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To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

Upon reading the Rebel Hour one can realize that NKUNDA is not ASSANI as depicted by the author.

Although there are similarities between them, there are many factual differences in their roles during the two Congolese wars - the first one within the AFDL and the second one within the RCD. Also, Assani is said to be from the Banyamulenge from the South while actually NKUNDA is a Munyarwanda from the North. At the best of my knowledge Nkunda did not go all the way to Lubumbashi, nor to Kinshasa either during the first war. On the book they also said that Assani was in contact with Mzee KABILA. I do not think the Chairman was in contact with Kabila during that time. At least he has never talked about.

For the people who are familiar with what went on, this including myself, we know who ASSANI is. After the second war during the transition, there were only two Tutsi Generals from the RCD to be nominated within the FARDC. The first one was LAURENT NKUNDA from the North, the second one is ASSANI. NKUNDA declined the appointment and ASSANI went all the way to KINSHASA where he became one of the top officers.

Assani and Nkunda have both the same background almost identical that may make someone mistake one for another. The same history which is being narrated within the book applies to both of them and many of their comrades during that time.

So far there is ONE book detailing the Chairman's struggle and his personal experience within the Liberation movements. That's the one which was written in french by Stewart. We understand there is something from JOHN LE CARRE out there. I do not have yet more information about it.

All the best,
Sharangabo Rufagari

Greetings Sharangabo,

Yes, I realize there are technicalities that are different between Assani and Nkunda - but the similarities are amazing. In essence, Assani is the essence of Nkunda - even to the point where they share the same birthday - both born in February 1967 and both use walking sticks with an eagle on the handle (if I recall, although I don't presently have a copy of the book in my possession).

I know that in many details Assani is NOT Nkunda - as you say, one came from the South and the other from the North; and Assani went on to Kinshasa and Nkunda didn't. But in their attitudes and personalities - and educational and military backgrounds - their lives are almost identical.

I hope some day the REAL Nkunda will return to Congo and resume his proper place in history - the hero of a successful rebellion against a corrupt government facilitating genocide against a group of its own people.

In the meantime, Assani will serve as a surrogate Nkunda.

Jackie Jura

A people without a Nation. BoiseWeekly, May 22, 2009
...You may wonder who these invisible people were, "the Banyamulenge". The Banyamulenge are the people from a town called Mulenge in the mountains of Congo overlooking the city of Uvira in South Kivu. These people were refugees in Congo in the '80s and were naturalized by Mobutu, the former Congolese president, before he was routed out of power and died. Despite being granted citizenship, the Congolese still thought of them as Rwandan Tutsi, even after they had settled themselves comfortably in this small mountain town of Uvira and made it their home for dozens of years....During the First Congo war, the Banyamulenge participated in overthrowing the dictator Mobutu, joining with the Rwandan army, but the Rwandans could not accept them as their compatriots despite facial similarity and speaking the same language. With the war stirring up the Congo and more rebel groups joining in, all the Rwandans had to return to their home country at some point. The Congolese asked the Banyamulenge to go as well. For the Banyamulenge, Mulenge was more than their home; most of them had never been to Rwanda or any other place other than Mulenge. The Rwandan government denounced them for being Congolese while the Congolese claimed that they were but Rwandan. This left them as a people without a nation. They had to scatter throughout the world, mostly in different refugee camps in Africa. In 2004 the refugee camp in Burundi (Katumba) was attacked at night by Interahamwe militias. It was an all Banyamulenge refugee camp, therefore they did not think twice before opening fire on the tents, ensuring that there was no way out. They killed hundreds of refugees and injured thousands in a couple of hours before retreating in the darkness. This habit of attacking refugee camps had been common in most parts of central Africa. After the 1994 100-days genocide in Rwanda that claimed nearly a million lives, the Hutu Interahamwe had to flee into the bush of Central Africa. They came out to attack cities, loot food and, because of the hatred between them and the Tutsi, they attacked places where they thought the Tutsi may be living....In this group living in Boise, some had to go through surgeries, while others had to go through amputation of legs or arms. They are living here as refugees from Congo or Rwanda. Both Congolese and Rwandans nicknamed them as the Cogorwa for the fact they are neither Congolese nor Rwandan. They are a people without a nation.

Rwandan Hutus back to killing in Congo (since Nkunda gone no one to fight them) & 4,500 Hutu soldiers pillaging Congo civilians (committed genocide in Rwanda in 1994). Reuters/AFP May 13, 2009


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

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