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Continuation of conflicting reports after the Beni attack on the MONUSCO Soldiers, as the UPDF prepares for deployment!

There are always an aftermath after a massacre, clearly the lights into darkness, you never know what you find or who you find. The ADF or ADF-NALU has gotten the blame for the attack on 7th December 2017. However, there are questions if they could do such a well based attack on MONUSCO and FARDC soldiers on that day. This will be a question as long as the Democratic Republic of Congo isn’t delivering or telling who they believe is behind it.

I will go through recent days report as the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) are preparing to deploy new forces in a joint mission together with the FARDC. This happens as there been consultation meetings in Mbarara, in the same days as the attack in Beni occurred. The reasons for this strike and attack is not known. The basic leverage of doing so is neither seen. If the ADF really did it or not. The ADF or ADF-NALU has not taken responsibility. Neither is the certainty of former M23 or any other group in the region having the capacity to strike this heavy against the peacekeepers on the move. With knowledge of their movement and knew exactly when to shoot.

Therefore, I have complied certain parts of news and reporting during the past few days. From different sources, as the UPDF are preparing to enter. Do a mission again inside the Congolese territory. This isn’t new, but new in the prospects, that the Kinshasa government is on overtime and extending their reign without any elections. While certain regions are filled with insecurity and rush of soldiers. With the use of foreign soldiers to clear out internal issues. Also ex-militants who are creating more trouble in a already conflicted region, where peace seems to evade.

The neutralization of the ADF and the security of the borders between the DRC and Uganda are two topics at the center of a meeting, Thursday, December 14, between the armed forces of these two countries. The talks are taking place in Kasindi-Lubiriha, a Congolese town about 90 km northeast of the city of Beni, bordering Uganda. This meeting brings together some senior officers and generals of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) as well as those of the Ugandan army (UPDF). According to security sources, the FARDC and the UPDF are discussing the planning and start of joint operations to neutralize the terrorist group ADF, active in the territory of Beni. The meeting between the Ugandan army and the Congolese army comes as new FARDC reinforcements from Kisangani have been deployed since Wednesday, December 13, in the Beni region. The Ugandan army delegation is led by Brigadier Michael Kabango, commander of the 5th Infantry Division of the Ugandan army. That of the Armed Forces of the DRC is led by General Marcel Mbangu commander of operations Sokola 1 North” (Radio Okapi, 2017)

National MP Paul Muhindo opposes planning a joint military operation between Ugandan and Congolese armies against Ugandan rebels from the ADF. During a briefing on Friday, December 15, this elected North Kivu, believes that this operation “will amplify things” on Congolese soil. “We think it’s a bad thing to associate these people [Ugandan soldiers] with coming to fight the ADF who are their brothers. This is a way for us to believe that we want to further amplify the situation on our territory, “said MP Paul Muhindo. He said a mixed military operation is not appropriate for bringing peace to eastern DRC. MP Muhindo believes that the FARDC are able to end the activism of this rebel group, with the support of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), “if there is a clear will.”” (Radio Okapi, 2017).

Denouncing UPDF presence already in March 2017 in the DRC:

The provincial assembly of North Kivu opened its March session on Monday, March 31st. A session that starts with the denunciation of the presence of Ugandan army soldiers in some parts of eastern DRC. The chairman of this deliberative body clarified the areas where these UPDF soldiers are concentrated for unclear reasons. Jules HAKIZIMWAMI cited, for example, the Sarambwe Gorilla Reserve, about 100 kilometers north of Goma, in Rutshuru territory. They have been there since March 26, he said. He continued that these UPDF soldiers occupy important hills in the Sarambwe and Kisharo villages in the Binza group. The already occupied hills include Kazingiro, Kabumba, Risura and Kanyabusanane, more or less 20 kilometers from the Congolese-Ugandan border, according to the president of the provincial assembly of North Kivu. Jules HAKIZIMWAMI lamented the fact that these Ugandan soldiers say they came to secure their compatriots, who preceded them to make fields in Sarambwe. In his opening speech of this parliamentary session, the president of the provincial assembly called for the involvement of national authorities and regional and international cooperation structures to put an end to this presence” (Masimengo, 2017).

