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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rwanda-Congo border: Seigneur de la Guerre arrested "without a shot"

Pictured with his girlfriend at a military review of one of his child battalions.

NY Times reports the notorious warlord in Congo has been taken into Rwandan custody:

The surprise arrest could be a major turning point for Congo, which has been mired in rebellion and bloodshed for much of the past decade. It instantly strengthens the hand of the Congolese government, militarily and politically, right when the government seemed about to implode. But it could also empower other, even more brutal rebel figures like Jean Bosco Ntaganda, General Nkunda’s former chief of staff, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.

Still, analysts and politicians say they hope that General Nkunda’s capture at the hands of Rwanda means that the proxy war between Rwanda and Congo is finally drawing to a close.

A United Nations report in December accused high-ranking Rwandan officials of sending money and troops to General Nkunda, a fellow Tutsi who claimed to be protecting Congolese Tutsi from marauding Hutu militias. This cross-border enmity has been widely blamed for much of the turmoil, destruction, killing and raping that has vexed Congo for years.

John Prendergast, a founder of the Washington-based Enough Project, which campaigns against genocide, called it a “massive turn of events. [...] Finally the two countries are cooperating,” he said.

Kikaya bin Karubi, a member of Congo’s Parliament, said General Nkunda’s arrest “could be the beginning of the end of all the misery. [...] Look what happened at Kiwanja,” he said, referring to a small Congolese town where United Nations officials said General Nkunda’s forces went door to door, summarily executing dozens of civilians in November.

Rwanda have him in their custody, he is their proxy agent in Congo that was as rogue as the other armed non-state combatant powers in the unstable corridor from Eastern Congo to Darfur.

Though General Nkunda never controlled more than a handful of small towns in eastern Congo, he was Congo’s No. 1 troublemaker. His troops have been accused of committing massacres dating back to 2002. General Nkunda recently began cultivating national ambitions to overthrow Congo’s weak but democratically elected government, which threatened to draw in Congo’s neighbors and plunge central Africa into a regional war, something that has happened twice before.

I think it was the current Congolese ruler, Kabila - and his father whom he succeeded - that swept to power in Kinshasa having raised an army against Mobutu in the Eastern Congo.

General Nkunda’s confidence may have been his undoing. On Thursday night, hundreds of Rwandan troops cornered him near Bunagana. Congolese officials said he refused to be arrested and crossed into Rwanda, where he was surrounded and taken into custody. It is not clear how many men he had with him at the time, but it appears he was taken without a shot.

Just a few days ago, Rwanda sent several thousand soldiers into Congo as part of a joint operation to flush out Hutu militants who had killed countless people in the 1994 Rwanda genocide and were still haunting the hills on Congo’s side of the border.

Few expected the Rwandan troops to go after General Nkunda. Not only is he a Tutsi, like Rwanda’s leaders, but he had risen to power by fighting these same Hutu militants. Several demobilized Rwandan soldiers recently revealed a secret operation to slip Rwandan soldiers into Congo to fight alongside General Nkunda. He had been trained by the Rwandan Army in the mid-1990s and was widely believed to be an agent for Rwanda’s extensive business and security interests in eastern Congo.

But it seems that the Rwandan government abruptly changed its tack, possibly because of the international criticism it has endured for its ties to General Nkunda. Several European countries recently cut aid to Rwanda, sending a strong signal to a poor country that needs outside help. Rwanda may have figured the time was ripe to remove General Nkunda, analysts said.

Earlier this month, some of General Nkunda’s top commanders split from him, saying they were fed up with his king-of-the-world brand of leadership.

That's what makes him Lord of the War. He's a psychotic war criminal.

One of those commanders was Mr. Ntaganda. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have accused him of building an army of child soldiers, a war crime.

But Mr. Ntaganda suddenly switched sides, denouncing General Nkunda and saying that he and his men were now eager to join the Congolese Army, which they had been battling for years. Many analysts believe that the Congolese government promised to try to protect Mr. Ntaganda from being sent to The Hague.

According to Jason Stearns, an analyst who recently served on a United Nations panel examining the conflict: “It’s fairly clear that Kigali and Kinshasa have struck a deal. Kinshasa will allow Rwanda onto Congolese soil to hunt down” the Hutu militants, “and in return Rwanda will dethrone Nkunda.”

