Ituri’s Plight: Regional Interference; Congo’s Plight: Impunity (Part 1).


 

I remember vividly the day I became interested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It was back in 2002. I was browsing the daily news on the Internet and the Cable News Network (CNN) website was featuring an article sensationalizing the gristly violence and cannibalism occurring in the Ituri District of the Orientale Province, located in northeastern DRC. As the weeks went by, more horror stories from Ituri were carried in the mainstream press. Some of the articles impressed upon the fact that children were often both the perpetrators and the victims. After reading these articles, despite the sensationalism, I was profoundly affected. I asked myself, "What could possibly create such conditions where human beings would do such horrendous things to each other?" As I eventually came to learn, a large part of the answer to that question is regional interference from the DRC’s geographic neighbors.

Part 1: The Recent History of Ituri

Ituri itself was geographically redefined as a result of the 2nd Congo War (1998-2003). Like Minembwe Territory in the South Kivu Province,1 the breakaway Ituri Province was not recognized by the Congolese Government. It was created by a decree in June 1999 by General James Kazini2 of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) in order to install Adele Lotsove Mugisa (a Gregere3 businesswoman) as governor (Gov.) of the Ituri and Haut-Uele districts. Her appointment replaced a prior-appointed governor who was subsequently put under house arrest.4 The move is reminiscent of (then) North Kivu Gov. (and Rally for Congolese Democracy [RCD]5 politician) Eugene Serufuli’s appointment by Rwanda.6

Gov. Lotsove, a Ugandan ally, declared the new Kibali-Ituri Province with Bunia as its capital shortly after taking office. It was this de facto province that became popularly known as "Ituri." The new Congolese Constitution ratified in 2006 defined Ituri as an official district of the Orientale Province.

In 1998, the UPDF invaded the DRC along with the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), a small number of Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers, and the Rwandan-backed RCD. The UPDF, led by General Salim Saleh (Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s brother) and General Kazini, set up a complex series of businesses to launder money and exploit the Congo’s natural resources (primarily gold, diamonds, and timber at the time) after successfully capturing territory in Ituri.7 General Kazini also used the Rally for Congolese Democracy – National (RCD-N), led by Roger Lumbala, to act as a middleman and extract diamonds from the areas around Isiro and Bafaswende.8 The RCD-N was partly comprised of Congolese National Army (ANC)9 defectors who organized in Bafwasende.10 They are accused of committing cannibalism in 2003.11 General Kazini eventually admitted to the United Nations (U.N.) that he personally facilitated the plunder of untold millions of dollars (U.S.) in gold and diamonds during the war.12

The UPDF was supposed to withdraw from the DRC after the signing of the Lusaka Agreement in 1999, but since none of the warring parties observed the ceasefire, the UPDF refused to leave. As the first UPDF soldiers finally began to withdraw in March 2001, they unleashed local militias they had trained and armed to act as Ugandan proxy forces in Ituri and retain control of the resource-rich areas. A politico-military movement created in 2000, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and its armed wing, the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), was one of these militias. Its members were primarily of Hema/Gregere13 ethnicity. Originally, the UPC was based in the village of Mandro but they eventually relocated to Nizi.

The UPC/FPLC was led by Mr. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Gregere from Djiba. Prior to becoming president of the UPC and commander-in-chief of the FPLC, he was a commanding officer in the Congolese Popular Army (APC) and the Minister of Defense for the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-ML), the APC’s political wing. He became disgruntled with the RCD-ML/APC because they began to support the rival Lendu over the Hema/Gregere. Eventually, Lubanga defected to found the UPC/FPLC. He received 6 months of military training from the UPDF in Kyakwanzi beginning in August 2000.14

By 2001, Uganda and the UPDF were playing both sides and backing both Hema and Lendu militias. For that reason, Lubanga did not trust them. He began to look for military sponsorship elsewhere as a backup plan. The Rwandan Government and the RPA were happy to oblige for their own strategic reasons. Rwanda was self-financing their occupation of the DRC and their support for the RCD-G/ANC15 through smuggling and selling off the DRC’s mineral wealth. Initially, Rwanda focused on the "blood diamond" trade but beginning in late 1999, they began heavily smuggling columbite-tantalite (coltan). After coltan’s market price had plummeted down by late 2001 due to market saturation, Rwandan officials needed another source of income to support their military expenses. They wanted to encroach on Uganda’s illegal gold smuggling trade in Ituri and using the FPLC as a proxy army provided the perfect opportunity. By the end of 2002, the RPA had already won 3 bloody battles against the UPDF in Kisangani for control of the diamond trade, and the former allies became bitter enemies as a result. Supporting a UPC/FPLC overthrow of the Ugandan-backed proxy forces provided a way for Rwanda to weaken their enemy and then use the UPC/FPLC-controlled territory as a rear base to destabilize Uganda.