Museveni order UPDF to DRC:

Observers say UPDF’s anticipated operations could stretch deep into the volatile and unstable region to create a buffer zone for Uganda. “This time the President is extremely serious,” said a source. “He will not allow anyone to stand in his way as soon as DRC commences joint operations with UPDF.” Multiple sources said Museveni insisted Uganda obtains consent from DRC to avoid legal ramifications of an “invasion” and “work with all stakeholders to pacify that region.” “We intend to go there officially and work closely with DRC forces to stabilize the region across our border,” said an official informed about Uganda’s preparations for combat action. By Friday, heavily armed troops and artillery pieces were still being deployed at the border, confirming widely held perception UPDF would be inside DRC for quite a long time” (Muhame, 2017).

Who is behind the December attack on MONUSCO:

Tuesday, December 06, 2017. The FARDC officials whose camp is based near the base of the peacekeepers Camp, more or less 700m away, phone that they will send soldiers to fetch food, as they are used to doing. Around 17:30, they call their partners to announce that they are en route. A few minutes later, they arrive at the edge of their well-identified vehicle known to Tanzanian peacekeepers. They are around 35. They are familiar with the configuration of the camp. They are used to going there to refuel. Those who stand guard recognize some of them. They let them in. Everything is going fast! While one of those on guard is calling his superiors to warn them of the arrival of their « friends », the vehicle stops in the middle of the camp. A group of 5 or 6 goes towards the structures of communication, passes immediately to the attack and in the blink of an eye all the structures of communication are destroyed and all the camp is under attack. The peacekeepers are more trained than the attackers. They manage to repel the enemy. Moments later, another FARDC group arrives while the peacekeepers continue to repel the attackers. Great surprise! The peacekeepers note that the Fardc arrive to reinforce the attackers. This reinforcement will continue until dawn. Whenever attacking Fardc units feel weakened, others come to replace them. To believe a FARDC soldier who has just contacted Benilubero newsroom, while the fighting continues, Colonel Papy Kasongo, the head of the FARDC regiment, will constantly communicate with his superiors and tell them that the ADF have tried to take the camp of the peacekeepers but that everything returned in order a few minutes later” (…) “Thursday, December 08, 2017 Monusco is alerted in the early hours that one of its camps was attacked at night. Without delay, it sends a reinforcement. The consternation is total on arrival. Injured people moan in the bush. Lifeless bodies are strewn everywhere: 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers and 5 Fardc killed, among whom we can identify 3 Rwandans. The camp is literally looted. All materials and food were taken away. But no combat is reported in the area and no body of a so-called ADF-Nalu is found. Injured people testify and the facts speak for themselves. Monusco is very embarrassed. It will limit itself to giving the human balance sheet” (Beni Lubero, 2017)

With all of this, we can just speculate and wonder. Who did what and where. The reality is that innocent lives are taken. This time both FARDC soldiers and Tanzanian peacekeepers. Also the deaths of the attackers, who we don’t know if they belonged to ADF or if they we’re even a parallel FARDC-Network. At this moment, we don’t know. The speculations and the intelligence on the matter is mere opinions and not facts.

There are two stories being told and its hard to know, which ones to believe, what is striking is the quickly resolve of sending forces from Uganda into this. How easily the FARDC accept to play second fiddle on their own soil. How the UPDF and Museveni can deploy his forces in Northern Kivu. Without sort of acceptance of MONUSCO or anyone else supporting the peacekeepers. We can wonder who will pay or what will be the pay for these soldiers in the DRC. Since the UPDF has to pay them and give them shelter while fighting militants in the Beni area.

