The Terminator Returns … to Congo (Updated)

A warlord called The Terminator and his militia are closing in on the city of Goma in eastern Congo. The militia, M23, is probably only several hundred strong, but Government troops and officials are fleeing.

We are seeing armed predation in action.

The M23 had joined the Congolese Army in a 2009 “peace deal” (which was more of a merger to divide-up the spoils), then defected from the national army in April 2012 (dissatisfied with their cut of the profits?), and is now said to be backed by Rwanda and Uganda. In the summer they captured some towns and now they are headed to Goma, capital of Kivu province, right next to Rwanda.

Government troops are fleeing from Goma – why risk fighting when everyone is in it for the profit, and the women?

The Terminator (real name Bosco Ntaganda) has had an interesting career. He was in the Tutsi army that overthrew the genocidal Hutu regime of Rwanda in 1994. In Congo he has been a key player in a couple of militias, which brought an indictment from the International Criminal Court for enlisting child soldiers. Plus thanks to a couple of peace deals, he has been a General in the Congolese Army.

Most important, though, he either controls or taxes several mining operations.

One thing though, remains unclear: what makes the Tutsi, including the Rwandan government, so unusually well-organized, compared to others in Congo?

Update: Tuesday November 20th: Reports say the M23 has entered Goma, while government troops fled carrying loot.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Terminator Returns … to Congo (Updated)

  1. The M23 are not exclusively Tutsi; they are disgruntled elements of the Congolese society from various ethnic/tribal groups. The rhetoric about M23 being Tutsi is as usual used by Kinshasa trying to play the very dangerous ethnic card. The international media and human rights groups have fallen into the same trap. Unfortunately, such rhetoric has in the past fuelled massacres against Tutsi both in Rwanda and DRC. Whoever is using this ethnic rhetoric should know that he or she is indirectly preparing other Congolese communities to commit atrocities not against members of M23 but against innocent Congolese Tutsi civilians.

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