To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

The latest article published by AFP (not a friend of our cause usually) is quite revealing:

DR Congo rebel General Nkunda demands talks with government. AFP, Dec 12, 2007

People have no other alternative but to get the point: we are spearheading the emancipation of so many other minorities, and God willing, we'll save the face of the Republic.


Greetings Antoinette,

Yes, that is a revealing article and good reporting like that is appreciated when it comes - such important information is there to convey.

From a position of strength - being victorious in battle (including re-taking your Mushaki town) and literally routing the enemy - Nkunda is stretching out his hand in peace, asking for a chance to negotiate.

Who - if he truly represented the Republic of the Congo - could turn such an outreach down?

All the best,
Jackie Jura

DR Congo rebel general demands talks with government. AFP, Dec 12, 2007
Kinshasa Rebel general Laurent Nkunda Wednesday called for talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo government after his troops scored important victories in the volatile eastern Nord-Kivu province. "We need to negotiate. We call for the opening of discussions with the government," rebel spokesman Rene Abandi told AFP as Nkunde's forces faced off against UN peacekeepers. "This war has been imposed on us from the beginning," he said. "We believe that the solution to the problem is political and not military, even though the situation on the ground is currently in our favour." Over the past two days, Nkunda's fighters have taken back all the positions they held three months ago, when fighting started with the Congolese army forces (FARDC) in troubled eastern DR Congo. Late Tuesday, the rebels closed in on the town of Sake, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north-west of the UN-defended provincial capital of Goma.

The UN mission to the DR Congo, MONUC, has reinforced its troops in the region and has vowed not to lose Sake to Nkunda's forces if they move on the town. Early Wedesday, a MONUC spokesman said the area around Sake was calm after some sporadic gunfire overnight. "The situation is unchanged in Sake. MONUC is controlling the town," said Major Prem Tiwari, the UN mission's military spokesman in Nord-Kivu province. "We have reinforced our positions. We won't let this town fall into the hands of Nkunda's troops." Since the end of August 20,000 government soldiers in Nord-Kivu has been involved in sometimes heavy fighting with around 4,000 Nkunda loyalists as they attempt to force the rebel militia to demobilise and hand in their arms. Less than a week ago the government described its capture of the town of Mushake as a "great victory" in the fight against Nkunda, who claims to be defending Tutsis against Hutu rebels from neighbouring Rwanda.

The rebel general has rejected demands by Kinshasa and the UN to disarm, and by Washington to surrender and go into exile. DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila has ordered the army to disarm the rebel fighters by year's end. When asked if the rebels intend to attack Goma or other cities, Abandi said: "That will depend on the situation, whether they want to continue to pound us or not." "It is not the first time that we have won a military victory against FARDC, which is always in the end saved by MONUC. This situation cannot last forever," he said. "We do not want to topple the institutions. We want to fundamentally discuss our demands." Ever since it was set up in July 2006, Nkunda's National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) has been demanding the "neutralisation" of the Mai Mai militia which it says is being backed by the government to fight Nkunda's men. The CNDP is also demanding the return of Congolese Tutsi refugees sheltered in neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, and the dropping of what it claims are ludicrous war crimes charges against Nkunda dating back to 2004.

After military gains, Congo rebels poised above town near Goma. VOA, Dec 12, 2007
[Nkunda] Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have won a series of military victories against [Kabila] army forces. Some rebels are now perched on a hill overlooking a densely populated town only 30 kilometers from the regional capital. Only days ago, the Congolese army was celebrating a rapid advance against rebel forces in Congo's eastern province, North Kivu. But in a sudden turn-around, the insurgents, led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda, have retaken all the villages they lost last week. Now, a group of Nkunda's men stand on a grassy hill overlooking the large town of Sake, around 30 kilometers northwest of the regional capital Goma, the same place they controlled before the government's 20,000-strong offensive began last week. The insurgents say they want to hold talks with the government to resolve the situation politically rather than militarily ...Rebel and army forces have clashed in a series of armed conflicts since late August. Rebel leader Nkunda says he is fighting to protect local ethnic Tutsis from Rwandan ethnic Hutus. General Narayan says over 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes in the last few days.

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