If the MP Muhindo is right, that it will amplify things, then the next coming weeks will be bloody. Also with the possible troops there already near Goma. They are already in the region and ready to arrive on the scene, as they have put soldiers and artillery in the Kisoro region combined with the ones reported in March 2017 20 km away from Goma. This proves that the Ugandans was ready prepared long in advanced for this sort of strike close to their border. That shouldn’t shock anyone, since they have been in the DRC plenty of times and used it to export valuable minerals and timber for a long time. This combined with the Consultation Meeting in December in Mbarara. Proves that something was-up, but the official agreement between the DRC and Uganda in this matter. Has not been official. Neither has the minutes for that meeting. In the hours and days ahead of the attack on MONUSCO in Beni. That should also be questioned.

We should be worried about that, because secrecy like that, makes it even more questionable, the reasons for the deployment and also the sudden attack on MONUSCO. There are enough pieces that is missing and the picture is not clear. If it is Kabila who needs insurgency as a reason to stay in power or Museveni wants soldiers deployed, because he has a smaller contingent in Somalia (AMISOM). Peace.

Reference:

Beni Lubero – ‘The whole truth about the assassination of Tanzanian peacekeepers: A signed attack by FARDC’ (16.12.2017) link: http://benilubero.com/the-whole-truth-about-the-assassination-of-tanzanian-peacekeepers-a-signed-attack-by-fardc/

Radio Okapi – ‘La neutralisation des ADF au centre d’une réunion entre les FARDC et l’armée ougandaise’ (14.12.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/12/14/actualite/securite/la-neutralisation-des-adf-au-centre-dune-reunion-entre-les-fardc-et

Radio Okapi – ‘Le député Muhindo s’oppose à l’opération militaire mixte RDC-Ouganda contre les ADF’ (17.12.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/12/17/actualite/securite/le-depute-muhindo-soppose-loperation-militaire-mixte-rdc-ouganda

Masimengo, Eve – ‘Nord-Kivu : Des militaires Ougandais s’installent dans certaines localités’ (13.12.2017) link: http://benilubero.com/nord-kivu-des-militaires-ougandais-sinstallent-dans-certaines-localites/

Muhame, Giles – ‘Museveni Orders On DRC Operation as UPDF Amass Troops at Border’ (17.12.2017) link: http://chimpreports.com/museveni-orders-on-drc-operation-as-updf-amass-troops-at-border/

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RDC: UDPS – “Concerne: Information de Manifestation” (13.12.2017)

RDC: Lettre du Abbe Vincent Tshombe – “Objet: Manifestations pacifiques pour l’application de l’Accord de la Saint Sylvestre” (05.12.2017)

ICGLR Condemns the Attack on MONUSCO-FIB, and FARDC troops in Beni, Eastern DRC (09.12.2017)

The Allied Defense Force (ADF) back in the spotlight after an attack on FARDC and MONUSCO yesterday!

The Ugandan based militia, which has two groups ADF-NALU and ADF, one led by the now detained Jamir Mukulu and the other one led by Seka Bukulu. The biggest group is the last one, which has about 1,000 militants, while Mukulu is about 30 people. That meaning since the reports on the attack, it wasn’t the ADF under Mukulu attacking MONUSCO yesterday, but the militant group under Bukulu, since there we’re 72 militants killed, while 15 Tanzanian Peacekeepers was killed, 5 FARDC soldier and 43 wounded as well. Therefore, the killings yesterday was substantial and the biggest attack on MONUSCO since 2010.

This attack happens while the governments of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo are having meeting in Mbarara, discussing provisions against insecurity and across the borders. The continuation of the Operation Sokola 1 that has been on since 2014. Still, the problem of ADF and others in the region are there.

For those of you who has no knowledge of ADF. I will give some information about who they are and amount. Just briefly. Before what happen yesterday and also in Mbarara. As the discussions between GoU and GoDRC. Which will entail certain changes at the end of the day. Since the ADF has its origin in the Rwenzori mountains, before becoming a vital part of militias in and around North-Kivu.

