Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Goma going ons and more from Charly Kasereka

Softkens Television reports

The latest news:

From our special envoy, Charly Kasereka 

                                                                                         Charly Kasereka

Charly is a great reporter working in a very difficult climate. He is a guy who anyone interested in goings on in the Eastern DR Congo and particularly Goma must read. I have used Goggle to translate and have attempted to clean up the copy. Any errors are mine.

20/08/2013 [7:44:22 AM] GOMA: The Arrest of six youths from the movement Fighting for Change (LUCHA) who were holding a sit-in in front of the offices of the provincial government. There were about a hundred young people who were demanding the release of MP Nzangi Butondo sentenced to three years by the Supreme Court of Justice in Kinshasa. The police arrived and violently dispersed the protesters. I myself was beaten but they released me after a few minutes.

You can rely on the DR Congo's security organisations to stuff up. It doesn't sound to me like the kids were doing anything wrong, and the right to protest is fundamental in a democracy. Beating up a reporter, especially one as respected and relied upon as Charley, is really stupid. 

19/0/2013 [11:47:42 AM] Bukavu: Captured 55 members of the armed group Mai Mai Alleluya Yakutumba last Sunday by FARDC. ( Congolese Army ) They were captured by soldiers of the 1004th Regiment of FARDC. The captured members will kept in the staff quarters of the regiment in Baraka pending their transfer here to Bukavu.

I could be wrong but I thought this was one of the Mai Mai groups that had agreed to integration into FARDC late last year. If so it clearly never happened. These guys are a big part of the problem in the Eastern DR Congo so this is a good outcome.

17/0/2013 [2:49:41 PM] NORTH Kivu
A Kibumba combatants from Mai Mai Nyatura fought from 10:30 with M23 rebels in Virunga National Park between Rugari and Kibumba. One resident of the Kibumba reported that heavy weapons detonations were heard throughout the day and injured some M23 rebels had reaching Kibumba according to our sources in this city.
Nyatura is an ethnic Hutu militia so no surprises that they are having a scrap with M23 who are Tutsi. From my perspective "..a plague on both your houses " to paraphrase the Baird. 

16/08/2013 [4:28:19 AM] Bukavu
A case of mob justice took place around 4:00 am Thursday in the town of Panzi in Bukavu Kadutu. According to our sources on the ground, it was 4 bandits armed with hand guns who tried to rob a house on the hill overlooking the Rusizi River. The locals were alerted chased them.

One of them was caught hiding in a house building site, he was then beaten to death. His body was thrown into the Rusizi River. The police have opened an investigation.

Mob justice is a fact of life when you have a corrupt and useless police force.

16/08/2013 [4:45:46 AM] Uvira
Nearly 70 young "Quakers" from Rwanda, Burundi, the United States of America and the DRC closed yesterday a conference on peace and justice in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. For three days, these young people from the three African countries were urged to overcome their ethnic, tribal and nationalist divisions and view their conflicts in a broader context in order to reduce the level of conflict in the region.

This conference is the third after the ones held in Kigali and Bujumbura with the same participants. The Objective was to explore issues of peace and justice in their historical, cultural and geographical context in each of these African nations. 

Young people raised the lack of supervision, education, idleness and unemployment as the main causes of their recruitment into armed groups. The conference was organized KIYAYA area, Uvira, by the community of evangelical churches "Quakers" in Congo, CEEACO, with the support of the George Fox University in the USA.

I guess anything that breaks down barriers is to be applauded. Why can I hear Alex laughing his arse of ? 

14/08/2013 [4:54:58 AM] Bukavu
Tuesday August 13 2013, Fighting was reported on Monday night through to Tuesday between FARDC and militia operating in South Kivu.

FARDC report that they had been fighting from 5:00 local time (0300 GMT) with the Mai Mai Yakutumba in Fizi territory, located in the south of the province. ( According to the general Pacific Masunzu, commander of the 10th military region of South Kivu ).

Mai Mai attacked early in the morning the soldiers of FARDC in the open before being defeated around 11:00 and moved to the local jail by the regular army. The goal of this attack was obviously the release of some of them in prison According to General Masunzu.

The Yakutumba Mai Mai group are allied with the rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL), from Burundi, the DRC neighbor. He also said that "some" Burundian rebels are "among the eight captured".