In June 2002, Hema Chief (and UPC member at the time) Kahwa Mandro Panga16 and the Gregere Bishop of Bunia, Leonard Dhejju,17 travelled to Rwanda and approached General James Kabarebe Kagunda, the RPA Chief of Staff, to ask for military support. They were able to strike a deal.18 Rwanda arranged for arms drops to the FPLC in Tchomia, Irumu, Bule, Bulukwa, Mandro, and Dhego.19 In September 2002, 107 children and adults were airlifted from Tchomia to Kigali and transported to Gabiro military camp for artillery training.20 They were flown back to Bunia in November 2002 armed with automatic weapons.21 In direct violation of the Pretoria Accords,22 the RPA deployed a small number of soldiers dressed in civilian clothes to Mandro to train Hema adults and child soldiers.23 Colonel Edison Muzoora, a defected UPDF sector commander working for the RPA, helped orient RPA officers new to Ituri.24 Some of the RPA officers were reportedly integrated directly into the FPLC command structure.25 The U.N. Mission in the DRC (MONUC) was aware of the situation, but did not publicly comment about the Rwandan involvement.26

The RPA trained numerous child soldiers for the FPLC because Thomas Lubanga was notorious for the forced recruitment of innocent children, including children under 15, a violation of international law that constitutes a war crime.27 He kidnapped children as young as 7 and forced them to fight for the FPLC. After abducting children from their homes or at school, he would send them off to military camps in the DRC for basic training. In the camps, children were often severely beaten for not properly singing indoctrination songs of praise about "Papa Thomas" even if the soldiers were singing in a language the children did not understand. Any mistakes made during calisthenics or training was also met with severe beatings.28

During August of 2002, while Rwanda was arming and training his soldiers, Lubanga and several Gregere political officials, including former Gov. Mugisa (the UPC’s Minister of Finance at the time), proposed to exterminate all influential and/or educated Ngiti29 and Lendu.30 Putting the plan into action, the FPLC launched a major offensive on 7 August 2002. The UPDF and FPLC forces led by General Bosco Taganda31 burned down all the homes belonging to anyone of Bira, Ngiti, Lendu, or Nande ethnicity and killed 110 civilians in the process.32 FPLC soldiers had a prearranged list of people targeted for assassination in the villages of Mudzipela, Bigo I, II, III, and Saio.33

On 9 August, the FPLC and UPDF were able to capture Bunia, the main town in Ituri, which was a major victory. Once in control, the soldiers attacked the Bira, Ngiti, Lendu, and Nande civilians in town.34 After the violence subsided, the UPC officially inaugurated its government and attempted to expand its political and military influence over the areas surrounding Bunia. Rwanda deployed RPA soldiers to Bunia for training UPC/FPLC intelligence agents.35 Later in August, after rearming and regrouping from the battle for Bunia, the FPLC tried and failed to take control of the gold-mining center of Mongbwalu from the Lendu militias and the APC.36

On August 31, the FPLC and allied Bira militia attacked the town of Songolo. Up to 140 Lendu and Ngiti civilians were murdered, some in their sleep.37 The Lendu and Ngiti militias responded with an "ethnic cleansing" that occurred during an attack on Nyakunde. At least 1,200 Hema, Gregere, and Bira civilians were murdered on 5-15 September 2002.38 The Centré Médical Evangélique (CME), the region’s largest and best-equipped hospital, was completely destroyed during the attack.

In October of 2002, the FPLC aided Jean-Pierre Gombo Bemba’s39 Army for the Liberation of Congo (ALC)40 and the RCD-N during Operation Effacer le Tableau ("Erase the Board"). The purpose of the operation was to gain control of RCD-ML territory (primarily in Beni and Lubero territories) and weaken the APC’s supply lines in preparation for another assault on Mongbwalu. Bemba wanted to expand his sphere of control and procure more routes for timber and diamond smuggling, as did the RCD-N. The ALC forces seized control of Mambasa and Eringeti, while the FPLC attacked Komanda. A MONUC investigation conducted after the attacks revealed 99 counts of rape, 220 murders, 222 missing people, and 15 acts of cannibalism on Pygmy and Nande civilians living in the area.41

To further prepare for a definitive offensive on Mongbwalu, the UPC/FPLC forged a temporary alliance with another Ituri-based militia that would officially become known as the People’s Armed Forces of Congo (FAPC) on 4 March 2003. The FAPC was founded with initial help from Uganda, but they briefly joined forces with Rwanda from late 2002 to early 2003.42 Its commander, Jérôme Kakwavu Bukande, is a Munyarwandan43 from Masisi Territory (North Kivu Province). Like Lubanga, Commander Kakwavu is a former APC officer. He was the commander of the 5th Operational Zone in Ituri that comprised the area around the gold-rich town of Durba.44

