliances with armed Congolese Mayi-Mayi groups. The fighters integrated in the FARDC are specifically not affected by the Nairobi Communiqué and their existence is easy to hide.

The attempt of Diemu Tchikez to pass off 30 percent of the FDLR as Congolese is connected with this effort to have them included in the number of troops of the FARDC, especially in view of the treaties and promises that tie the Congolese government to the FDLR and from which they cannot distance themselves without facing their anger. On the other side the FDLR’s services are still necessary for a government that is weakened because of defeats against domestic armed groups and that doesn’t have a real army in the normal sense of the term.

The FDLR who operate autonomously in the two Kivu provinces are, however, directly affected by the Nairobi Communiqué. According to our information[15] it is clear to them that since March 15, 2008, a military offensive against them could come at any time, and they are preparing themselves for that in Walikale[16] and around the chain of volcanoes at Virunga.[17] Concerning this, they say to anyone who will listen that the time when they only fought with assault rifles which they took with them during their flight from Rwanda in 1994 is over, and that they now have much more effective armaments.[18]

The number of FDLR members who are integrated into the FARDC and operate in both Kivu provinces has provoked contradictory debate. It is hard to estimate the exact number of FDLR in the Congo. In 2001, the government of the DRC estimated the number of FDLR elements integrated into the FARDC at 6,000, and in the two Kivu provinces it estimated around 40,000 FDLR forces.[19]  The UN mission MONUC estimated the total number of FDLR in the Congo at 25,000. A report from the International Crisis Group on May 23, 2003, found at the time 8,000 FDLR forces in North Kivu and 14,000 in South Kivu.[20] An independent study carried out in 2007 corrected the number of FDLR forces to be found in both Kivu provinces to under 7,000.[21] In March 2008, the MONUC talked about 8,000 FDLR soldiers in Kivu, 6,000 of them in North and 2,000 in South Kivu.[22] To launch a military offensive against an army without knowing their numbers and means presents a serious problem.

The voluntary repatriation of FDLR fighters and their dependents to Rwanda in the framework of the MONUC’s demobilization process DDRRR has certainly brought back a number of Rwandan Hutu refugees from the Congo into their homeland. But here the exact number is also unclear and incoherent. The MONUC estimated the number repatriated between the years 2003 to 2007 to be 2,559 Rwandans on 24 September 2003; 5,058 on 21 January 2004; 7,072 on 1 February 2005 and finally 6,712 in September 2007.

The economic integration of the FDLR in various areas is an accepted fact. They are involved in artisanal gold mining in South Kivu; cassiterite mining in Walikale in North Kivu; in the marketing of these minerals; in transportation of persons and goods; in the slaughtering of animals stolen in Masisi, selling them in different markets in Walikale and elsewhere; and in the sale of consumer goods, especially beer, and their transport between Hombo and Walikale. All of these activities make the FDLR a major economic force in both Kivu provinces. One could ask oneself if the dividend from this trade in the Congo doesn’t really overshadow their political and military struggle. For that reason it is important to remove these internal markets from FDLR control, to open them to Congolese citizens as normal trade, especially through a solid and sustainable road infrastructure. Opening up trade in these isolated zones which have become a refuge for the FDLR could mean the beginning of the demilitarization of this region. The incentives that have been achieved through this trade could eventually replace the dependence on the AK-47 for survival. This approach would certainly be more effective than the military solution, which has got stuck.

Marriages between the FDLR and the Congolese population have made their integration into society at the local level possible.[23] FDLR dependents are today accepted by the Congolese as sons-in-law and uncles. A military attack on them worries the local population as it considers the future widows, nephews and nieces that must be cared for, while their own situation because of the wars of the last 15 years is already miserable enough.

Political and military solutions that have been badly negotiated, badly conceived and badly prepared have all ended in failure and allowed the FDLR to win back empty areas and territories given up by foreign and national troops. Rwanda’s withdrawal from the Congo in October 2002 allowed the FDLR to take over control of parts of South Kivu and the district of Walikale in North Kivu.

The dispatching of troops from the west of the country by Congo’s president Joseph Kabila in December 2004, to close the last loophole in North Kivu (a failed offensive against former RCD rebels who did not want to be part of Kabila’s army and out of whom the CNDP rebellion later developed) forced the brigade of Commander Wilson, which was not integrated into the army, to retreat from Walikale. This area then came under the control of Col. Sami, former Mayi-Mayi leader from Ntoto, who commanded the 85th army brigade which collaborated with the FDLR. Both these groups completely took over the commercialisation of cassiterite and its transport for sale in Bukavu, Goma and Kisangani, as well as other various economic activities. In February 2008, Congo’s Minister of Mines ordered the suspension of mining in Walikale, but this decision had no consequences in the face of commanders in chief who followed neither their military leadership nor an elected government, and instead ruled a small state within a state with an iron fist.

