Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Is Nkunda Hospitalized in Kigali?

La Libre belgique has raised the question as to whether rebel leader Laurent Nkunda is injured and residing in a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. The paper reports that Nkunda may be either injured, sick or even dead. The paper reports that Nkunda may have wound up in Kigali after being refused acceptance in Uganda.

The speculation about Nkunda's travails is fueled by the fact that he has not been in touch with either the United Nations, European Union or the United States since June 9 of this year. Le Soir also cited an interview with Paul Kagame at the end of August where he states that even if Nkunda was to disappear from the scene, the problems of North Kivu would not be resolved.

Bosco Ntaganda is currently the head of the CNDP. He is wanted for commission of war crimes by the International Criminal Court. This does not bode well for peace in the region as Bosco would be less inclined to come to the peace table knowing that he has a warrant on his head.

Truth of the matter it is far beyond time that world leaders utilize their weight to bring an end to the conflict in the Congo which must come through Kigali. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Bill Gates, Rev. Rick Warren, Cindy McCain, Ted shultz along with the United States government, European Union and United Nations have it well within their means to work with the nations of the Great Lakes to create a framework for lasting peace.


At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I cannot state if he is injured, sick, or both, I concur with Ms. Braeckman's assertion. My contacts in the region claim General Nkunda was in a hospital in Tebero initially and when the Mwesso front fighting with PARECO, FOCA, and the FARDC opened up, he was tranferred to Rwanda.

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I cannot state if he is injured, sick, or both, I concur with Ms. Braeckman's assertion. My contacts in the region claim General Nkunda was in a hospital in Tebero initially and when the Mwesso front fighting with PARECO, FOCA, and the FARDC opened up, he was tranferred to Rwanda.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I am sure most of you know, General Nkunda is very much alive and sounds well. It is unclear if he was actually sick and/or wounded at any point in time, or if he is now and is recovering. Regardless, his brazen call for the overthrow of the Congolese Government should send clear warning signals to the international community and clearly demonstrate that he is not looking for a peace settlement until he has ample politico-military leverage to bring to the negotiating table. He has restructured the CNDP, and some sources claim he is renaming the movement so as to circumvent the CNDP's commitment to the Goma Agreement. CNDP officials have refuted this claim.

Recently, violence broke out in Ituri. A new armed group led by Charif Manda, the Popular Resistance Force of Ituri (FPJC) , emerged and attacked MONUC forces after they intervened to drive the milita out of Kagaba, Geti, Bavi and Tcheyi. It is comprised of FNI, FPRI, former FPLC, and recruits from North Kivu. Despite their denials, sources in the region state this group recieves support from Nkunda and the CNDP, and is an attempt to open up a new front in the CNDP's larger goal of destabilizing the Congo. It will also draw MONUC and FARDC reinforcements, thinning out their numbers. The hope is that some of the soldiers in North Kivu will transfer up there and open up opportunities for an offensive. There is also the possibility a front will open up again in the northern reaches of South Kivu, as Col. Mutebusi and his men can penetrate the area and reminants of the Mudundu-40 are still roaming the area.

The FARDC is not ready for a multi-front war. The CNDP and its Rwandan backers know this. If they can open up a full-scale multi-front war where the FARDC cannot contain the opposing forces and MONUC cannot provide enough support at all the fronts, there will be grounds for the UN to pull out because there will be no more peace to keep or enforce. Even under a robust Chapter 7 mandate, the UN military forces are primarily peacekeepers, not peacemakers. If MONUC were to leave now, the east would have a gaping power vacuum that would quickly be exploited by the CNDP, Rwanda, and the other militias in the Congo. This is why Mr. Doss is working swiftly to secure reinforcements and additional intelligence capabilities, so that MONUC and the FARDC can gain control over the situation before this scenario plays out.

MONUC is being assailed in the press by the CNDP, the Rwandan Government, and the Enough Project so as to weaken their legitimacy further by attacking them on the grounds they are violating the UN Charter's neutrality principle. The counter-arguement is that MONUC chose to enact their Chapter 7 mandate to protect innocent civilians who's lives were continually threatened by the CNDP's advances, not to mention the sovreignity violations committed by the CNDP and the Rwandan army. If the peacekeepers were fired on first, they are enacting their right to self-defense, dictated in each unit's rules of engagement.

I fully recognize that the past alleged actions of certain members and military units of MONUC were criminal in nature and blatantly contrary to their mission. I am not in any way, shape, or form, trying to minimize, justify, or excuse these actions. I fully acknowledge and respect the dissapointment and outrage of the Congolese people toward these acts and their perpetrators. I also support all investigations into these incidents, along with appropriate sanctions should the accused be found guilty. I also acknowledge and respect the frustration the Congolese people feel with MONUC, who they percieve to be doing very little to help them. Unfortunately, change is slow to come in most established bureaucracies, and MONUC and the UN are no different in this regard. MONUC also has to deal with the divide between the civilian and military administrations.

Like it or not, the fact remains that for the time being, the Congolese Government and the FARDC still need the support of MONUC in order to bring peace to the east of Congo, not only by dealing with the CNDP and the Rwandan army, but FOCA, PARECO, and the other remaining militias as well. At the same time, I hope that MONUC and the UN will do right by the suffering Congolese people. I respectfully call upon readers to consider Mr. Doss' proposed initiative to increase the number of UN troops in North Kivu and to employ the use of unmanned drones to collect real-time intelligence. My sincere hope is that his plan will not result in an escalation of armed conflict, but rather, will create a balance of power that will allow the warring sides to commit to a lasting ceasefire so that meaningful communication between all parties can occur and the Amani program can be properly implimented.


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