The FAPC was based in Aru and Ariwara on the Congo-Uganda border. These two towns, along with Mahagi, are the primary customs stations for gold and timber smuggled into Uganda from Ituri. The "taxes" enforced by the FAPC provided them with substantial income to purchase weapons. In addition, there is a lucrative gold-rich area on the Zani River in the nearby village of Djalasiga that the FAPC exploited.45

In October, the first of a series of arms shipment from Tirana, Albania arrived in Kigali.46 After receiving arms shipments from Rwanda, the UPC forwarded some of the weapons to Commander Kakwavu. Lubanga leased an Antonov from Mbau Pax Airlines and flew the weapons to him or drove them by land from Bunia.47

The FPLC attacked the Lendu/Ngiti militias and the APC in Mongbwalu on 8 November 2002, but failed to drive them out of town.48 Their second attempt on 18 November 2002, was successful due to FAPC reinforcements and RPA logistical help.49 The RPA planned the attack and even gave direct battlefield orders to the FPLC and FAPC officers. Commander Kakwavu and the FPLC’s Chief of Staff Floribert Kisembo Bahemuka took orders directly from General Kabarebe and General Jackson (Jack) Nziza (Nkurunziza), Chief of the RPA’s Department of Military Intelligence (DMI).50

During the successful offensive, General Taganda led the FPLC soldiers into battle and attacked the APC on a front to the east of Mongbwalu. According to one report, Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers also directly participated in the battle alongside the FPLC though it is unlikely they were UPDF and RPA soldiers because the two were bitter rivals by that time.51 A U.N. Security Council report claimed Bemba’s ALC was also involved, despite the fact Commander Kakwavu and the ALC had already fought each other over territory near Durba.52

After driving the APC and Lendu/Ngiti forces out of town, the battle turned into an "ethnic cleansing." Roadblocks were set up to capture escapees and house-to-house searches for Lendu were conducted. Any Lendu, Ngiti, or Nande found hiding or caught attempting to flee were killed. Some FPLC fighters used knives and hammers to torture captured civilians in the gristliest fashion before executing them. A group of trembling non-combatants was exterminated as they huddled inside a church for protection.53 Abbé Boniface Bwanalonga, an elderly Ngiti priest, was arrested on 20 November 2002, and viciously murdered shortly after his detention.54 An absolute minimum of 200 civilians were killed.55

After taking control of Mongbwalu, Lubanga intended to make good on his end of the deal with Rwanda. In return for their military aid, Lubanga promised to ship Mongbwalu’s gold through Kigali instead of Kampala. In early January of 2003, Lubanga invited investors from Rwanda to come to Mongbwalu and talk business. They met with l’Office des Mines d’or de Kilo-Moto (OKIMO) employees to discuss investment options.56 Two of OKIMOs directors (at the time) were Hema. One of them, John Tibasima Ateenyi, another RCD-ML defector, was the General Manager of the mines during Joseph Mobutu’s presidency.57 OKIMO’s General Director Etienne Kiza Ingani helped the UPC manage the mines and OKIMO’s Finance Director Roger Dzaringa Buma became Lubanga’s official financial advisor.58 The FPLC set up a gold-for-arms trade with Rwanda.59 Rwandan arms shipments arrived in Mongbwalu, Tchomia, Bule, and elsewhere from November 2002 until late January 2003.60

It did not take long before the UPC began plotting to take over more gold-rich areas. On 6 December 2002, FPLC forces attacked the town of Kilo and perpetuated one of the most brutal massacres of the 2nd Congo War. Anyone suspected of being a Lendu or an ally of the Lendu militias was rounded up and bound. After several days of terrorizing and abusing the innocent captives (mostly women and children), Commander David Mpigwa and Commander Kisembo reportedly gave the order to kill them.61 Everyone, including the women and children, were forced to dig their own shallow grave at gunpoint. When they were finished digging, they were forced to kneel down in the graves. One-by-one, they were bludgeoned over the head with a sledgehammer in front of the horrified remaining villagers. Afterwards, the Nyali living in town were forced to finish burying the bodies.62

