Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DR Congo: M23. It is over.

The BBC reports

DR Congo M23 rebels 'all but finished', says UN

                                                            Government forces celebrate the capture of Rumangabo

Martin Kobler said the M23 had abandoned most military positions in the east and was confined to a small triangle close to the Rwandan border.
A fifth rebel-held area in a week fell to government forces on Monday.
On a personal note this was a huge relief, yesterday I saw Charly Kasereka's Facebook post of an article by Radio Okapi ( I have no idea if he authored it or not as it isn't bylined )  having read the translated article I concluded M23 were finished and went looking for something to support my conclusion, there was nothing other than re-reporting of the Radio Okapi report and other Congo watchers were either asleep or biding their time. What the hell to do ?
I blogged it and predicted the military end of M23 had arrived. I have been suggesting that this was inevitable on this blog for some time but making the call was one of the most difficult blogging decisions I have had to make. Later in the evening and again on Facebook Chantal Faida Mulenga-byuma another Gomatrician  like Charly made a status update.
" DRC, the war is over. The victory returns to the Congolese population that has endured all these sufferings. Long was the night, the day eventually get up. PEACE "
The translation by Bing leaves a lot to be desired but Chantal's meaning is obvious. My confidence in my prediction grew accordingly.
The rebels say that their withdrawals are temporary.
" So the important thing in a military operation is victory, not persistence."
Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu wrote that some 2500 years ago and I would suggest it is as relevant today as it was when he wrote. It is something I hope the Rwandan military think about as well. 
Mr Kobler told the UN Security Council by video-link: "It is practically the military end of the M23."
He said the rebels had abandoned a key position on Mount Hehu near the Rwandan border.
About a week back I branded M23 " The Comedians of the Congo " it was largely brought about by the unceasing upbeat press releases that were appearing on what I have been reliably informed is a M23 website, Congo DRC News . In the British WW I comedy Blackadder goes forth they joke about the mindless optimism card, it is almost as though M23 were following that script. Today the website is morbid which is appropriate and the companion Facebook page is if anything worse. It is at this level.
" Axelle was forced to have sex with a dog which she did -"
After the UN meeting, French ambassador Gerard Araud said he hoped there would now be talks between the rebels and the government.
He said: "Mr Kobler has briefed us and basically he told us that we are witnessing the military end of the M23.
"So I think it's a positive development of course and there was a general agreement that now we should go back to the table of negotiation in Kampala."
Actually no. There is nothing to negotiate other than the formal surrender. The Government of DR Congo must above all keep faith with their citizens in the eastern DR Congo, they have borne the brunt of the depredations inflicted by M23. They have a right to justice, it would however be better if that justice was delivered by the international community at the Hague.   
Peace talks between the government and M23, hosted by neighbouring Uganda, broke down last week.
There had previously been about two months of relative calm in eastern DR Congo.
There are many other armed groups and it would be better that the M23 situation is dealt with fast, hence my preference for the ICC. FARDC and the Intervention Brigade and for that matter the government need to focus on the future and making that future a prosperous one with economic development and security, the other armed groups be they FDLR, ADF or Mai Mai need neutralising.  
'Retreating rebels'
Cheering crowds reportedly welcomed government troops on Monday as they entered Rumangabo town, where the latest M23 base to fall was located.
The government is re-establishing its rule there, said North Kivu province governor Julien Palukui.
"We have just held two meetings in order to discuss how to uplift the population... and we are announcing the restoration of the civil service within the next 24 hours,'' he added.
Rumangabo - about 50km (30 miles) north of Goma, the main city in eastern DR Congo - had one of the three biggest military bases in DR Congo before it fell to the rebels last year.
There is no doubt that the government forces have achieved huge victories over the rebels, says the BBC's Maud Jullien in the capital, Kinshasa.
The UN has deployed a new intervention brigade to eastern DR Congo with a stronger mandate to confront armed groups.
On Sunday, the UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco, said a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed during fighting with the M23 in the town of Kiwanja.
"The soldier died while protecting the people of Kiwanja," Monusco said in a statement.
That man died for us, he died bring the justice of the world to the people of the DR Congo, we owe him and his colleagues who have died a debt we can never repay, if the world gets this right then we will at least go a small way to honour his sacrifice.  
The military success in Rumangabo followed the capture of four other areas - Kiwanja, Rutshuru, Buhumba and Kibumba - since the weekend, the army said.
M23 officials in Uganda said their fighters had retreated because government and UN forces had launched a joint assault, reports the BBC's Ignatius Bahizi from Uganda's capital, Kampala.
Rebel forces were outnumbered, they said.
M23 fighters planned to regroup before making their next move, the officials added.
There will be no next move. It is over.
At least 800,000 people have fled their homes in DR Congo since the M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, the UN humanitarian agency, Ocha, says.
The rebels briefly occupied eastern DR Congo's main town, Goma, in November 2012 before pulling out under international pressure.
The M23 are mainly ethnic Tutsis, like most of Rwanda's leaders.
Thinking of this in terms of ethnicity is probably the biggest problem, the discrimination Tutsi and those of Tutsi decent face is an issue that needs to be sorted by the DR Congo government.
Rwanda and Uganda deny persistent Congolese and UN allegations that the neighbours are backing the rebel forces.
Eastern DR Congo has been wracked by conflict since 1994, when Hutu militias fled across the border from Rwanda after carrying out a genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
It is time to stop the killing. 

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