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

Friday, September 10, 2010

What did Kagame and Kabila talk about?

There have been some persistent rumors in the region about a possible new deployment of Rwandan army soldiers into the Congo. Of course, these kinds of rumors are a dime a dozen around Goma nad Bukavu. These, however, come from sources within the CNDP officer corps, as well as from inside the Rwandan government, so perhaps we should give them more credence.

Our ears, therefore, perked up when we found out that Joseph Kabila met with Paul Kagame several times (one source says up to four times) during the three days that Kabila spent in Kigali to attend Kagame's inauguration. What were they talking about?

If there were another deployment of Rwandan troops, what would its purpose be? There are three schools of thought here, as far as I can tell. The first is that they are genuinely worried about a new coalition of anti-Kigali forces - the CNDP defector Emmanuel Nsengiyumva, the FPLC commander Gad Ngabo, the FDLR and the Cheka Mai-Mai. I'm not sure about this, although some people have linked this coalition to Rwandan dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa. These armed groups are fairly weak and I doubt they pose much threat to Kigali (although they could carry out isolated, damaging strikes).

The second hypothesis is that the forces are going in to secure key mining areas that have recently become destabilized by the Mai-Mai Cheka and the FDLR. The news this week that many flights have been suspended into parts of Walikale due to the kidnapping of pilots there the other week would strengthen this hypothesis.

The third hypothesis is that the RDF want another go at the FDLR. They only had five weeks in 2009 when they went in, and the FDLR has been significantly weakened - they want to give them a coup de grace. The skeptics here would point out that the Umoja Wetu operations of last year did not do too much damage against the FDLR, who sufffered more from the Kimia II operations that followed.

A lot of hypotheticals here, as you can see.

1 comment:

Arcturus said...

"President Joseph Kabila ordered the indefinite suspension [of mining operations] Wednesday near the mining hub of Walikale, where more than 240 people were treated for rape last month. Kabila says authorities want to weed out what he says is 'a kind of mafia involved in minerals exploitation' that he accused of fueling conflicts.

"Local rights activist Jason Luneno Maene said Friday he supports the suspension and would like to see them in three mineral-rich provinces."

RNA:

"DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has ordered a suspension to mining in Walikare area of Eastern Congo – with a possible military offensive planned in the area . . ."

Jason Luneno, quoted directly (& identified here as 'provincial president of the North Kivu civil society & a Walikale native'), says:

"Il est inadmissible que les militaires des FARDC envoyés sur le terrain pour protéger la population exploitent et commercialisent les minerais dans des carrés miniers. Le président de la République a eu du mal à supporter cela et la société civile est d’accord avec lui. Malheureusement, la population civile tire sa survie quotidienne dans l’exploitation artisanale de ces minerais."

(roughly: 'It is unacceptable that the FARDC soldiers, deployed in the field to protect the population, continue to exploit and commercialize the minerals of the mining districts. The president of the republic has struggled against this & civil society agrees with him. Unfortunately, the civil population's daily survival depends upon the artisinal mining of these minerals.')

& from the same Radio Okapi report: ". . . les opérations de ratissage des groupes armés y seront lancées après l’évacuation des civils et avant toute levée de la mesure. . ."

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