DRC: The standoff is intensifying in the east. “Summer is likely to be very violent”

Show of force by the AFC rebels who paraded in North Kivu.

There were 8,000 of them, according to the organizers, walking from Nyongera to Rutshuru-center, in North Kivu. Massed behind the coordinator and executives of the Congo River Alliance (AFC), the structure set up to try to unite opponents of the regime of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.

A popular mobilization which attempted to demonstrate the mobilization and training capacity of the AFC on an increasingly important territory.

DRC: For Corneille Nangaa “Tshisekedi is no longer president”

All in impeccable fatigues, which contrast with the rags of the Congolese soldiers, “these recruits received several weeks of political-military training”according to the speech of Corneille Nangaa who has recently increased public and media outings in the territories managed by his movement which is preparing to celebrate the two years of occupation of the town of Bunagana on the border with Uganda.

An unbearable daily life”

This supervised march also made it possible to display the new weapons now available to the movement stationed for several days a few kilometers from Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

Goma is today a city of 2 million inhabitants with all the refugees who have retreated here,” explains Jean-Paul M., a forty-year-old who did his higher education in Belgium before returning to his city “almost 15 years ago”. The Gomatracian insists on “the total insecurity that reigns here. In the city center, during the day, everyone goes about their activities almost normally. In the evening, everyone barricades themselves, but the closer you get to the ends of the city, the more palpable the insecurity and violence are.”.

Every night it shoots”continues another resident of Goma who speaks “of an inevitable conflagration. You have soldiers who are not paid but who are rather of good composition. You also have wazalendo (volunteers) who are always armed and who are used to living by plunder and extortion. Always add white mercenaries and a population struggling to survive in a city where all costs have exploded, where everything is imported from Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda. If the deterioration continues, the M23 and Nangaa will be welcomed with open arms by the population tired of this daily life.”

All our interlocutors emphasize “absence” Or “the bankruptcy of the State” in Goma.” Everything is managed by NGOs,” explains another resident of Goma who comes out of a “training on water production and management in Goma given by the Red Cross. The State is completely absent, people are abandoned to their fate. Given the difficulty of surviving, some Gomatracians try to register in the camps set up to accommodate refugees. If they succeed, they are sure to have at least a small portion of food per day.”

Summer will be violent in the DRC

On the military front, a certain calm prevails without any serious avenue of dialogue emerging between these rebels and the authorities in Kinshasa. Félix Tshisekedi continues to present the M23 (he never mentions the Congo River Alliance) as a fifth column of the Rwandan army. Kigali, for its part, weakly denies its involvement and continues to point out the collaboration of the Congolese army with the FDLR (the “heirs” of the Hutu genocidaires) in a hunt “perpetual” to the Congolese Tutsi to at least justify the mobilization of its troops on the Congolese border. “President Kagame does not forget the rhetoric of his Congolese counterpart during the presidential campaign last December. Félix Tshisekedi had threatened to strike Kigali, he had called for the overthrow of the Rwandan regime and compared the Rwandan president to Hitler”remembers a Togolese minister passing through Brussels.

In this context, it is difficult to envisage the start of a diplomatic solution. Especially since both the rebels and Kinshasa seem to be engaged in an intensive rearmament process which is raising fears of a new explosion of violence in the Kivus in the coming weeks or months.

This is already killing many in Goma”, explains a former Congolese minister. “We can expect an even more violent summer. Europe is focused on Ukraine and the European elections, the United States on the Middle East and the presidential election. The current safeguards will disappear. The floor will be given to arms. Everyone can repeat that the solution is diplomatic, if there is neither political will, nor real desire for de-escalation, the Congo is heading straight into the wall”.

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