AFRICA/DR CONGO - Kivu, an area of indirect confrontation between Rwanda and Burundi

Thursday, 28 June 2018 armed groups  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Kivu, a province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is turning into a battlefield for allied foreign forces with some local armed groups. This is stated in a note sent to Agenzia Fides from missionary sources and elaborated by a local NGO for the defense of human rights.
The recent clashes in Bijombo, a village on the Uvira plateau, have seen on one hand the rebel Rwandan forces, presumably of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, former chief of staff of the Rwandan army, which is now supported by the President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, and on the other hand, the Burundian rebels of the FOREBU (Forces Républicaines du Burundi), supported by Rwanda. The forces of Nyamwasa were backed by the Twiganeho militia, consisting mainly of banyamulenge fighters, while those of the FOREBU by some groups of Babembe, Bafuliru and Banyindu fighters.
Ten people died in the clashes in Bijombo, while thousands were forced to flee. The villages of Maheta, Mbundono, Rubibi, Mugogo and Gatoki have emptied. In addition to the groups mentioned, in Kivu there is also the GUMINO militia of the Banyamulenge which is supported by the government of Kinshasa, ally of Burundi.
"The Kivu powder keg could explode, favoring a war that is not ours" the statement points out. Kivu is a refuge for many foreign rebel groups: Ugandan ADF; FDLR-FOKA and FDLR-Rud rwandesi; FNL-Nzabampema-FNL and Nibizi FOREBU/Burundan LPF. "There are local tensions and no security that has plunged the communities into the "security dilemma", but the involvement alongside local groups of foreign rebel forces, in turn supported by neighboring countries, Rwanda and Burundi, is a factor of worsening the situation. It is time, therefore, that the governments of the countries of the Great Lakes area stop exploiting the ethnic perceptions and stop manipulating the causes of the war in Kivu", the note concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/6/2018)