Update on integration of armed groups

My apologies for being absent for a week. I will try to catch up on a few important issues that haven’t been covered much in the press.

First, on May 5th the CNDP president Philippe Gafishi finally gave a compte rendu to the CNDP of his meeting with President Kabila on April 17th. He said that Kabila had promised to revitalize the work on the Comite National de Suivi (CNS), the committee set up to oversee the integration of armed groups, before June 30th (independence day). Among the issues that Kabila said he would address regarding the CNDP are:

  • the return of Congolese refugees from Rwanda
  • the integration of the CNDP into the civilian administration and police
  • granting CNDP officers ranks in the Congolese army
  • incorporating the CNDP into the AMP (Kabila’s coalition) and given them positions in government or the administration

Not everybody in the CNDP was happy with this state of affairs. A certain Patrice Habarurema (a Hutu from Masisi) said he was going to create a courant renovateur and challenge Gafishi. He was apparently arrested shortly afterwards in Gisenyi by Rwandan security forces for unknown reasons. In the meantime, the Rwandan military tribunal postponed Laurent Nkunda’s hearing indefinitely for procedural reasons.

Other armed groups are also unhappy. On May 7, seven signatories of the March 23rd agreements wrote to President Kabila, saying that he had to take urgent measures to address their concerns or the integration process might fail. They also opposed MONUC’s withdrawal. The signatories included some important groups: the PARECO Hutu wing (Sendugu Museveni), Mai-Mai Kifuafua (Didier Bitaki) and part of the PARECO Nande wing (Firmin Sikuli).

In general, things are getting increasingly tense in North Kivu. There has been quite a bit of violence in Walikale and Lubero territory by the FDLR several hitherto marginal groups. In the meantime, in South Kivu two new armed groups have been added to the laundry list: Jeshi la Uma (army of the community) in Mwenga territory and Parti Nationaliste Congolais (PNC) in Shabunda territory. According to some local intelligence report, the head of this latter movement, Colonel Moriamu, lives in the United States.