Allied Defense Force origin:

The Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) is made up of Ugandan opposition forces, supported by the Government of Sudan, which fought the Government of Uganda. According to the UN, most of its members are Islamists who want to establish Sharia law in Uganda” (…) “The ADF is led by a Muslim, Jamir Mukulu and operated in western Uganda. Historically it has used Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) territory for its bases. However, the ADF was initially severely crippled by the establishment of Laurent Kabila’s Government in the DRC in May 1997 and by its subsequent provision to the UPDF of access to rebel bases in the DRC” (…) “By March 2016 attacks on civilians in the Beni region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had killed at least 550 people over 18 months. Congolese officials placed the blame on the Allied Democratic Forces, characterized as a Ugandan Islamist movement, but a report from the Congo Research Group says it may not be that simple. Jason Stearns, lead author of the report, agreed that the ADF was partly responsible but said the group was not working alone. “The first conclusion [is] that the ADF is not really what people make it out to be,” he said. “It’s not this foreign Islamist force; it’s a force that is much more rooted in local society. And the second conclusion is that it’s not just the ADF but also others who are involved in the massacres.” (Global Security, 2016).

ADF has a financial support network that includes local and international sources. In 2014, the Group documented that ADF received financing through international money transfers, the theft of Congolese army salaries and the delivery of funds to camps by recruits and ADF agents. The Group also received credible information that ADF derived funding from harvesting timber in its area of control” (UNSC, 2015).

ADF-NALU comprises some 800-1,400 combatants, without including the women and children in its ranks. Based in the northwestern Rwenzori Mountain region, along the border with Uganda, the militia is a “tightly controlled organization”, subsisting on illegal logging and gold mining as well as a “network of car and motorcycle taxis operating between Butembo, Beni and Oicha”, and “money transfers from London, Kenya and Uganda, which are collected through Congolese intermediaries in Beni and Butembo”, according to a UN Group of Experts report. Butembo, Beni and Oicha are in North Kivu Province” (IRIN, 2014).

In December:

Representatives from two countries will reflect on solutions to security issues between districts in South West Uganda and North Kivu Province. Among the Ugandan districts represented in these meetings, the same sources cite Rubirizi, Kisoro, Kanungu Rukingiri Bundibujo, Ntoroko and Kasese.

According to other security sources, for the past few days, there are already discussions and discussions between the FARDC and the Ugandan army to launch joint operations for the neutralization of Ugandan rebels of the ADF, active in the territory of Beni. In addition to members of the provincial government of North Kivu, some senior officers of the 34th military region, Operation Sokola 1 and the Congolese National Police represent the DRC at this bilateral meeting that will last four days” (Radio Okapi, 2017).

The Attack today:

The Congolese army (FARDC) claims to have killed 72 Ugandan rebels of the ADF during an attack on a MONUSCO peacekeepers’ base on Thursday, 7 December 2017 in Semuliki in the Beni territory (North Kivu). Contrary to Monusco’s assessment of five Congolese soldiers killed in the attack, Operation Sokola 1 North’s spokesman, Captain Mak Hazukay, speaks of a death in the ranks of the army. “This is the position of the Monusco that was attacked, we came in reinforcements (…) 72 ADF elements were killed and 1 soldier found death during the attack”, said to ACTUALITE.CD, Captain Mak Hazukay, spokesman for Operation Sokola 1 North in Beni” (Actualite.cd, 2017).

So after yesterdays attack, we can wonder if the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) and FARDC will go after ADF. Like they have done with Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in Operation Lightning Thunder, the Garamba Offensive. It sent the LRA packing and got them to leave the territory of the DRC. But they were able to leave, so they are causing havoc instead in the Central African Republic.

We can wonder if they are planning something similar now with the ADF in the Kivu Provinces. To get rid of the 1,000 militants, who are robbing the FARDC and trading timber. Since Operation Sokola 1 haven’t been sufficient to target the ADF.