What does "hunt them down" mean? Does that include civilians? We have a history, a recent one at that, of genocidal violence from the army, now we have a Tutsi government in Rwanda given a free-hand in Eastern Congo to eliminate the Hutu forces. It sounds like a breakthrough, this arrest, but what of the power vacuum it leaves? Will Rwandan forces occupy the areas of Congo that Nkunda controlled? Kinshasa certainly seems to have no effective control whatsoever over this region - a vast area it purports to govern.


At 25/1/09 10:14 pm, Anonymous war nerd fan said...

War Nerd MC’s First Man O’ War O’wardz:

Well ain’t that nice: Bono got another award. That’s what will help our world be a better and nicer place, Bono getting another award. What makes this one even more sickening than the rest is the name of the award: “Man of Peace.” That’s right: in case any of you had any doubts, on December 16, 2008, a bunch of moldy international moochers got together and officially named Bono this year’s man of peace.

There are a lot of people worth hating in this world, but I can’t think of anybody more in need of two bullets in the torso and one in the head than our friend Bono. Or whatever his name is; “Bono” is the name he took when he started his little Christian-classic-rock ensemble U2. I guess it was an homage deal to Sonny and Cher: “Saint Bono, who was martyred by a ski-slope tree.” And the wacky name they gave their band, , U2, like “you too”—how’s that for witty and inclusive at the same time, the kind of humor even liberals can get. These guys were like the wits of the eighties, as you can see. Bono’s boyfriend from their Christian high school renamed himself “The Edge,” which is even funnier. When you think edgy, you sure think of guys like the boys in U2, edgemeisters like Bono who once booked a first-class airline ticket for his cowboy hat.

So here’s my contribution to fair and balanced: I’m inaugurating the first annual Man O’ War O’Wardz to commemorate the people who are trying to make the world a better place through war.

And I’m dead serious about that. There are times and places when war helps and “peace” hurts. Like the case of the man who gets our first MO’W O’Ward: General Laurent Nkunda, leader of the Tutsi militia in Eastern Congo. Nkunda is not only the coolest-looking guy on the planet, like a praying mantis in human form, he’s probably the most brilliant commander actually working on a front line right now. With as few as 3000 men, he’s in effective control of a huge chunk of Eastern Congo.

And he’s doing good by making war. A lot more good than Bono’s doing. Bono’s approach to Africa is to treat Africans like retards who need fulltime care. He wants the West to be Quakery with Africa, forgive them their debts so the sleazy leaders can run up some more billions to spend on estates in Europe. Send them more free food so the birthrate can rise without a hope in Hell of jobs and an infrastructure to support the kids they’re popping out. The idea behind Bono’s plan, if you can even call it an idea, is something like, “They’re so hopeless we have to give them everything and hope for the best.”

Now take my man, Laurent Nkunda. He came up out of nowhere, never asked anybody for a thing. Nobody even knows much about him because he’s always played his biographical details very close to the flak vest. He whipped a small Tutsi militia into such fantastic shape that it chased the gigantic robbin’, rapin’ army of Congo right out of the bush. And he did all this while his people, the Tutsi, were being slaughtered all through Rwanda. Nobody helped him or the Tutsi. Not Bono, not nobody. The first time the bleeding hearts got worried about Rwanda, and this is a matter of “historical record” as they say, was when RPF, the Tutsi militia, chased the Hutu genocidaires out of Rwanda with their pangas still dripping Tutsi women and kids’ blood. Then the UN came out in force, with all the free food and sympathy even Bono could ask.

The Tutsi didn’t complain. They don’t do complaining. They’re like the Prussians, tall and grim, and just as likely to be wiped out, too. They took back Rwanda and forgave the Hutu murderers.

The Tutsi, this little tribal army carved out of the survivors of the worst genocide in decades, kept walking west out of Rwanda and walked into a giant vacuum called “Congo.” The Congo Army was a dirty joke and collapsed when the disciplined Tutsi units approached, and the little army marched all the way to Kinshasa, where the leaders, including Nkunda, were fobbed off with fancy titles while the Kabilas, father and son, went about making the usual sleazy Congo deals with the Katanga rich boys, divvying up the country fresh. Nkunda was promoted to general in the Congo Army in 2004, but as he watched his friends from the bush picked off one by one, framed for treason or other joke crimes and disappeared, he got the idea that Kinshasa wasn’t a healthy place for a real man of war. That kind of peace was too dirty for him.

