Update on ZNet Commentary of 2008-01-19

At the end of the commentary, I mentioned that ex-FPLC Gregere fighters recruited by General Nkunda’s Chief of Staff, Bosco Taganda are fighting against Mai-Mai and Hutu militias on behalf of the CNDP.  I recieved another update from a Congolese source in the area.  General Frank Kakolele Bwambale, the CNDP’s Chief of Operations in Lubero Territory, Deputy Commander of CNDP armed forces, and current CNDP Spokesman, has helped aid a CNDP recruiting drive in Beni Territory.  Sources say Gen. Kakolele brought 20 ‘recuiters’ with him to Beni Territory and their combined efforts have yielded 300 people between the age of 15 and 30 (to avoid charges of recruiting children) from Mavivi, Mbau, Kokola, Maimoya, Mukoko, Oichia, Maliki, and Eringeti.  The recruits are given $50 USD and a rifle.  Some who joined are demobilized soldiers, still unemployed with nothing to provide their families with.  The offer of 50 USD will provided a way to feed their families and the recruiters prey on this desperation.  The Beni police and FARDC soldiers deployed in the area are reportedly ‘looking the other way.’

General Kakolele, a former APC commander, has infiltrated Beni and Lubero territories in the North Kivu Province not only to recruit, but to carry out counter-insurgency propaganda operations by sensitizing the youth and demobilzed soldiers in the predominantly Nande community of Beni and Lubero territories to avoid joining the Mai-Mai militias in the area, particularly Jackson’s Mai-Mai militia, which is almost entirely Nande and fights alongside several other militias against the CNDP and RDF forces in North Kivu.  General Kakolele is aided in his effort by former RCD-ML Vice-Governor and Provincal Coordinator in North Kivu, Victor Ngeve Kambasu, who is currently the head and spokesman of the CNDP delegation to the peace conference being held in Goma.

These two men also act as General Nkunda’s an interface to the Congolese Government via RCD-ML (Forces for Renewal) President and Congolese Foreign Minister Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, a Nande, who wants to avoid antagonizing Rwanda.  Being former allies with Nyamwisi, they feel they can talk to him with better results than trying to talk directly to President Kabila.

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