In late December 2002, UPC officials were refused entry into a political meeting in Gbadolite, the headquarters of Jean-Pierre Bemba’s political party, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). It was attended by representatives of the RCD-N and the RCD-ML, all of whom had ties to Uganda, and Ugandan officials were not happy that their proxy forces had been pushed out of the prime gold-rich spots in Ituri by the FPLC. In response, Lubanga immediately flew to Kigali with UPC Foreign Minister (FM) Jean-Baptist Dhetchuvi (a former professor at the National University of Rwanda in Butare), Richard Lonema, Commander Kisembo, and Rafiki Saba Aimable (a Rwandan who was appointed the UPC’s Chief of Security Services). They met personally with General Kabarebe, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and other Rwandan government officials. After the meeting, they returned to Bunia on a cargo plane loaded with arms and ammunition from Rwanda while FM Dhetchuvi stayed behind in Kigali to work out the details of a new agreement with Rwanda for a full partnership now that Ugandan support was out of the picture.63 Rwandan officials, sometimes in coordination with the Sky-Air company, flew in arms, RPA soldiers, and uniforms to Mandro, Fataki, Tchomia, Bule, Bulukwa, Mongbwalu, Boga, and Dhego.64 Lubanga then made the UPC’s intent to separate from Uganda public. He insulted President Museveni by attending a subsequent military meeting in Kampala while wearing an RPA officer’s uniform.65

After the December 2002 signing of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on Transition, which created the template for the DRC Transitional Government, the remaining RPA and UPDF soldiers were supposed to withdraw from the DRC. Uganda continued to supply the Lendu and Ngiti militias while Rwanda diversified their support for the UPC/FPLC and made it more covert. They decided to funnel military aid to the UPC/FPLC through the RCD-G/ANC. In January 2003, FM Dhetchuvi forged an official alliance with the RCD-G/ANC and they began airlifting troops and arms to UPC-controlled territory.66

After they made the agreement with the RCD-G/ANC, the UPC asked Uganda to withdraw the UPDF from Ituri immediately.67 Their request was issued shortly after a new series of arms and ammunition shipments from Tirana, Albania, finished arriving in Kigali.68 Additionally, RPA troops were reported in Fataki and Mongbwalu during January and February 2003, demonstrating that Rwandan officials had no real intention of honoring the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on Transition.69

Uganda was well aware of the Rwandan support for the UPC/FPLC. UPDF officials realized the UPC/FPLC needed to be neutralized quickly before they became any stronger militarily. In March 2003, UPDF soldiers and the Lendu/Ngiti militias launched a massive offensive and took back Kilo, Mongbwalu, and Bunia. Lubanga and several of his high-ranking FPLC officers, including General Taganda, were hastily evacuated from Ituri and flown to Rwanda. After regrouping, Lubanga and his top officers were flown back from Kigali to Dhego with a fresh supply of arms.70 With the new weapons, the FPLC was able to retake Bunia in May of 2003 and ethnic violence across exploded Ituri again as all sides committed large-scale human rights abuses and war crimes.

MONUC had only 700 Uruguayan soldiers present in Bunia during the siege. They were woefully understaffed and weakly mandated.71 The soldiers were unable to defend both the Congolese civilians and all the U.N. workers in town. As the FPLC took the city, MONUC dug in near the airport and at their central compound as internally displaced Congolese desperately flocked into the walled compound for protection. Outside the walls, hundreds were being massacred and Congolese aid workers were targeted. As the number of deaths in and around Bunia mounted, the international community could not ignore the situation any longer. A quick reaction force comprised of French soldiers was dispatched to Bunia by the European Union (E.U.) to reinforce MONUC and secure the town from the FPLC and the Gregere militias. On 1 September 2003, MONUC assumed control of the town from the French soldiers and they quickly deployed additional soldiers and military observers.72 The FPLC was forced to withdraw to the villages surrounding Bunia and they continued to battle the Lendu militias. Without control of Bunia or any of the major gold-rich areas, the UPC lost most of its influence and funding. As a result, Rwanda slowly began to withdraw their support for the UPC/FPLC.

After the French pulled out, Lubanga decided to consolidate his influence and attempt to regain control of some of the gold-rich areas. The UPC/FPLC split into two groups, the UPC-K (Union of Congolese Patriots-Kisembo) led by Floribert Kisembo (the FPLC Chief of Staff) and the UPC-L (Union of Congolese Patriots-Lubanga) led by Thomas Lubanga. Bosco Taganda joined Lubanga as his Chief of Staff and deputy commander. The UPC-L was much stronger militarily than UPC-K. As a result, UPC-K was essentially reduced to a political party while the UPC-L fought on in Ituri.

