Few ever doubted the charismatic pull General Nkunda had over his men.
He was a true believer, with a messianic conviction that he had been put on this earth
to protect fellow Tutsis in Congo from being slaughtered
as they were in Rwanda in 1994.
NKUNDA CONGO'S TRUE BELIEVER
He was tall and thin, with a commanding presence and hints of elegance.
He had built one of the best-organized, best-trained bush armies in Africa.
His soldiers always carried their rifles pointing down
and kept their uniforms incongruously spotless,
even though they marched through a world of mud.
Its leader captured, Congo rebel force dissolves
by Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, Jan 24, 2009
Kibumba, Congo — On Saturday afternoon, seemingly the entire village of Kibumba lined up alongside the main road and watched a once fearsome rebel army dissolve in front of their eyes. It was raining, and many villagers were wearing swamp boots and thin slickers. They stood with their feet planted in the mud, some chewing chunks of sugarcane, others nibbling on roasted corn. In front of them, dozens of rebel soldiers climbed aboard a cargo truck, tossing their machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and backpacks in first and then playfully fighting one another for a seat. “We’re done,” said one rebel, who identified himself as Captain Amiable.
If Kibumba is any indicator, the fierce rebellion in eastern Congo headed by Gen. Laurent Nkunda may be ending with his arrest. Rwandan troops captured General Nkunda along the Congo-Rwanda border on Thursday night. It was a stunning turn of events, especially because Rwanda used to be one of General Nkunda’s top backers. Two days later, hundreds of his troops agreed to be trucked to collection points to be integrated into the army....
All that acclaimed discipline, which had helped the rebels to rout the Congolese government troops just about every time they faced off, seems to have vanished as fast as its leader.
On Saturday, Captain Amiable smelled like a beer bottle. His battle buddy, a young man named Sergeant Kompast, was not much better, with bloodshot eyes and a loaded assault rifle that kept slipping off his shoulder. The two teetered along the road, arm in arm, shouting at passing cars. They were soon drowned out by a bunch of glassy-eyed rebels singing at the top of their lungs, “We are commandos, we are commandos!” as they were trucked out of town. Few people in Kibumba seemed sad to see them go. “Criminals,” one woman muttered. Several rebels said it was good that General Nkunda had been arrested. “We always wanted to negotiate,” Captain Amiable said. “But Nkunda was blocking us.” Peace, however, is far from assured. There are still many other rebel groups haunting the hills of eastern Congo. General Nkunda’s force was thought to number around 5,000 fighters, and many have simply melted back into the bush, possibly to fight on.
His former chief of staff, Jean Bosco Ntaganda, a ruthless commander known as the Terminator, is the new rebel figurehead after having defected from General Nkunda. So far Mr. Ntaganda is playing nice with the Congolese government. Though he has been charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court, he was the one holding court on Saturday. He met with various Congolese officials at a hotel near here, apparently to discuss the details of his newfound sense of cooperation.
As for General Nkunda, the Rwandans holding him remain tight-lipped. “Nothing has changed,” Maj. Jill Rutaremara, a spokesman for Rwanda’s Defense Forces, said Saturday. “If Congo wants him extradited, there’s a process to go through.” The Congolese government is urging Rwanda to hand him over to face war crimes and treason charges. But Rwanda may have a hard time doing that.
General Nkunda used to be a Rwandan Army officer, and until recently, top Rwandan officials were suspected of supplying him with weapons and soldiers. The Rwandan government seems to have struck a deal with Congo in which the Rwandans agreed to neutralize General Nkunda and in return Congo would let thousands of Rwandan troops hunt down Hutu militants on Congolese soil. A joint Congolese-Rwandan force has killed nine Hutu militants in eastern Congo since Friday, Reuters reported.
NKUNDA & INTORE HEROES
Part 1: THE PILGRIMAGE OF RECONCILIATION, CNDP, YouTube (General Nkunda arrives...)
Part 2: (Nkunda's soldiers on parade....)
Its Leader Captured, Congo Rebel Force Dissolves. SanFranGate, Jan 24, 2009
NKUNDA GEURRILLA GORILLA TOURS
KAGAME HELPING NKUNDA NOT
CHINA A 500-POUND GORILLA
INTERVIEW NKUNDA ("We have to liberate Congo....Congo has to be free and develop"). BBC, Nov 10, 2008
Nkunda would fight African peacekeepers if they were sent to Congo to back government troops. Guardian, Nov 10, 2009
The Tutsi rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda, today warned he would fight African peacekeepers if they were sent to back government troops in fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. A regional summit of African leaders said yesterday they would "not stand by" and watch the violence which has displaced about 250,000 people and led to UN accusations of war crimes over the systematic killing of civilians. Countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola, agreed to send in "peacemaking forces" to the region of North Kivu "if and when necessary". Nkunda, whose rebel forces sparked the current violence, said his troops would fight peacekeepers if they were deployed alongside Congolese government soldiers. "If SADC engages like this, they will have made a mistake. I am ready to fight them," Nkunda told Reuters by telephone....The scale of Angolan military support for Congo is not clear but it appears to have emboldened the government's army. However, it carries the risk of widening the conflict. Angolan forces played a crucial role in stopping the advance of the second Rwandan invasion of Congo, in 1998. Rwanda denies that it continues to support Nkunda after backing him immediately after its invasion. But it may not stand by if the Angolan military swings the conflict against Nkunda while Hutu extremist rebels, comprising members of the forces that led the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, continue to operate unhindered from Congo.
MUGABE & KABILA FIGHT NKUNDA
GENOCIDAL HUTUS NEVER EXTRADITED
CONGO FORCES AGAINST NKUNDA
NKUNDA CASE FOR REBELLION
NKUNDA FIGHTING FOR PEACE
NKUNDA SHOULD BE HERO
PRINCE OF PEACETIME PHOTOS
KNOW NKUNDA CONGO
NKUNDA & MUSHAKI TOWN
UN HATE WEEK ON NKUNDA
ENIGMATIC LAURENT NKUNDA
NKUNDA & INTORE HEROES
CONGO WOLVES ON NKUNDA
CONGO WRONG ON NKUNDA
LUMUMBA-LIKE LAURENT NKUNDA
JFK CRIED FOR CONGO
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~