We can also wonder, since the Mbarara Sessions occurred at about the same time. It was just as it needs funds for new mobilizing and such. That the strike against MONUSCO. Just appeared as the neighbors wants to address the problems of the ADF. Like the military movements will come as even the returning soldiers in the UPDF from Somalia as well. It is just like everything is fitting like a glove for all parties involved. UPDF have extra soldiers used to combat in Somalia, while the Kivu’s is under fire and the FARDC needs support from not only peacekeepers, but serious military personnel who can actually fight the militants. It is just a perfect scenario for the leadership in Kinshasa and Kampala. While the Kivus’ are suffering in insecurity. Peace.

Reference:

Actualite.cd – ‘ RDC : 72 rebelles ADF tués lors de l’attaque contre les casques bleus à Beni selon les FARDC’ (08.12.2017) link: https://actualite.cd/2017/12/08/rdc-72-rebelles-adf-tues-lors-de-lattaque-contre-casques-bleus-a-beni-selon-fardc/

Global Security – ‘Allied Defense Force (ADF)’ (15.12.2016) link: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/adf.htm

IRIN – ‘ADF-NALU militia in DRC’ (27.01.2014) link: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99538/briefing-adf-nalu-militia-drc

Radio Okapi – ‘La sécurité des districts frontaliers en discussion entre la RDC et l’Ouganda à Mbarara’ (08.12.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/12/08/actualite/societe/la-securite-des-districts-frontaliers-en-discussion-entre-la-rdc-et?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20radiookapi/actu%20%28Radiookapi.net%20-%20Actualit%C3%A9%29

United Nations Security Council – ‘Letter dated 12 January 2015 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the President of the Security Council’ (12.01.2015) link.http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2015_19.pdf

Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union on the Attack on United Nations Peacekeepers and Congolese Soldiers in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (08.12.2017)

Addis Ababa, 8 December 2017: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has learned with shock of the heinous attack carried out yesterday night against the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Congolese soldiers, in the North Kivu province. The attack resulted in the killing of 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and 5 Congolese soldiers, while 53 members of the Mission were wounded.

The Chairperson of the Commission strongly condemns this abject attack. He conveys the African Union sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes speedy recovery to the wounded. He expresses the African Union solidarity with the peoples and Governments of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as with MONUSCO and the entire United Nations family. He looks forward to speedy and concrete steps to identify the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.

The Chairperson of the Commission commends MONUSCO for its vital role in the Democratic Repubic of Congo, particularly in the current context marked by preparations for the holding of the elections planned for December next year. In this respect, he underlines the need to avail MONUSCO all the support it needs to facilitate the discharge of its mandate.

North Kivu – Attack on MONUSCO troops at Semuliki, at least 14 Peacekeepers and 5 FARDC soldiers killed (08.12.2017)

Democratic Republic of Congo: New ‘Kivu Security Tracker’ Maps Eastern Violence (07.12.2017)

Over 500 Killed, 1,000 Abducted in Kivu Provinces in Past 6 Months.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 7, 2017 – The new Kivu Security Tracker will map violence by armed groups and Congolese security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern Kivu provinces, Human Rights Watch and the New York University-based Congo Research Group said today. The joint project will monitor the worst violence in North and South Kivu provinces through maps, graphs, and analytical reports.

According to initial results from the Tracker, from June to November 2017, at least 526 civilians were killed in the Kivus, at least 1,087 people were abducted or kidnapped for ransom, and there were at least 11 incidents of mass rape.

“As civilians suffer alarming attacks in eastern Congo, the Kivu Security Tracker will provide policy makers, journalists, activists, and others with an innovative new tool to better understand the violence,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “We hope the Tracker will be used to more effectively address the root causes of Congo’s conflict, support communities affected, and hold those responsible to account.”

Since the Tracker began documenting incidents in June, a team of 14 Congolese researchers based across North and South Kivu have spoken daily with victims of abuses and their families, witnesses, customary chiefs, clergy, activists, and government officials to document abuses and seek to identify the armed actors responsible. Project staff in Congo and abroad then verify their reports with reliable sources before publishing incidents on the website, providing comprehensive and timely accounts that are updated as additional information becomes available.

