Many FDLR units [Rwandan Hutus] are self-financing.
They have control over mines in some areas,
and local taxation of commercial routes in others.
They are difficult to confront militarily because they do not stand and fight,
but rather they retreat into the jungle and attack civilian populations.


The Kabila government army [FARDC] attacked the area,
failed to dislodge the FDLR [Rwandan Hutus]
and then took vengeance on the local population.
The FARDC [Kabila army] accused villagers of collaborating
with the FDLR [Rwandan Hutus] and burned down their houses.
Adding insult to injury, the FDLR [Rwandan Hutus] then occupied the houses that remained standing.
"Many of the women here have been raped.
First they got raped by the FDLR [Rwandan Hutus]
and then they are raped by the Kabila army [FARDC],
the force that is supposed to protect them from the FDLR [Rwandan Hutus]."

What's going on in the Lake Kivu area of Eastern Congo and threatening Rwanda is like a scene out of the recent movie BLOOD DIAMOND which everyone should watch, just to see a fraction of the terror and horror of the reality.

The groups responsible for the terror in Eastern Congo are the DRC ("democratic" republic of Congo) government under president Kabila using his army, the FARDC (Armed Forces of DRC) in cahoots with the Hutu FDLR (Forces "democratic" for the "liberation" of Rwanda) who massacred Tutsis in Rwanda during the genocide of 1994 and who now hide out in the Congo. Helping the FARDC and the FDLR are over 17,000 UN personnel who call themselves MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Congo).

Alone and in combination, these forces (the FARDC, FDLR and MONUC) attack Congolese-Tutsi Nkunda's CNDP army (National Council for the Defense of the People).

MONUC has been in the Congo for years - to the tune of around $100-million a year from the United States - which comprises 1/3 of the UN costs there. With all this money being extracted from American taxpayers for "peacekeeping", there's not one minute of peace in the Congo to show for it. This is a classic example of how Orwell described Big Brother waging war in the name of peace, ie "War is Peace". ~ Jackie Jura

by John Prendergast & Colin Thomas-Jensen,
Enough Project, Sep 12, 2007

excerpts from pages 1-10

Between 1996 and 2002, the two massive wars fought in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were arguably the world’s deadliest since World War II. With almost no international fanfare, Congo is on the brink of its third major war in the last decade, and almost nothing is being done to stop it....

A dissident Congolese Tutsi General named Laurent Nkunda and at least 3,000 loyal forces have carved out control of parts of North Kivu Province. The Congolese government has responded by realigning itself with the FDLR - a militia composed of more than 6,000 Rwandan Hutu rebels [fugitives], many with links to the 1994 genocide in their home country - to fight Nkunda's more effective force.

Fighting between the two sides has intensified in recent weeks. Troops are being deployed to the front line and more are being forcibly recruited, and the potential for Rwanda to be drawn back into Congo - as it was in the two previous wars - increases with each day the international community drags its feet....

Incredibly the world's largest peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Mission in the Congo, or MONUC, is not engaging in any official dialogue with Nkunda, and there is no comprehensive diplomatic effort to head off what could return eastern Congo to the status it had held for much of the past decade as the world's deadliest war zone. And while the UN Security Council President issued a statement in July urging all actors in the conflict to use diplomatic and political means to resolve the crisis, no one has stepped up to make that happen. The international community is not bringing strong pressure to bear on the Congolese government or Nkunda and his backers to negotiate. To arrest a bloody slide toward a catastrophic regional war, the international community must act quickly to implement a comprehensive political, economic, and military strategy, which involves launching negotiations between the Congolese government and Nkunda and dealing concurrently with the pretext for his rebellion - the FDLR.

Nkunda and the FDLR are enexorably entwined. The continued presence of the FDLR, the danger they pose to civilians, and the failure of the Congolese army to protect its citizens enables Nkunda to portray himself as a protector of his Tutsi community....

Recent attempts by Kabila's government to co-opt Nkunda and his forces have backfired, strengthening Nkunda's hand and emboldening hardliners in the Presidential circle who prefer a military solution. Given the systemic weaknesses of the Congolese army, the Congolese government has allied itself with the FDLR for military operations against Nkunda.

In a true nightmare scenario, the Congolese alliance with the FDLR could draw Rwanda back into eastern Congo, and full-scale war could again engulf the Great Lakes. Rwandan President Paul Kagame recently told ENOUGH, "The FDLR is not a strategic threat as long as there is no one behind them, supporting them. They become a strategic threat only if someone uses them."....

