Just a couple of days after I wrote that a deal between Tutsi rebels under the command of General Bosco Ntaganda and Joseph Kabila’s government might be imminent, my speculation came to pass. Reuters reports that Ntaganda announced a permanent ceasefire in the hostilities with the government and his willingness to throw his forces into battle alongside Rwandan and DRC armed forces to wipe out the FDLR, remnants of the Hutu Interahamwe who fled to Congo following the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Ntaganda’s spokesman, Colonel Esaie Munyakazi, made the announcement in Goma while the Congolese interior minister and Rwanda’s top armed forces commander looked on. He added that they were willing to fight alongside the FARDC “with a view to them being reintegrated into the national army.”
The great unknown in this situation is where the erstwhile leader of the CNDP, Laurent Nkunda, fits into the puzzle. As of this writing, there has been no reaction from his camp.
About two weeks ago, Ntaganda announced that he and his officers had deposed Nkunda and were now in charge of the rebel army. Denials were issued and not much seemed to have changed, with even representatives of Kabila’s government meeting with Nkunda’s delegation to the UN-sponsored negotiations in Nairobi while the UN’s chief negotiator, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, met with Nkunda.
Shifting alliances are nothing new in the Democratic Republic of Congo, so it’s not likely that Ntaganda’s announcement is the end of the story.