At the beginning of 2007, the process of training a joint army combining Congo’s national forces and the CNDP rebels of the Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda was decided upon. It fell apart, a failed attempt, in August 2007. And the fact that the CNDP troops of Nkunda took up position around Runyoni in Rutshuru district made it possible for the FDLR to occupy completely the transport axis Kiwanja-Ishasha (leading from North Kivu to Uganda) and most of Busanza.

Any military initiative against the FDLR must consider these complete failures of the past years. One must avoid acting rashly and without a clear plan and proceed with a clearly defined goal. On the other hand, the government of the DRC finds itself once again confronted with the responsibility of protecting the goods and people of Eastern Congo. Its inability to manage casts doubt on its legitimacy.

Aloys Tegera is a Congolese and heads the Pole Institute. The French version of this paper was published in 2008 and the English version in 2010

[1] CHRETIEN, J.P., L’Afrique des Grands Lacs. Deux mille ans d’histoire, Aubier, Paris, 2000, pp. 296-297.

[2] It was recorded that the following were present at this meeting: Major General Augustin Bizimungu, Brigade General Gratien Kabiligi, Colonels Murasampongo, Aloys Ntiwiragabo, Vénant Musonera, the Lt. Colonels Juvénal Bahufite, Antoine Sebahire, Augustin Rwamanywa, Paul Rwarakabije, Edouard Gasarabwe, Dr. Baransalitse, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, Théophile Gakara and François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye. See: African Rights, “A welcome expression of intent. The Nairobi communique and the ex.FAR/Interahamwe”, December 2007, p. 12.

[3] African Rights, ebenda, S. 13.

[4] African Rights, op.cit., p.17

[5] TSHITENGE LUBABU, “Qui sont les FDLR?”, Jeune Afrique,2.  December 2007

[6] African Rights, op.cit., p.15

[7] Mainly Congo(Brazzaville) and the Central African Republic

[8] Major Mugaragu arrived in Kinshasa from Brazzaville on 5 October 1998 at the head of 2200 men. Evariste

Nyampame, who had been in Central African Republic together with Sylvestre Mudacumura, followed Laurent

Kabila’s call with an estimated 380 men. See: African Rights, op.cit., p.18

[9] TSHITENGE LUBABU, op.cit.; African Rights, op.cit.

[10] African Rights, op.cit., p.20

[11] African Rights, eop.cit., p.21

[12] SEZIBERA R, “ Development Partner s Meeting”, Kigali, December 1-2, 2005

[13] GESLIN Jean-Dominique, “ Démobilisation générale”, J.A., 10 April 2005

[14] “DRC to hand over 6000 militia to Rwanda”, Xinhua, Rwanda News Agency, 18 September 2001

[15] Pole Institute research in the Walikale area from 24. Februar to 4. März 2008.

[16] In Walikale, the written summary of the tribal chief’s eye-witness report confirms intensive FDLR training among the Rwandan Hutu refugees, going as far as the recruitment of 12 year old children and women.

[17] According to as yet unconfirmed rumours of an independent survey, FDLR units are gathering at the volcanos of  Nyamulagira, Nyiragongo and Mikeno, reinforced by young Rwandans who sympathize with them and have joined them. Conversation of the author,  Goma, 5. March 2008.

[18] The theory that the FDLR purchase weapons with the profits from their trade in minerals (kasseritit, gold, etc.), ivory, transport networks and other commenrcial activities has never been fully documented or proved by an in-depth study. However that does not mean that this hypothesis is false. According to our investigations, Das

Major Karim (war name) confirmed that cattle and goats stolen in Masisi, the transportation of goods and kassetirit minerals between Hombo and Walikale, the delivery of sand and the repair of the Goma-Walikale road, etc., are invariably financial sources whose profits are paid to the political and military leadership, for, as he says, “the business.” In addition, the FDLR emptied the FARDC’s weapons depots in Nyanzale and Katale between October and December 2007.

[19] “DRC to hand over 6000 militia to Rwanda”, Xinhua, nach: Rwanda News Agency, 18 September 2001.

[20] ICG “Les rebelles Hutu rwandais au Congo: Pour une nouvelle approche du désarmement et de la réintégration”, 23.Mai


[21] ROMKEMA, H., ebenda

[22] MONUC, « Kivus : Disarmament compaign for armed groups launched by DRC gouvernement »,


[23] Cases of rape aside, consensual marriage between Nyanga women and FDLR members in the area of Walikale are nil, without a doubt based on demographic and anthropological grounds that we will not discuss in this paper.

In other areas like Rutshuru and Masisi there are indeed marriages between the FDLR and the local population.


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