Sounds like Yakutumba Mai Mai are having a bad week. Good.
14/08/2013 [3:32:34 AM] DRC
Colonel Bisamaza Eringeti based in the province of North Kivu, about 60 km northeast of Beni has 
Defection from FARDC. He was called to Kinshasa by the military hierarchy, but he fled "into the forests of Beni" said Lt. Col. Hamuli spokesman FARDC 8th Military Region in North Kivu. He left with thirty men and a large quantity of ammunition on the night of Monday 12 / Tuesday, 13 August. According to several experts in the region, Colonel Bisamaza will seek to join the rebel group M23 in Rutshuru.

I am guessing that he was not overly thrilled with his prospects in the ongoing reorganisation of FARDC. I suspect however they might have been better than his potential future with M23 which I think has no future.  

14/08/2013 [2:48:17 AM] DRC
A deputy ( MP ) arrested in GOMA, was sentenced to 3 years penal servitude in Kinshasa. He had spent his recess in his electoral base the city of Goma. Mr. Muhindo Nzangi Butondo was interviewed in a radio programme broadcast where he touched on the sensitive issue of national security. According to the National Security the deputy of Goma, elected in North Kivu, was arrested for endangering the internal security of the State and transferred the same day, Sunday August 11 to Kinshasa leaving all his property in the hotel where he was staying.

The Supreme Court has sat on Monday 12 August to consider offenses the accused had allegedly committed.The accused felt he had not had enough time to prepare his defense. The hearing resumed on Tuesday evening and the verdict was guilty.

His comments were considered offensive said his lawyers is an interview. According to them the comments are the same as the Minister of Information has always given the media, as well as several other prominent Congolese. His lawyers believe that this arrest is inappropriate given his situation of trying to communicate with his electoral base in GOMA.Also being the only MP who tried to speak on behalf of the people of Kivu. His political party, the MSR is already talking of his comments being  misinterpreted.

As we saw in the report of 20 August above there is a lot of support for the MP amongst the youth in the Goma region. Chantal Faida Mulenga-byuma is a young blogger from Goma who is clearly furious about it. ( In French I will try and get around to translating it this week, my apologies Chantal for being so slack ). It could well be Kabila has made yet another screw up in his long history of screw ups. 

Anyone with half a brain would think a MP arrested on Sunday and convicted by Tuesday is a gross miscarriage of justice. Unfortunately Kabila doesn't possess half a brain. MP's due to the nature of their job and the fact that they are elected at large by citizen constituents receive more consideration than the general public when it comes to being arrested in serious democracies.  Judging by my interpretation of Google's translation and the reaction on the ground at Goma this is either a monumental stuff up or more probably an attempt by Kabila to shut down well deserved criticism. Crocodiles hate criticism.

08/13/2013 [6:57:27 p.m. PM] Goma
Economic activities have slowed on the morning of Tuesday, August 13 at Goma in North Kivu. In the city center, markets, and about three quarters of shops did not open in accordance with the instructions of P
rovincial Civil Society "dead city" campaign. The private sector mainly been affected.

Transport also stalled, only a few motorcycles and minibuses were seen on the roads of Goma. Some pharmacies, food deposits and utility workers were working normally.

Organizing "dead city days " the president of the civil society in North Kivu said he wanted to pressure the Government, FARDC,  MONUSCO's Intervention Brigade and also Mary Robinson in particular for small scale and slow military operations launched against  M23, the rebel ADF-NALU and other armed groups causing insecurity in North Kivu.

According to civil society, a review of the day and other actions in Beni sector for the same purpose, is scheduled for a meeting on Wednesday, August 14. She is considering other actions to achieve their goal.

This is still early days and at this point I think it is wise of the FARDC, MONUSCO's Intervention Brigade and Mary Robinson to take some time to get it right. Time spent in preparation is not wasted time.

08/13/2013 [18:46:45 PM] Goma
Bandits committed an armed robbery at Quartier Mabanga South Adolphe, a family man succumbed injuries inflicted by the bandits leaving behind a widow. He had a business at Mabanga South Quarter in the place commonly called TMK. This assassination occurred to 10pm on the night of the 12th to 13th August. The merchant was attacked by six armed men in his shop. The reaction was swift on the part of the local community who were clearly furious. It was announced on Tuesday by the urban civil society a "dead city", protest to show anger. Police dispatched to the scene calmed the situation.

It is easy to sympathise with the locals the lawless situation in the Eastern DR Congo is a disgrace. 