However, with a lack of regional support, the UPC-L was never able to capture any of the major gold-rich areas. Meanwhile the Lendu and Ngiti militias, with continued Ugandan backing, grew in both size and strength. They were able to expand the areas they controlled. In January 2004, the Congolese Government offered General Taganda a position in the new Congolese state army (FARDC) as a general, but he declined and stayed in the bush.73

In September 2004, the UPC-L rekindled their alliance with the FAPC. Both militias were combating the growing strength and influence of the Lendu militias, particularly the Front for National Integration (FNI), who was supported by the RCD-ML/APC. The UPC-L agreed to carry out joint operations against the FNI to push them out of the gold mines in Djalasiga. In exchange, the UPC-L would be allowed to exploit part of the concession.74 However, the FNI quickly repelled the FAPC/UPC-L forces out of Djalasiga by early October 2004.

The UPC-L was responsible for the death of 9 Bangladeshi MONUC soldiers in Kafe Camp on 5 Februrary 2005.75 This attack caused U.N. and Congolese officials to take a more proactive role in disarming the UPC-L. Lubanga was arrested by Congolese police (PNC) in March of 2005 and General Taganda took over his command. Following an ultimatum from MONUC to disarm or face a full-scale military offensive, a number of the UPC-L soldiers surrendered and demobilized through the U.N. (DDRRR)76 or Congolese Government (CONADER)77 disarmament programs. There were few remaining prospects to recruit additional soldiers to replenish their ranks. As a result, the UPC-L was considerably weakened militarily.

On 14 April 2005, the UPC-L and UPC-K officially announced an end to their armed insurrection.78 Additional UPC-L soldiers were demobilized or reintegrated into the FARDC, but some recalcitrant militants stayed in the bush with General Taganda. He relocated to the North Kivu Province and currently serves as ex-RPA soldier Laurent Nkunda (batware)’s Chief of Staff in his politico-military movement, the National Congress for the People’s Defense (CNDP).79 Sources in the DRC report that former FPLC fighters recruited by General Taganda on General Nkunda’s behalf are currently fighting in Beni and Lubero territories of the North Kivu Province against the pro-DRC Government Mai-Mai militias, Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FOCA), and the Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Fighters (PARECO), all of whom are fighting against General Nkunda and the RPA.80

David Barouski is an independent researcher and a Political Science student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He authored the electronic book "Laurent Nkundabatware, his Rwandan Allies, and the ex-ANC Rebellion: Chronic Barriers to Lasting Peace in the Congo." This book was a featured document at an academic panel discussion held in Germany on 17 December 2007, as part of the 2007-2008 African Discussion Forum at the University of Bayreuth’s Institute for African Studies (http://www.uni-bayreuth.de/de/Uni_Bayreuth/Zentrale_Wissenschaftliche_Einrichtungen/Institut_fuer_Afrika-Studien/de/news/i_africa_discussion_forum/07-08_ws/index.html). It was also referenced by the Congolese Diaspora human rights group FOCAS for a document they drafted and handed over to the Belgian Ambassador to South Africa in early December 2007. (http://www.africatime.com/rdc/nouvelle.asp?no_nouvelle=365456&no_categorie=1 http://www.congotribune.com/politique/article.php?article=2064).

His interview with Mr. Jean-Christophe Nizeyimana was a featured document at an academic discussion in Berlin on 16 September 2007 (http://www.zwoelf-apostel-berlin.de/download/broschuere_ruanda.pdf). He was consulted for part of the December 2007 report, "Connecting Components, Dividing Communities," written by Finnwatch, a Finland-based, E.U.-sponsored human rights group affiliated with the NGO Make IT Fair. His articles have appeared in the "Congo Vision," "Somaliland Times," "The Southern Times," "Just Commentary," "Warsan Times," "Golis News," "Global Policy Forum," "The New Nation," and "ZMagazine/ZNet." He travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda in 2006.

 

1 Note: Minembwe Territory is comprised of Itombwe and Buzi (a groupment run by a local traditional chief) plateaus and includes parts of Fizi and Shabunda territories. It was originally an administrative division created by the RCD’s (please see footnote #5) parallel government administration in order to gain political influence. If Minembwe is recognized by the Congolese Government as a provincial territory, it is guaranteed representation in the National Assembly. Since the area has such a high population of Tutsi Banyamulenge, official recognition would essentially guarantee pro-RCD representation in the National Assembly. The current president of the RCD, Azarias Ruberwa, was born and raised in Minembwe Territory.

2 Note: General Kazini is one of the original members of President Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM)/National Resistance Army (NRA) and is a relative of President Museveni’s wife, First Lady Janet Museveni. (Clark, John [Editor]. "The African Stakes of the Congo War." New York, New York: Palgrave MacMillan. October 2004. pg. 212.) In the early 1990s, during the North-South Sudanese war, General Kazini helped set up Ugandan arms shipments to John Garang de Mabior’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). (Private Correspondance with a Ugandan national. 2006.)

