Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DR Congo: The Africa Brigade teething troubles.

Mutaani reports ( Translated from french by Google and cleaned up a bit by me )

DRC: Brigade must act or leave

Civil society in North Kivu gives an ultimatum of one week to the Brigade for UN intervention to attack armed groups in eastern DRC. Otherwise, the Brigade must choose: to act or leave.

Everything stems from a 48-hour ultimatum that the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of the DR Congo, MONUSCO, has given to holders of arms in the area around Goma and Sake. The ultimatum expired Thursday, August 1, 2013, at 14h GMT.

That same evening, many Congolese expected to see offensive operations against negative forces. The next day, after no concrete action was taken. Tensions increased in the population!

The ultimatum was probably an unwise initial move by the Africa Brigade. Building expectation and then failing to deliver is not a good strategy. 

The climate was favorable for the young members of the local self-defense groups, better known as "Mai-Mai" to stage a demonstration. Dressed in civilian clothes, they easily blend into the population. They have come to rise up against the Brigade, on the morning of Friday, August 2.

The Mai Mai are a bloody pain in the arse. 

Gunmen launched the attack early on Wednesday at an army recruitment center near the North Kivu provincial town before being repelled after more than two hours of fighting, Colonel Olivier Hamuli told Reuters.
"The provisional death toll is 23 Mai Mai, 5 recruits and 3 FARDC soldiers, including a senior officer," Hamuli said. Mai Mai is the generic name given to a multitude of local armed groups that roam eastern Congo.

The roundabout at Birere, one of the hectic crossroads of Goma the drama begins. People attack  the vehicles of the South African contingent of the Africa Brigade  MONUSCO. It does not stop there! A few minutes later, youth stone the vehicles, asking them to get to the front and out of town.

The question that seems to have been missed is who is behind this demonstration ? The conventional wisdom seems to be that it is a spontaneous reaction by the local community but I don't buy that, it is just to glib.

The South African contingent fires bullets into the air to try to disperse the protesters, but in vain. The police and FARDC soldiers manage to disperse the crowd. To achieve this, the vehicles of MONUSCO had to retreat. But the rage of the demonstrators continues.

This just stinks of a set up to discredit the Africa Brigade.

"We have been massacred in the interior of the province! These people were just spectators they are not intervening, reports an upset demonstrator. Instead of helping us end the M23, they ask us to disarm. Who will protect our families? "

I think one week into their deployment it is a little early to make that judgement. 

Another member of the same movement of Mai to Mai who requested anonymity questions the logic of disarming. "We are not fighting government forces nor the Brigade for UN intervention, he said: Why do we disarm? If all M23 rebels lay down their arms to MONUSCO, then we will do so voluntarily. "

So if your not fighting the Africa Brigade or FARDC why do you have weapons ? Mai Mai should be treated as an armed group and if they have weapons they should surrender them or be considered a legitimate target. These guys are are a large part of the problem. 

The civil population in North Kivu is on the same wave length as the people of Goma. Vice-president and spokesman, Master Omar Kavota does not mince words: "The Brigade Intervention ( Africa Brigade ) seems to be asleep standing up. The Brigade continues to waste time and forget that it has a one-year term! "

It invites the Brigade to begin his hunt for active negative forces in eastern Congo. He lists all armed groups who are rebelling Movement March 23,(M23 ) Allied Democratic Forces, ( ADF / NALU) Uganda and Al Shabaab of Somalia and their partners, etc..

I agree but it would be sensible to secure your rear and your supply lines before engaging the armed rebels. Time spent in preparation is not wasted time. That is why soldiers in professional armies train. 

As from Friday, August 2, the people of North Kivu have given an ultimatum of one week to the Brigade for UN intervention to go into action. If necessary  his spokesman threatens to go to the other extreme. Master Omar Kavota: "We call the people to dissociate themselves from this Brigade and conduct large-scale action to push them to act or leave. "

The people of North Kivu ? Who ever this crazy prick is he may well come to regret those words. If they leave then it is back to the status quo if they stay and succeed then he looks like a total dickhead. 

Contacted about this, MONUSCO said they had received no official document of the protesters informing them of ultimatum. The military spokesman, Colonel Felix Prosper Bassa Mutaani  reminded them of the invitation of the Congolese government, and not that of protesters. He still enjoys working with the forces of the DR Congo to alert the international community about the various violations of human rights in North Kivu.

It is not an auspicious start for the Africa Brigade but anyone who expected this to be sorted out in 48 hours is batshit crazy. 

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