And there was work for a soldier back in eastern Congo. The Hutu genocidaires, those wonderful specimens of humanity who were sulking in the forests there after being forced out of Rwanda before they could finish off “the work” of killing every last Tutsi infant, responded to the Tutsis’ totally unprecedented softness and failure to take revenge by massacring and raping all the Tutsi civilians they could catch in Congo. It was like they decided to franchise Tutsi genocide to their new location.

That’s when Nkunda’s little army went in, to flush them out and protect his tribe. By this time Nkunda was commanding Tutsi units that had been “integrated” into the Congo Army, the 81st and 83rd Brigades. His units quit the Congo Army (which is run by and for Katanga mining barons and their tame officers) and fanned out through the bush to scatter the Hutu death squads, who fled without putting up a fight as usual.
If it weren’t for Bono and the UN and all the other Good People, the Tutsi would keep marching to victory. They’d carve out their own country in Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo. And it would get rich in a couple of generations, once everyone around learned not to mess with it. And then there’d be actual peace in Central Africa, a kind of peace made by the locals, on local terms that everybody could understand: this is Tutsi country, so behave. We’re tougher and smarter and better-disciplined than you, and we want things productive and calm.

Well, that’s a natural, sensible outcome, so the Good People can’t stand the idea and they’ve declared Nkunda a “war criminal” in spite of the fact that the Tutsi forces have shown unbelievable restraint by any standards, never mind Congo standards.

As far as I can tell, it’s because Nkunda is a great man that the Good People hate him so much. Bono and his billionaire friends don’t want Prussian Africans. They want basket cases they can get their pictures taken giving handouts to. So excuse me if I say Nkunda, the man of war, is a better man on his own terms and in terms of making a better Africa, than Bono O’Phoney will ever be.

At 26/1/09 12:24 pm, Anonymous old pinko said...

Whatever change in the powers behind the congo slaughter this arrest may bring about, the one thing we can be sure of is that it won't benefit any of the indigenous people who live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) at all.
The Congolese have been getting slaughtered in unimaginable numbers by whitefellas or their proxies since mad King Leopold of Belgium had around 5 million souls murdered in the late 19th century.
Incidentally it was Leopold's troops who introduced to Africa the 'dismemberment to get your way technique' much beloved of mercenary fighters that want to grab territory fast.

Leopold would have the right arms of any children of plantation employees (slaves) amputated if output didn't meet targets.
This revolting crime is much used by white capitalists to 'prove' africans are beastly. How many know it is actually a european technique?
There has only be one short window in the time I have been alive when it seemed the Congolese might get a fair shake of the stick. That was when congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba was elected as Prime Minister. he seemed to be the real deal, unconcerned by personal wealth but dedicated to people. That was not what post ww2 whitey wanted. Lumumba was executed by CIA agents on the orders of prez Eisenhower, the boss of the new colonial master of the world, amerika.
They blew it, the paper trail between eisenhower and cia chief dulles was uncovered and the amerikans had to assasinate UN founder Dag Hammerskold who went to investigate Lumumba's death. To ensure they didn't get caught. Then the slaughter which has continued unabated since, recommenced.
A real UN would seal off the borders of the dem republic of the Congo and the republic of the Congo two adjoining resource rich but separate entities, then ensure that no more guns or outsiders got in. After a brief period of bloodshed as hot heads tried to settle old scores, the people would grab the chance for peace. Whenever they have tried that in the past some greed head from the north has found a way to stir up trouble again.
The congolese are unlucky to be sitting on a huge range of much in demand resources. Since they aren't white that means they would be luckier to have nothing in their beautiful nation other than themselves and the incredible bio systems they live within.

At 26/1/09 3:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What does "hunt them down" mean? Does that include civilians?"

Just to cover a gap in your knowledge Tim almost all of the killing in Rawunda were committed by civilians because the extremist Hutu regime wanted to implicate everyone in the act of mass murder.

Once the Hutu militias are eliminated then Rwunda will have no reason to have troops there.

At 26/1/09 5:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This revolting crime is much used by white capitalists to 'prove' Africans are beastly"

Oh come on! You may as well go one step further and say that whites introduced violence to Africa.

At 27/1/09 5:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was not what post ww2 whitey wanted. Lumumba was executed by CIA agents on the orders of prez Eisenhower, the boss of the new colonial master of the world, amerika.

I love it. Putting aside the fact that this is pure, unadulterated horse shit - anything, anything can be blamed on amerikkka if you lefties try hard enough.


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