(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Tables turn as rebel faction declares support for army

A temporary refugee camp in Ishasha town in western Uganda. Thousands of refuges have fled violence in eastern DRC; an estimated 7,000 have crossed into Uganda
Glenna Gordon/IRIN

A rebel splinter group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said it is ready to back joint operations planned by the governments of DRC and Rwanda against Rwandan Hutu insurgents based in the Kivu provinces.

The self-styled new leader of the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP), Desiré Kamanzi, also said he would not recognise the outcome of ceasefire negotiations in the Kenyan capital between the DRC government and the main CNDP wing led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda.

Nkunda’s wing has dismissed the change of leadership, insisting it was still in charge of the movement and that the man who mounted the “ouster”, International Criminal Court war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda, would face disciplinary proceedings.

"These Nairobi talks simply don't concern us, but we are ready to back the two governments, who have decided to go after the FDLR," said Kamanzi, referring to the Forces Démocratique pour la libération de Rwanda.

"Since 4 January any decision taken previously by the deposed leader is null and void," said Kamanzi.

“We don't recognise the Nairobi matters because the government is dealing with a delegation we don't recognise. But we demand that a body be instituted so that we can agree upon delegates and issues for negotiation with the government," he added.

According to Rwanda’s army spokesman, joint military operations against the FDLR were imminent.

"The two Force commanders [Rwanda and DRC] endorsed the plan, which implies that its implementation takes immediate effect," explained Maj Jill Rutaremara in the New Times, which is close to the government in Kigali.

Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Staff, General James Kabarebe, was in Kinshasa in early January and met DRC President Joseph Kabila and UN mediator Olusegun Obasanjo.

Bertrand Bisimwa, spokesman for the CNDP wing still loyal to Nkunda, said from Nairobi that conditions on the ground in eastern DRC remained volatile.

"There are 700 heavily armed militia from the FDLR, supported by government troops and Congolese Resistance Patriots dressed in regular army fatigues rising up to prepare an offensive against CNDP positions” around Kikuku, about 130km north of Goma, he said.


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