DRC: Kwamouth, the remake of Beni?

The testimonies that come to us from Kwamouth, in Mai-Ndombe, strangely resemble the information that we received from Beni from October 2014 and which had led me to carry out research which culminated in the publication of my books: “The Massacres of Beni” and “The Genocide of the Congolese”.

In Beni, as in Kwamouth, we wake up to scenes of extremely cruel killings without any rational explanation. An official narrative sets out to attribute these killings to actors whose guilt turns out to be improbable. Why would the Teke and the Yaka start killing each other with such cruelty today, when they have always lived in peace for ages? In Beni, I asked myself the same epistemological question: why would the ADF, a Ugandan rebellion fossilized for years, suddenly start massacring the local population with such fervor?

I began to disentangle the true from the false by analyzing migratory movements from Rwanda and the modus operandi of death squads. In Beni, these migratory movements truly experienced two decisive phases. In 2009, in application of the agreement of March 23, 2009 signed between the government of Joseph Kabila and the Rwandan militia of the CNDP, Rwanda had dumped thousands of its soldiers in eastern Congo where Kinshasa had given them almost all the front lines, from North Katanga to Ituri via South Kivu and North Kivu. For four years, Rwandan intelligence officers, brewed/mixed in the FARDC, took the time to explore every corner of the countryside in this part of the Congo, to identify small local conflicts and to prepare plans to hit the spots. of fragility when the time comes. The second phase of the migratory waves took place from December 2013 after the rout of the M23 whose elements were trying to settle Rwandan populations expelled from Tanzania in Rutshuru. The M23 fighters and these populations found themselves in Rwanda and Uganda from where they began to return en masse to the Congo under the hackneyed identity of “Banyabwisha” or “Hutu of Masisi”. Aided by Rwandan officers mixed/mixed in the FARDC, in application of the March 23, 2009 agreement, these masses of Rwandans, including criminals whom Rwanda was releasing from prison, poured into the countryside of Beni and Ituri where their compatriots, Rwandan officers mixed in the FARDC, had already identified favorable spaces for their installation. The rest, we know.

As soon as they were in sufficient numbers in the FARDC and in the countryside of Beni-Ituri, they launched attacks against the natives who, hibernated in their naivety, had not seen the danger coming behind these waves of migration and the political mixing/mixing. Since then, entire families have been exterminated with machetes almost every day, while dozens of villages have been emptied of their natives.

To return to the Kwamouth affair, in Mai-Ndombe, it is difficult to explain the exact role of Rwanda if we limit ourselves to the testimonies of the survivors of the killings who nevertheless describe quite clearly the profile of the death squads. If in Beni, the Rwandan forces and the waves of migrants were visible, in Mai-Ndombe, more than a thousand kilometers from Beni, it is hard to believe that Rwanda could have the capacity to strike the Congo so hard. However, those who follow the history of the Congo from the AFDL know that all the sensitive areas of the DRC, during the 18 years of the presidency of Joseph Kabila, were under the control of the Rwandan intelligence services. Numerous testimonies reported the massive arrivals of crowded planes from Rwanda, which after having dropped off hundreds of their occupants, returned to Kigali without anyone in Kinshasa knowing where these people were directing them. Several sources told me that most of these new arrivals were heading for Kongo Central and Bandundu. If I understood that Rwanda is sending its forces back to Kongo Central where the rout of Kitona against the Angolan army in 1998 must have haunted it, the establishment in Bandundu left me with no hypothesis that holds water. These aircraft rotations accelerated after the arrival of Felix Tshisekedi and the opening of the skies of the DRC to the company “RWANDAIR”. Rwandan planes landed in Kinshasa full and left for Kigali almost empty. A Rwandan officer once boasted in a video that thanks to RWANDAIR, Rwandan forces no longer have to travel long distances to reach their targets. They take off, strike and return to Rwanda to dance while celebrating the success of their operation.
Well before these plane rotations, there was the case of a surprise arrival of Rwandan herdsmen with herds of zebus (long-horned cows) in Bandundu to the great astonishment of the local populations. It was in January 2018, when Joseph Kabila felt the end of his reign. At the time, I published a message indicating that Bandundu, the only region spared from the massacres, will become the scene of massacres like the rest of the DRC.

I have long wished I was wrong in my projections and believed that the Yumbi affair was just an isolated incident. I fear my fears are coming true. Moreover, with Rwanda’s acquisition of a vast estate in Maloukou, across the river in Congo-Brazza, and Rwanda’s military grip on Central African President Touadera, the Congolese must seriously worry about the security of their country.
In particular in view of the weak capacity of the leaders of the DRC to decipher the security dangers over a long period of time, but above all in view of the unavowable pro-Kagame tropism of the overwhelming majority of Congolese politicians, out of loyalty to their past in the armed movements that have left Rwanda since the AFDL/1996, and to whom they owe their comfortable political careers in Kinshasa.

Nicaise Kibel Bel Oka

in Les Coulisses

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