The Tracker records violent incidents by armed groups and members of the Congolese security forces, both in armed conflict and political violence. The data set includes violent deaths, clashes between armed groups, abductions, kidnappings, mass rapes (with at least five victims in a single attack), property destruction, and the repression of peaceful political demonstrations. Nearly 800 incidents were logged during the first six months of reporting.

The Tracker is intended to promote greater understanding of events in a country facing increased violence. Last year, 922,000 people were displaced in Congo, more than anywhere else in the world. In October, the United Nations declared a “Level 3 emergency” in Congo, a category only given to three other countries: Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. The Congolese conflict, however, is marked by enormous complexity – the Tracker maps areas of control for 120 armed groups in just two of the country’s 26 provinces. This has made it difficult for policymakers to devise solutions and for media to tell the story behind the violence, the organizations said.

The Tracker helps address this challenge. By highlighting patterns and trends, and through a graphic representation of the violence, it aims to make the conflict more comprehensible. The initial findings indicate that much of the violence in the Kivus goes unreported. Ninety percent of the incidents documented on the Tracker, amounting to 70 percent of violent deaths, were not mentioned at all in international media. More than half are absent from the best available academic trackers of violence.

While many factors contribute to the violence, some trends stand out. Congolese security forces were responsible for over 100 violent deaths over the past six months, more than any single armed group and roughly one fifth of total killings documented. One of the worst single incidents documented was a massacre of at least 39 Burundian refugees by Congolese security forces in Kamanyola, South Kivu, on September 15.

The Tracker’s findings also suggest that the conflict in eastern Congo has been exacerbated by the country’s general political crisis, as President Joseph Kabila has delayed elections and used violence, repression, and corruption to entrench his hold on power beyond the end of his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ended on December 19, 2016. Armed groups have formed coalitions to challenge Kabila’s extended presidency, while the government has cracked down violently on peaceful protesters.

“Levels of displacement in Congo today are higher than ever recorded,” said Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group. “The current political crisis is not just a question of elections, but it’s about the millions affected by persistent and deadly violence. Solving the crisis will require nuanced engagement in the conflict, but also the political will to challenge those responsible.”

Kasai, Democratic Republic of Congo: Millions at Risk as Funding Dries up (06.12.2017)

With 3.2 million people desperately short of food, WFP has stepped in with emergency assistance.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 6, 2017 – An acute hunger emergency in conflict-ravaged Greater Kasai could turn into a long-term disaster, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today. While the agency has been working against the clock to help ever more people, the cash is quickly running out.

“We’re letting down those who need us most,” said Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A tightly planned surge had made a big difference, Jibidar explained, but WFP had largely funded this from its own meagre resources. “Without immediate donor support, many – particularly women and children – will die.”

The eruption of violence in what used to be a poor but peaceful region has claimed countless lives. Some 1.4 million people have been forced from their homes. Traditionally high malnutrition rates have sky-rocketed.

With 3.2 million people desperately short of food, WFP has stepped in with emergency assistance. A lull in fighting has allowed more staff to be deployed. Aid workers have fanned out into the Kasai countryside. WFP has co-ordinated multi-agency logistics and humanitarian flights. As a result, the number of people assisted has grown rapidly – from 42,000 in September to 115,000 in October and 225,000 in November. Last month, 13,500 children were given special fortified foods.

But donors’ reluctance to commit to Kasai is jeopardizing this effort. While WFP plans to feed almost half a million people in December, so depleted are the agency’s coffers that only half-rations can be distributed.

Hunger not only puts lives at risk: it forces people into prostitution and increases the risk of sexual violence, Jibidar stressed. “Government partners must do all in their power to spare Kasai from the kind of decades-long humanitarian catastrophe that has plagued other DRC regions.”

 

RDC: M23 – “Notre Reaction Officielle au Rapport de Human Right Watch de Decembre 2017” (04.12.2017)

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