Friday, March 1, 2013

DR Congo: M23 wheels starting to fall off.

The BBC reports

DR Congo: Bunagana residents flee M23 clashes to Uganda

                                      The M23 deserted from the army last April and have taken control of key towns
More than 4,000 people have fled at night from a border town into Uganda after rival rebel factions fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The violence followed the sacking of the political leader of the M23 rebel group, Jean-Marie Runiga, on Thursday.
This could well signal the beginning of the end of M23. Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa reported on the beginnings of the internal conflict a few days ago.
The killing of M23 Major Anicet Musana on Sunday in Rutshuru sent shock waves through the region, coming on the same day as the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement. What exactly happened, however, is shrouded in mystery.

What do we know? Musana was drinking in a local bar in Rutshuru town when he became victim of a targeted attack––reports from the UN and M23 say that he was hit with an RPG, killing him instantly.....
However, it is increasingly likely that the assassination was carried out by Musana's M23 colleagues. First of all, it was an assassination––it doesn't appear that the FDLR pillaged or took anything of great importance, and in the past they have been more interested in sneaking through M23 lines into Rwanda than picking a fight. Testimonies by M23 soldiers, MONUSCO officials, and ex-CNDP officers in the Congolese army also bear this out.

Mr Runiga is allied to Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel commander wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.
Some 800,000 people have been displaced since the M23 rebellion began in 2012.
On Sunday, regional African leaders signed a UN-brokered accord to end the conflict.
The UN refugee agency in Uganda told the BBC about 4,500 people crossed the border overnight."It started at around midnight and we can still hear the bullets and bombs," Damien Batimaha, a local community leader in the border town of Bunagana, told Reuters news agency."Most of the town has fled. I'm at home but my family has already left," he said.Bunagana township is not the first and will not be the last township to pay the price for the ongoing criminal activities of M23. Any doubts about the veneer of political legitimacy ascribed to M23 can now be laid to rest. The town is under the control of fighters loyal to the M23's main leader, Brig Gen Sultani Makenga.
Rebel spokesman Col Vianney Kazarama told the BBC's Great Lakes Service that the M23 fighters were ambushed as they made their way to Rumangabo, a military base about 50km (31 miles) north of Goma.
They were attacked by men loyal to Gen Ntaganda using heavy weaponry. There were many casualties on both sides, the spokesman said.
The second attack came at midnight on the the M23 headquarters near Bunagana.
Col Kazarama said he believed the attack was prompted by the peace accord signed in Addis Ababa, which mentioned arrest warrants - and Gen Ntaganda fears he will be handed over to The Hague.
This was of course always a problem in the peace process. If at some point people are to be held to account for their conduct ( and they control armed soldiers ) then one could argue that the peace process is about reaching a pre-determined result. Bunagana is also pre-determined collateral damage.   
The M23 - mostly made up of fighters from the Tutsi minority group who deserted from the army - launched a rebellion against the DR Congo government 11 months ago, briefly seizing Goma, the main city in the east, in November.
The rebellion was founded by Gen Ntaganda, who was an officer in the Rwandan army before he left to join a rebel movement in DR Congo.
In a statement signed by Gen Makenga on Thursday, Mr Runiga was accused of treason because of "financial embezzlement, divisions, ethnic hatred, deceit and political immaturity".
Yes but lets face it " financial embezzlement, divisions, ethnic hatred, deceit and political immaturity " are a fact of life in the Congo.
Rwanda and Uganda have denied UN allegations that they are backing the group.
Jason Stearns concludes.
Rumors are swirling, and some sources seem particularly eager to get their version of the story across, which should give us some pause. In the meantime, Makenga has withdrawn to Tshanzu, close to the border with Uganda and Rwanda, and Bosco is said to be around Runyoni, not far away from Tshanzu––another bizarre development––with competing banter about a manhunt for one or the other in which the Rwandans may or not be playing a role.

Clear as Masisi mud.

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