The vast majority of eastern Congolese are ensnared in the criminal livelihoods of numerous predatory armed groups. They are suppliers of "wives" for the army and militia, labor for the landowners, and food producers for the combatants who loot their harvests. Because of the persistent violence and displacement caused by these armed groups, one of the highest excess death rates in the world - 1,200 people per day in the last comprehensive mortality study - stubbornly persists....


In February ENOUGH visited an IDP [internally displaced persons] camp near Rutshuru in North Kivu that is a microcosm of the under-the-radar violence that marks today's post-election eastern Congo. The residents of the camp, mostly Congolese Hutus, had been there for nine months. The FDLR had occupied the area around their village of Binza. They had uneasily coexisted with village residents, occasionally coming into the village to forcibly take some of the young girls away to be their "wives". Thirty girls had been taken over the last couple of years.

The govenment army [FARDC] had attacked the area, failed to dislodge the FDLR, and then taken vengeance on the local population. Government forces accused villagers of collaborating with the FDLR and burned down their houses. Adding insult to injury, the FDLR then occupied the houses that remained standing. The villagers could not return home, they had not received food from international agencies since October, and people were dying.

One 46-year-old woman lost two of her seven children during this attack. Her house was burned down by the Congolese army [FARDC], and her fields have turned to bush. She had 5 goats and 16 chickens, but the Congolese army [FARDC] looted everything she owned.

"Some days we go without food," she said matter-of-factly. "Many of the women here have been raped." First they got raped by the FDLR, and then they are raped by the Congolese army [FARDC], the force that is supposed to protect them from the FDLR. She earns 70 cents a day working other peoples' fields, not remotely enough to feed her family. "Peace is the only solution", she concluded....


The Congolese army [FARDC] is the most guilty of human rights violations, but it is joined by roughly 8,000 to 9,000 Rwandan and Ugandan rebels [anti-Rwanda-gov't FDLR and anti-Uganda-gov't Lord's Resistance Army] and 5,000 to 8,000 local militiamen that operate in the East....

Heavier bouts of fighting occasionally burst onto the international radar screen. In November 2006, for example, fighting in North Kivu - between government army forces [FARDC] and FDLR militia on the one hand and Nkunda's forces [CNDP] on the other - displaced 120,000 civilians overnight. This recurring displacement experienced by civilian populations has left most communities on the knife-edge of survival....


The FDLR are Hutu rebels [fugitives] with links to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Their continued presence in the Kivus, which border Rwanda, undermines stability in the east and strains Rwandan relations with Joseph Kabila's government [DRC] in Kinshasa. As one senior Rwandan official told ENOUGH, "A 6,000 to 7,000 force is always a threat. They have the numbers, sophistication, ideology and training, and can be a highly disruptive force when they target key infrastructure."

Many FDLR units are self-financing. The militia [FDLR] has control over mines in some areas, and local taxation of commercial routes in others. They are difficult to confront militarily because they do not stand and fight, but rather they retreat into the jungle and attack civilian populations. When they are attacked by MONUC, Nkunda's forces, or others, there are usually large numbers of revenge killings of civilians in the area, often forcing ever more people to flee their homes....


Laurent Nkunda is a Congolese from the ethnic Tutsi community who, off and on, has been fighting against the national army for three years and leads a rebel operation in North Kivu. He emerged to protect the Tutsi community and its interests in the East when Rwandan-backed political structures in the Kivus collapsed....

The Congolese government [Kabila's DRC] sees Nkunda's rebellion as a military problem that demands a military solution....Rwanda could easily be pulled into the conflict as evidence mounts of Congolese government support for the FDLR.

Unfortunately, MONUC has no official dialogue with Nkunda, and there is no formal mediation process focused on a solution....

Nkunda's core political demands are the dismantling of the FDLR and the return of Congolese refugees in Rwanda back to Congo. (There are 45,000 Congolese Tutsi refugees still in Rwanda who cannot return home partly because the FDLR has occupied their lands). Nkunda hopes to link negotiations on military integration to these issues, and his own security, to larger reconciliation efforts with the Congolese Tutsi community....

There is much debate over the military strategy to deal with the FDLR, but the best option remains MONUC supporting the Congolese army brigades (though not including Nkunda's 'mixed' brigades) against the FDLR....

The UN Security Council should target the international support network for the FDLR by enforcing targeted sanctions against its diaspora leaders and others who violate the UN arms embargo....

