First place winner, One World Media Coronavirus Reporting Award

  1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. DRC

Three RCD-Goma officers summoned before military court

The military chief of staff of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lt-Gen Liwanga Mata Nyamunyobo, summoned on Tuesday three officers of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) to appear before the Military High Court (Haute Cour Militaire) for having refused to take part in the inauguration of the newly-unified national army.

Liwanga said that Brig-Gen Laurent Nkunda, colonels Elie Gichondo and Erick Ruhorimbere, who had been named commander and deputy commanders, respectively, of three of the country's 10 military regions, would have to appear before the court "for indiscipline and refusing [to obey] orders".

The three men remained in the eastern city of Goma when they were due to be in Kinshasa, the capital, for the new army's inauguration. Liwanga said that discipline would prevail in the new army, and that those who stepped out of line would be punished.

RCD-Goma, a former rebel movement that is now party to a unified national government and military, has not yet issued an official reaction. However, army spokesman Col Leon Kasonga said that all leaders of the unified military "should not ally themselves with the three officers".

He added: "We do not know why they remained in Goma, as they have not been excluded from the army. Logically we must conclude that they continued to conduct rebellious activity with respect to the order that has been established."

Leadership of the new army is shared by officers from the former Kinshasa government, the Mayi-Mayi militias, and former rebel movements RCD-Goma, Mouvement de liberation du Congo, RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation, and RCD-National.

Commenting on the name of the new army, Liwanga said that debate regarding the name of the unified national army was finished.

"The army will be called the Forces Armees Congolaises," he said. "The debate among our civilian brothers does not interest us, the army is apolitical."

Despite the inauguration of the leadership of the newly-unified military on Friday, uncertainty remained regarding the precise name of the new force, as RCD-Goma said it was opposed to it being called the "Forces Armees Congolaises" - the name that had been used by the former Kinshasa governments of President Joseph Kabila and his late father, Laurent-Desire.

"We are adhering to law, and we therefore want the army to by called the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo as was stated in the transitional Constitution pending a decision on a definitive name," Jean-Pierre Lola Kisanga, the RCD-Goma spokesman, said on Friday after the military inauguration ceremony.

In other recent military controversy, another RCD-Goma military officer, Bora Uzima, was denied a position in the new military's leadership following an outcry from Kabila's former government and human rights groups because of his alleged involvement in the January 2001 assassination of Laurent-Desire Kabila.

Following his exclusion, Uzima was reported to have led a failed mutiny in the northeastern city of Kisangani on 31 August before being arrested and transferred to Goma, where he was released. Uzima has denied involvement in the mutiny.

For his part, Nkunda has been widely accused of leading massacres in Kisangani in May 2002.

In an interview with IRIN on Saturday, UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC, Antoanella-Iulia Motoc, said she was unhappy to see people who had been accused of certain crimes and human rights violations appointed to the recently-inaugurated government institutions, citing Nkunda and Tango Fort [alias of Gabriel Amisi] of RCD-Goma, in particular.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join