3 Note: Gregere are Hema from northern Ituri (please see footnote #13).

4 "Break the Silence!" Justice-Plus. Press Release. September 2002.

Note: She was replaced by (then) RCD-K (please see footnote #5) leader Wamba Dia Wamba in December 1999 after the Haute-Uele District rebelled against her. ("Uganda in Eastern DRC: Fueling Political and Ethnic Strife." Human Rights Watch. March 2001. Volume 13, Number 2 [A]; "Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 52 Covering the Period 25 – 30 December 1999," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN News. 30 December 1999.) She was replaced by Ernest Uringi Padolo, an Alur. In 2001, UPDF defector Colonel Edison Muzoora replaced Governor Padolo with Joseph Eneku, who hailed from Aru. ("Uganda in Eastern DRC: Fueling Political and Ethnic Strife." Human Rights Watch. March 2001. Volume 13, Number 2 [A].) In February 2002, Captain Jean-Pierre Mulondo Lonpondo from Kasai was appointed governor of Ituri by (then) RCD-ML President Mbusa Nyamwisi. ("Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 5.) Mr. Eneku was killed in an ambush near Mahagi on 22 November 2002. ("DR Congo: Chronology 2002," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN News. 17 January 2003.)

5 Note: The RCD was originally created with the help of the Rwandan Government and it consisted of former Zairian President Joseph Mobutu’s allies (a.k.a. Mobutists), defectors from the late Congolese President Laurent Kabila’s government, enemies of (then) President Laurent Kabila, and allies of Rwanda. In 1999, RCD President Ernest Wamba Dia Wamba split with the RCD and formed the RCD-K (Kisangani). The RCD-K was renamed as the RCD-ML (Liberation Movement) after Wamba dia Wamba was ousted as its leader and Mbusa Nyamwisi, a Nande, took power with Ugandan backing. A separate faction of the RCD set up headquarters in Goma and became known as the RCD-G. The RCD-G stayed loyal to Rwanda and continued to receive political and military support from them. The RCD-G was largely comprised of Hutu and Tutsi living in the DRC.

6 "Undermining Peace: Tin-the Explosive Trade in Cassiterite in Eastern DRC." Global Witness. 30 June 2005. pg. 17.

Note: Governor Serufuli is a Hutu from Rutshuru Territory.

7 For details, please see: United Nations Security Council. "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources an Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," S/2001/357. 12 April 2001; United Nations Security Council. "Addendum to the Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources an Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," S/2001/1072. 13 November 2001; United Nations Security Council. "Final Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2002/1146. 16 October 2002.

8 Note: Uranium was recently discovered in the gold-rich areas around Bafwasende in Maiko National Park. As of 30 October 2007, the Australian mining company Lindian Resources Limited holds the license to extract gold and diamonds in Bafwasende. ("Acquisition of Bafwasende Gold/Diamond Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo." News Release. Axino AG. 30 October 2007.) Lindian Director Gregory Smith is also on the Board of Directors for Moto Goldmines, who currently owns gold mining concessions on OKIMO’s lucrative Concession #38 in Ituri. However, Moto Goldmines’ contract is currently under scrutiny by the Congolese Ministry of Mines’ mining contract review initiative. (For additional information on some of the industrial mining firms in Ituri, please see: "Mining in the Ituri Province of the Congo: A Contemporary Profile," David Barouski. ZNet. 14 May 2007. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12828.)

9 Note: The ANC was the armed wing of the RCD and the RCD-G after the RCD split into separate factions (please see footnote # 5).

10 United Nations Security Council. "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2001/357. 12 April 2001. pg. 37; United Nations Security Council. "Addendum to the Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2001/1072. 13 November 2001. pg. 20.

 

Note: The RCD-N was also a splinter group of the RCD-ML (please see footnote #5).

11 United Nations Security Council. "Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Security Council on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2003/216. 13 February 2003. pg. 5.

12 "Ugandan Army Chief ‘Lied’ Over Congo," BBC News. 21 May 2002.

Note: General Kazini played a large role in Uganda’s diamond smuggling operations in Kisangani until the RPA forced the UPDF out of town following 3 bloody battles that claimed numerous civilian lives in 2000-2002. In January 1999, General Kazini worked with Movement for the Liberation of Congo’s (MLC) President Jean-Pierre Bemba to illegally confiscate tons of coffee beans during the 2nd Congo War. He also stole timber from Amex-bois in Bangaboka and La Forestière. (United Nations Security Council. "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2001/357. 12 April 2001. pg. 8, 12-13.) General Kazini was never tried for illegal mineral plundering or violations of the U.N. arms embargo on the Congo.

