Nkunda secret book unveiled

Monday October 19 2009



Gen Nkunda. Photo/FILE

Gen Nkunda. Photo/FILE 

By JOSH KRON, NATION Correspondent

KINSHASA, Monday

A political manifesto allegedly written by former Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda just days before he was arrested by the Rwandan Government surfaced for the first time last week.

In the manifesto, Gen Nkunda details his political and military ambitions, past relations with Rwanda, and his determination to rearrange national borders in the region.

Was arrested

Gen Nkunda, the former head of ethnic Tutsi rebel group National Congress for the People’s Defence that threatened to topple the Congolese Government this time last year, was arrested in late January by Rwandan troops invited in the Congo, heralding a new peace between the two countries.

A preamble to the document claims the manifesto, which says was found by Nkunda’s family after he was arrested, was being made public in response to tense a standoff last week between Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi and the Burundian army over their freedom to return to Congo.

In the document Gen Nkunda emphasises the CNDP’s rise as an organically Congolese movement rather than a proxy of the Rwanda Government, saying his rebellion “never has received a single table, single cartridge, much less single directive,” from Kigali.

At the same time, he outlines his insurgency along ethnic Tutsi lines, citing his admiration for, sense of kinship and occasional acquaintance with the current Rwandan regime, including its senior military.

Since 2004, Gen Nkunda claimed, he had been in Rwanda’s capital Kigali only once, in early 2007.

At the time he claims to have been in contact with the chief of Rwanda’s army, flying in army helicopters, and called Rwandan President Paul Kagame the “unofficial mediator” of the eastern Congo conflict, specifically in the protection of minority Tutsi in Congo.

“Rwanda is a neighbour of mine, whose national language, culture and ethnic composition are identical to those of my Community-Chefferie original Bwishya,” Gen Nkunda says in the document translated from French.

He also argued that “intangible borders” had separated what otherwise be a natural nation of eastern Congo, Rwanda and neighbouring Burundi.

He argues ethnic Hutu and Tutsi people have lived in the three “transvolcanic” countries.

Reached crescendo

For the last 15 years, eastern Congo has suffered foreign invasion, mass insurgency, and an unsteady insecurity scarred further famine and volcanic eruptions.

The situation, sparked by the mass influx of Rwandan Hutu genocide-committers in 1994, reached crescendo between 1999 and 2001 when eight African nations partook in a continental war.

“The CNDP is therefore a direct response to the Sun City agreement,” referring to the 2001 peace agreement that obliged Rwanda and Uganda to leave Congolese soil, ending the war.

Many of the soldiers remained. With each transformation, they have pulsed deep in to eastern Congo’s provinces, targeting the FDLR and occupying mineral-rich land.