Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Masisi: More reason to worry

An update on ex-CNDP administration in Masisi territory. According to a recent trip by UN staff there, the CNDP still maintains a parallel administration based in Mushaki (just to the west of the northwestern tip of Lake Kivu). The administrator there, Prosper Mashagiro, controls 152 administrative officials, whose job is primarily to levy taxes, maintain roads and manage conflicts between civilians (most people in the areas where they live think they do a much better job at the first task than at the latter two). According to UN officials, Mashagiro has no relation with the government appointed administration based in Masisi center and only rarely reports to the provincial administration in Goma.














There has been alarm in the past week, as the taxes levied by the CNDP officials at the Mushaki, Kimoka and Kilolirwe roadblocks have reportedly soared to 500 per truck with agricultural products and 700 per truck with timber. This money is allegedly going to fund the newly-founded FLEC movement led by Bosco Ntaganda. As a reminder, the UN Group of Experts estimated the the CNDP administration in Masisi gathers around $250,000 in taxes each month.

In addition, there have been reports of forced recruitment of youths (or children) around Muheto (central Masisi) and Ngungu (southern Masisi), as well as numerous CNDP meetings. Also, thousands of refugees returning from Rwanda have begun to bolster the ranks of the CNDP in these areas. We should not scream conspiracy quite yet, but it definitely seems like something is afoot.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stearns,

You have clearly defined the territory under the influence of the FLEC, but I am curious to know, does the pro-Nkunda faction (led by Makenga) have its own defined territory of control? Do they have a center of command? Do they have any political component of their movement or are they strictly military?

Lorenzo said...

I just came back from Masisi and what you write is true. CNDP maintains a parallel administration based in Mushaki. I witnessed a meeting between the official administrateur adjoint of the Masisi territory and the CNDP's administrateur adjoint, in which the latter corrected his counterpart when he introduced himself as “administrateur du Masisi”. “Masisi centre” said the CNDP man. “Masisi”, repeated the other one. It doesn't look like there's any dispute going on between the CNDP administration and Bosco.
Thanks to the “integration”, CNDP has extended its military presence to Masisi areas it didn't control yet, through the nomination of several CNDP (tutsi) officers as FARDC local commanders. It facilitates the recruitment of children, which appears to be pretty intense in the current weeks.
A clash between “ex-CNDP” and FARDC soldiers (which are supposed to work hand in hand) occurred last Thursday. An “ex-CNDP” soldier was stopped by two FARDC military policemen in Bihambwe (between Mushaki and Masisi centre). He had no order of mission but refused to be arrested and threatened the MPs, who shot him dead. One of the shooters was then lynched by the tutsi population, and the tension escalated between the communities. Monuc organized on Friday a public meeting in Bihambwe with CNDP colonel Baudouin Ngaruye, the local FARDC commander, in the aim of calming down people. It was an “incident between soldiers”, “people should preserve peace”.
The influx of thousands of people coming from Rwanda is a reality, particularly in the area of Kirolirwe. Added to the return of IDPs, it creates tensions with local inhabitants, especially cultivators whose lands are destroyed by cows !
CNDP is reproaching the government for not respecting its commitments. Kinshasa and provincial government are denying there's any problem, Monuc is petrified by its ambiguous mission (protecting civilians and supporting those who sometimes massacre civilians). I am convinced that the day Kimia II is over, or even before, CNDP or CNDP-like FLEC takes back its autonomy.

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