13 Note: The Lendu are the majority relative to the population of Hema in Ituri. Hema are sometimes further divided into Hema from the north (called Gegere) and Hema from the south, referred to simply as "Hema." Likewise, Lendu are often sub-divided into Lendu from the north, called "Lendu," and Lendu from the south, called Ngiti. The northern Hema are linguistically related to the Lendu, while the southern Hema speak a Bantu language that is not related to the Lendu languages.

In general, Hema are pastoralists while the Lendu are agriculturalists. Though the two have experienced intermittent tensions over the years, they have always been able to live together relatively peacefully and intermarriage between them was practiced regularly. It was not until the Belgian colonialists arrived that tensions really began to boil over. Tensions were particularly high after 1973, when Belgians who had leased land from the Lendu during the colonial period returned the concessions to the Hema provincial administrations. ("Illegal Land Claims Helped Fuel Clashes in DR of Congo – UN Report," United Nations News Center. 10 August 2004.) After the UPDF arrived in 1998, armed and trained both the Hema/Gregere and the Lendu/Ngiti militias, and then pitted them against each other, ethnic tensions were exacerbated into a full-scale ethnic war that some might argue constituted genocide.

14 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 53.

15 Note: Please see footnote #5.

16 Note: Chief Mandro split from the UPC in February 2003 to form the Party for Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo (PUSIC). He was politically opposed to a Gregere (Lubanga) being the UPC president because he perceived it to be a Hema-based movement. PUSIC became an almost exclusively Hema movement and its political base rested with those who recognized Chief Mandro’s traditional authority. However, PUSIC was much weaker militarily than the FPLC, so PUSIC aligned with the UPDF. Today, Chief Mandro is the target of financial sanctions from the United Kingdom (U.K.), the European Union (E.U.), the U.N. Security Council, and the United States (U.S.).

17 Note: Bishop Dhejju was introduced to Rwandan officials by the Bishop of Goma, Faustin Ngabu. After finalizing the deal, Bishop Dhejju transferred money to Rwanda in exchange for training and arms. He also opened bank accounts in Rwanda on behalf of Hema community leaders. He was ordered by the Vatican to resign in 2002 and he moved to Kigali shortly afterwards. (United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 11.)

18 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 11, 13; Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 11.

19 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 11; United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 13.

Note: In 2002, Rwanda signed an agreement with the South African Government to purchase "non-sensitive" military equipment. In 2003, South African and Balkan weapons were found in FPLC caches and in 2004, a South African R4 rifle that was registered in an arms shipment to Rwanda was discovered in an ANC weapon cache. Documents revealed that the RPA passed R4 ammo from their military bases in Ntendezi and Bugarama to the ANC forces stationed in Bukavu (South Kivu) between December 2002 and August 2003. ("Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 27-28. 57.)

20 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 13.

21 Ibid.

22 Note: The Pretoria Accords, signed by President Kagame and President Kabila in 2002, was an agreement that President Kagame would withdraw his RPA soldiers from the DRC and President Kabila would disarm the Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FOCA) so they could no longer pose a threat to Rwanda. FOCA is the armed wing of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Neither party honored the Accords.

23 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 11.

24 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 13.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 "United Nations Conference on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court." United Nations Department of Public Information: Website Development-Information Technology Section. Accessed 31 December 2007. http://www.un.org/icc/index.htm.

28 "Militia ‘Snatched Children’ for Training," Mike Corder. The Independent Online. 15 November 2006. http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=qw1163599380401B236.

29 Note: Ngiti are Lendu from southern Ituri (see footnote #13).

30 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 21.

31 Note: General Taganda was the UPC’s Chief of Operations and the FPLC’s Assistant Minister of Defense.

32 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 18.

33 Ibid.

34 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 19-21.

35 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 24.

36 Note: Mongbwalu is located on OKIMO Concession #40. The concession is currently being explored by AngloGold-Ashanti.

37 "UPC Crimes in Ituri: 2002-2003," Human Rights Watch. Press Release. 8 November 2006.

38 "Congo: War is International, Not Local," Human Rights Watch. Press Release. 8 July 2003.

39 Note: Jean-Pierre Bemba is President of the MLC party and the commander of its armed wing, the ALC. He is married to a Brazilian national and has 6 children. He is extremely wealthy and owns several private planes, radio and television stations (including Canal Z). He spent part of his life in Belgium, where he earned a Masters degree in business, but he is originally from the Equateur Province in DRC and his political stronghold is in Gabadolite, where Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko owned a villa. His father, Jeannot Bemba Saolona, was President Mobutu’s Economy Minister and the late President Kabila’s Minister of Economy and Finance.