08/13/2013 [10:56:28 AM] DRC
Youth Walikale confronted police on the morning of Monday August 12. They accuse the police of being involved in the murder of a young woman shot dead at her home. The protesters attacked the Police headquarters in Walikale Centre. According to information gathered at the scene, a police officer was seriously injured in the confrontation. Calm returned after the military and police authorities of North Kivu province promised to investigate the murder.

A group of young Walikale recovered the body of the young woman at 6am. The victim, a young lady named Furaha had two children and worked in the primary, secondary and professional ? in Walikale. She was shot dead in her home district Nyabangi Monday, August between 12 to 1am.

The  angry 
young people initially took the deceased to the Staff of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) based in Walikale Centre. According to sources on the ground, the young requested the opening of a murder investigation. They suspect members of the local security services to be involved in the murder.

The protesters then went to the police headquarters where they damaged a vehicle with bullets and wounded a policeman. According to the administrator of Walikale territory, the authorities of the army and the police have promised to invest to find the perpetrators of the murder of this woman.

primary, secondary and professional, I can't translate this. I suspect that the security authotrities are reacting in a relatively restrained manner because they believe it is quite possible it was one of their own involved.

08/13/2013 [8:36:52 AM] North Kivu
33 families from the Congolese territory of Nyiragongo who became refugees in Rwanda during clashes between FARDC and the rebel M23. will return in 2 days to 
the DRC . Thit at least is what was announced by Madame Berthe Zinga Ilunga, Permanent Secretary of the National Commission for Refugees, CNR. With some local authorities, she had just completed a fact finding mission on Monday to Mkamira, Rwanda. She was satisfied these Congolese families who refused, to adopt the status of "refugees" in Rwanda.

At a guess they will be ethnic Tutsi who see themselves as Congolese first. Discrimination against Tutsi who deem themselves to be citizens of the Congo is something that the Authorities in the DR Congo must sort out. 

08/13/2013 [8:29:31 AM] Goma
MSF, Doctors Without Borders suspended its medical activities in Pinga, in Walikale territory. The decision was made public in a press release issued on Monday in Goma. Through this statement, the Head of Mission of the organization in Goma justified the decision because of " threats made against its staff in Pinga by armed groups." He added that in this situation, the entire MSF team Pinga was evacuated to Goma. In the same statement, MSF said that "the health and humanitarian situation in the region Pinga is getting worse" because of ethnic tensions and clashes between various armed militias in the area.

What can I say ? 

08/13/2013 7:36 Bunyangula
A confrontation during the morning of  August 13 at 4am between the FDIPC and the rebel M23 in the Bunyangula locality between Rutshuru Centre Kiwanja and more than 70 km north of Goma. It is difficult to establish the balance of these clashes as they are ongoing. 

Forces des Défense des Intérêtsdu Peuple Congolais These clowns seem to have surfaced fairly recently. They are a Hutu youth organisation  whose goal is the removal of M23 from Congolese territory. I despise race / ethnic based anything so don't expect me to sing the praises of these clowns. Fools like this are the reason that Kigame is able to maintain such an iron fist in Rwanda. Leave M23 to the International Brigade if they fail the world will hold them and the UN to account. 

12/08/2013 10:36 DRC
The 33 families of Congolese territory Nyiragongo who  sought refuge in Rwanda during clashes between FARDC and the rebel M23 will return home on Tuesday, August 13, 2013. The announcement was made by  Prof. Berthe Zinga Ilunga Permanent Secretary of the National Commission for Refugees (CNR). It was made this Sunday, August 11, 2013 shortly after she arrived in Kinshasa after the hearing she had with the governor of North Kivu province, Julien Paluku Kahongya in his official residence. The Congolese delegation CNR will go to Rwanda this Monday, August 12, 2013 to identify these families before they return. Something that is quite normal according to international standards.

See above.

09/08/2013 6:02 p.m. Goma
On August 13 Goma will be a " dead town" in memory of all those who have fallen by violence and all victims of the war against the rebel M23. Civil society in North Kivu said this is to increase pressure on the government in Kinshasa to restart military operations on the front line and liberate Congolese citizens in Rutshuru and Kiwanja who are victims of continuous looting and are forced to pay unlawful taxes to the rebels. Once again, a 72 hour ultimatum was given to Joseph Kabila to restart military operations from Tuesday, August 13. This was announced by its general assembly with all other components of civil society on Thursday its provincial office. In announcing further actions after these 72 hours.

This as I said above is a misguided if well intentioned initiative. I understand the impatience but some things just can't be rushed.
Usually I don't insert my opinions on Charly's work but as this is not a blog but a collection of news stories I feel I can do so.

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