Averting a Nightmare Scenario in Eastern Congo. Project Enough (full report in pdf)

Hutus in Congo reared for new genocide. Sunday Times, Oct 28, 2007
Young Hutu men, too young to have been involved in the preplanned slaughter of a million Tutsis in Rwanda 13 years ago, are being reared in exile in the eastern Congo as a second generation steeped in the practice and ideology of genocide. The militia, which calls itself the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR], is better known by its original name: the Interahamwe – “Those Who Kill Together”. It now dominates an area the size of Belgium. Dozens of its leaders are wanted by the United Nations, Rwanda and the Congolese authorities for genocide, murder, arms dealing and extortion. According to a World Bank study of the militia, the indoctrination of young Hutus has been stepped up in recent months with the slogan “The job is not yet finished”, which echoes a slogan broadcast at the time of the original slaughter: “The graves are not yet full”...The Interahamwe, driven across the Congo in 1996 by Rwanda’s Tutsi-dominated army, has maintained an extraordinary grip on its members and their families. Every aspect of the lives of an estimated 45,000 civilian and armed Rwandan Hutus living in exile in the Congo is regulated. It runs officer training schools and has at least 7,000 men under arms who are led by a hard core of between 200 and 300 “genocidaires”. Harald Hinkel, one of the authors of the World Bank report, said: “Cut off the head of the militia and the vast majority would go home.” Until then the Interahamwe, which extracts taxes from the local Congolese and has twice tried to reinvade Rwanda in the past six years, continues to have a stranglehold on its own people. Permits are required to travel individually, and as a family, to visit a local market, communicate by letter or with strangers. Any attempt to return to Rwanda is met with execution or flogging for “treason”....A former officer under the Hutu commander in South Kivu said “We had history lessons on how terrible the Tutsis were and are and will be. Our young people were indoctrinated by special units in classrooms. They are taught to hate and fear the Tutsi.” The former captain had escaped by walking three days to a United Nations military base. “We lived by stealing. By looting from the locals. The young men who did not have wives would take them from the villages, they would rape young women,” he added. In the first six months of this year South Kivu province alone has recorded 4,500 rapes of Congolese women by armed men. According to Yakin Erturk, of the UN human rights council on violence against women, most of the sexual violence in South Kivu is perpetrated by foreign militias. “These armed groups raid local communities, pillage, rape, sexually enslave women and girls and subject them to forced labour,” she said in July....Eastern Congo’s North and South Kivu provinces are now braced for another round of fighting – once again sparked by the Interahamwe. Already 370,000 people have been displaced by skirmishes in a humanitarian disaster that has outstripped the catastrophe in Darfur.... “The only solution is to take out the Interahamwe top brass and to do that would take western special forces,” said a western ambassador. “And we see no sign of that.”

Rwanda says Congo backing Hutus (attacking Congo Tutsis). VOA, Oct 28, 2007



Surviving Congolese soldiers deep in Nkunda’s territory. New Times, Sep 27, 2007
...We wanted to meet with Congolese rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda, and the first thing was to arrange for an appointment. We called from Rwanda, and spoke to the man who has given President Joseph Kabila so many sleepless nights. alling him on the phone seemed crazy, surreal. He picked the phone and said hullo. The man was just calm and appealing. I know perhaps I am risking making some people think that I am consorting with a rebel by saying this, but it was true. We told him we wanted to meet with him for an interview. "We would like to have an inside story of the fighting," I told him....The reporters drove out of Goma in a convoy of three four-wheel drive vehicles into the conflict territory, about 100km away from Goma....Finally I saw the man....We followed Nkunda to a nearby primary school building that served as his press conference room. The rebel is serious; he claimed he is fighting for a reason. The Congolese government says it plans to blacklist Nkunda as the final option to end the recent conflict. However, Nkunda accuses Kinshasa of working with FDLR, a group which he says have ushered a reign of terror on his Tutsi kin with a mission of exterminating them in the same way they perpetrated the 1994 Genocide. Our interviews ended at 8pm. The general left but we remained with the population and soldiers. We were given chance to talk to prisoners. I talked to Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) captives. They spoke fluent Kinyarwanda with fierce faces, and strange voices, full of guilt on their faces. That very night, President Joseph Kabila announced that he was tired of the General and would not continue giving carrots to Nkunda....Our trip back was what I will never forget about DRC. It took almost two and half hours back down to Sake....We were then taken to the military headquarters in Goma. We were interrogated and our journalistic materials confiscated....


Nkunda waiting for Kabila response (wants to negotiate & join army for cooperation against negative forces). VOA, Sep 14, 2007

Listen to interview with Laurent Nkunda (calls for International Support for Peace Process). VOA, Sep 10, 2007




Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~