In 2002, Bemba sent ALC soldiers to the Central African Republic to prevent a coup attempt against (then) President Ange-Félix Patassé because Bemba was shipping ‘blood diamonds’ through Bangui. ("CAR’s Foreign Troops Raise Questions," BBC News. 12 December 2002; "The Use of Regional Diamond Trading Platforms to Access Conflict Zones," Christian Dietrich. African Security Review. Volume 13, Issue 1. January 2004. pg. 55.) He has a one-year prison sentence to serve in Belgium for human trafficking. ("Congo Contender: Jean-Pierre Bemba," BBC News. 26 October 2006.) He is a Senator in the Congolese Senate, but he is exile in Portugal.

40 Note: The ALC is the armed wing of Senator Bemba’s political movement, the MLC.

41 United Nations Security Council. "Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Security Council on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2003/216. 13 February 2003. pg. 5.

42 Note: In 2004, the FAPC reestablished ties with Uganda from their new headquarters in Aru and Ariwara in order to mutually exploit the Congo-Uganda border transit posts for smuggling gold and timber. The FAPC also received assistance from SPLA soldiers who infiltrated into the DRC during 2004. SPLA soldiers are deployed near Garamba National Park on the Congo-Sudan border and in the woods along the road leading to Ariwara and Aba. In 2004, SPLA Commander Hassan Daud arranged for arms transfers and joint military patrols with the FAPC. (United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 15 July 2004 From the Chairman of the Security Council Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004) Concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/551. 15 July 2004. pg. 30.) Most of the FAPC disarmed and demobilized after 2004, but some escaped to Uganda in early 2005 and their whereabouts are currently unknown.

43 Note: This is a singular term referring to a Kinyarwandan-speaker who is culturally Rwandan but lives outside of Rwanda.

44 Note: In October 2004, he illegally detained 24 people and 6 of them died from beatings by soldiers under his command. ("The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 81-89.) He is currently the subject of sanctions from the E.U., Belgium, the U.K., and the U.N. Security Council.

45 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 89.

46 "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 28-29.

Note: The first shipments from MEICO (the privately-owned but state-controlled military import-export company of Albania) arrived in October and November of 2002. The remaining flights occurred from April to June 2003. One of these later flights included explosives from Belgrade, Serbia. (Ibid. pg. 28-29, 31.)

47 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 25.

48 Ibid. pg. 25-26.

49 Ibid. pg, 26.

50 Ibid.

51 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 26.

52 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 25; United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 31.

53 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 26-28.

54 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 36.

55 "Ituri:’Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11. July 2003. pg. 25.

56 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 32.

57 "Shifting Sands: Oil Exploration in the Rift Valley and the Congo Conflict." Dominic Johnson. Pole Institute. 13 March 2003. pg. 20.

58 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 24.

59 Ibid. pg. 33.

60 Ibid. pg. 25; "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 65.

61 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 29.

62 Ibid. pg. 24; "UPC Crimes in Ituri: 2002-2003," Human Rights Watch. Press Release. 8 November 2006.

63 "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 65-66; "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 12.

64 "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 65; United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 13.

65 "Shifting Sands: Oil Exploration in the Rift Valley and the Congo Conflict." Dominic Johnson. Pole Institute. 13 March 2003. pg. 23.

66 "Ituri: ‘Covered in Blood’." Human Rights Watch. Volume 15, Number 11 (A). July 2003. pg. 12; United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 24.

67 United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 24.

68 "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Arming the East." Amnesty International. AFR 62/006/2005. 5 July 2005. pg. 64.

69 Ibid. pg. 65.

70.United Nations Security Council. "Letter Dated 16 July 2004 From the Secretary-General Addressed to the President of the Security Council." S/2004/573. 16 July 2004. pg. 13-14.

71 "Congo Aid Workers Terrorised (sic!) by Rampaging Militias," Declan Walsh. The Independent. 3 June 2003.

72 "Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." General Kees Homan. Netherlands Institute for International Relations: ‘Clingendael.’ May 2007. Chapter 12. pg. 2.

73 "DR Congo: Army Should Not Appoint War Criminals," Human Rights Watch. Press Release. 14 January 2005.

74 "The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of the Congo." Human Rights Watch. 26 April 2005. pg. 91.

75 "United Nations Security Council. "Seventeenth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." S/2005/167. 15 March 2005. pg. 4-5.

76 Note: Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement.

77 Note: National Commission of Demobilization and Reintegration.

78 "Key Ituri Militia Group Declares End to War," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN News. 14 April 2005.

79 Note: General Taganda is currently the target of sanctions from the E.U., U.N. Security Council, Germany, the U.K., and Belgium.

80 Private Correspondence with a Congolese source. October 2007.

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