The New Times (Kigali)
26 September 2008
Posted to the web 26 September 2008
The ongoing hostilities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday saw the UN forces under MONUC again intervene to halt the advance of Laurent Nkunda's CNDP against positions held by the government coalition.
CNDP (Congrès National pour la Defense du Peuple) has for the past week been locked in an all out war in the eastern fringes of North Kivu province, especially around Masisi and Rutchuru.
According to MONUC sources, an attempt was made to capture Nyanzare locality in Masisi from FARDC (government army) by CNDP forces led by Lt. Col. Salongo but the UN intervened and repulsed the attacks.
MONUC had again over the weekend used helicopters in Bihambwe to stop a CNDP advance against Masisi town which had been abandoned by the government army.
Insiders fear that MONUC's taking sides in the conflict could have a negative effect on the fragile peace talks taking place in Bukavu under the auspices of Amani.
Despite a ceasefire announced by the government side, reliable sources say that it has opened new fronts with the help of the FDLR, Pareco and Mai Mai militias. The latest fronts are said to be in Ngungu- one of the CNDP's strongholds- Kanombe, Nkokwe and Rumangabo-Kabaya.
FARDC's General MBUZA Mabe has been deployed in North Kivu to support the operations. The General was the commander of the 10th Military region and led operations that ousted Gen Nkunda and Col. Jules Mutebutsi from South Kivu in 2004.
Reports say that the FARDC has stepped up efforts to try and wipe out the CNDP and has poured in more arms and ammunition in the war zone.
It is alleged that the acting Commander of FARDC 10th military region, Brig. Gen. Patrice MASUNZU, Monday arrived at Numbi locality which borders South and North Kivu provinces where he supplied FARDC's 14th brigade under Col David Rugayi with two military trucks full of ammunitions.
The General is also said to have supplied arms and ammunition to the leader of one of the militias, Gen RUTAMBUKA of PARECO and FDLR's Lt-Col. Evariste Kanzeguhera "Sadiki" operating in Nyabyondo and Kinigi, Masisi territory for joint operations against CNDP in Ngungu.
MONUC sources also revealed that following a return of temporary calm in Sake, many mass graves were discovered. It is not yet clear whether these mass graves are civilians killed during the fighting or whether it is a specific group of people who were killed prior to the fighting. Some sources suggest that Rwandophones were killed prior to the offensive against CNDP in Sake.
It is also reported the DRC government has at last paid a debt it owed the FDLR for its help since 1996 in order to ensure the active participation of the latter in the war. Other sources reveal that the FDLR insisted on that condition because of the unpredictability of the DRC Government.
The issue first came to light in 2005 after the Rome declaration following talks between the DRC and Rwandan rebels operating in eastern DRC.
In a related matter, Radio Okapi reported that hundreds of people demonstrated in Dungu (Oriental Province) yesterday over the government's failure to do something about attacks by the Ugandan rebel movement, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony.
LRA has now shifted its base from southern Sudan to DRC where it has been launching attacks against civilians.
The Speaker of the DRC government, Vital Kamerhe had on Thursday threatened over Radio Okapi to summon the Prime Minister, Antoine Gizenga to explain what the government was doing to arrest the situation.
Kamerhe had threatened to force the PM to resign if the latter did not satisfy the query. Gizenga handed in his resignation hours later.
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