Masisi: More reason to worry

An update on ex-CNDP administration in Masisi territory. According to a recent trip by UN staff there, the CNDP still maintains a parallel administration based in Mushaki (just to the west of the northwestern tip of Lake Kivu). The administrator there, Prosper Mashagiro, controls 152 administrative officials, whose job is primarily to levy taxes, maintain roads and manage conflicts between civilians (most people in the areas where they live think they do a much better job at the first task than at the latter two). According to UN officials, Mashagiro has no relation with the government appointed administration based in Masisi center and only rarely reports to the provincial administration in Goma.

There has been alarm in the past week, as the taxes levied by the CNDP officials at the Mushaki, Kimoka and Kilolirwe roadblocks have reportedly soared to 500 per truck with agricultural products and 700 per truck with timber. This money is allegedly going to fund the newly-founded FLEC movement led by Bosco Ntaganda. As a reminder, the UN Group of Experts estimated the the CNDP administration in Masisi gathers around $250,000 in taxes each month.

In addition, there have been reports of forced recruitment of youths (or children) around Muheto (central Masisi) and Ngungu (southern Masisi), as well as numerous CNDP meetings. Also, thousands of refugees returning from Rwanda have begun to bolster the ranks of the CNDP in these areas. We should not scream conspiracy quite yet, but it definitely seems like something is afoot.