Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thierry Michel, shuttle diplomacy, M23's demands, FDLR on the loose, and MONUSCO gunships & FARDC Hind copters strafe M23 positions

1) Thierry Michel: Access Denied

At a time when the DRC needs all the friends it could get, it has just
shot itself in the foot, according to Colette Braeckman, by turning
back Belgian documentarian Thierry Michel (photo above) at Kinshasa
N'Djili Airport on Sunday.

Michel claims to be holding a 5-year residence visa in the DRC,
whereas Congolese immigration authorities claim he doesn't have any
visa whatsoever.

Michel, a prolific documentarist, released the award-winning
documentary titled "L'Affaire Chebeya (un crime d'Etat ?)" [The
Chebeya Case (a state crime?], which is very critical of the role of
the Congolese state in the assassination in Kinshasa of the rights


2) DRC-Rwanda diplomatic row in Addis & M23 growing list of new demands

DRC and Rwanda took their diplomatic row to Addis Ababa Wednesday at
cabinet level meeting within the framework of the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The ICGLR was set up in 2004 as, among other things, "a forum for
resolving armed conflict" by the following 11 members: Angola,
Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Congo, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

(I don't know whether South Sudan has since joined this platform.)

Observers fear that the DRC, weakened by recent blows it suffered on
the battlefield, would be hoodwinked by making its domestic security
depend on the whims of President Paul Kagame.

The ICGLR recommendations seem to be proving that point: more
anti-FDLR drives and border surveillance by a mutually-agreed third

Is this a joke?

Colette Braeckman sees Kagame taking a page from his own playbook by
"talking and fighting" (or "negotiating for side effects" in Fred
Ikle's terminology).

(Page Address:

Braeckman observes that after each so-called "rebellion" in eastern
DRC--a euphemism for Rwandan aggression--the "Congolese army
[was]commanded to grant amnesty to mutineers, to integrate them, and
to appoint them at ranks of command, thus paving the way to subsequent

An army of treasonable embeds indeed.

And Braeckman also points to the the open-ended list of M23
ever-growing demands: more senior ranks, better pay, repatriation of
more than 50,000 Rwandophone refugees from Rwanda--without first
proving their Congolese citizenship!

She forgot to mention what I heard their leader tell a TV reporting
crew: better roads in the area!

Who do these brainsicks think they are fooling!

As for the M23 demand of repatriation of 50,000 refugees, Jason
Stearns, as early as February 2010, noted on his blog Congo Siasa
that: "There is no doubt that thousands of cows have
crossed the border from Rwanda over the past year. Several reports of
[Rwandophone] refugees returning from Rwanda to Masisi indicate that
groups often cross with herds of cattle."


"Several factors have played into this. Rwanda has limited the public
grazing of cattle and recently introduced zero-grazing (keeping cattle
indoors) to prevent soil erosion. En bref, there is limited room in
Rwanda for cattle."

In other words, DRC as Rwanda's lebensraum, or better, as its dumpster.

(Page Address:

3) FDLR on the loose as MONUSCO gunships & FARDC Hind copters strafe
M23 positions

One of the casualties of the current war could be anti-FDLR military operations.

The Rwandan terrorist group is now on the loose.

In his post of Tuesday, Dr Emmanuel de Mérode, Chief Warden of the
Virunga National Park, reported that the FDLR "were attacking and
looting vehicles containing people fleeing the fighting in Rutshuru."

He added:

"In the east, the town of Nyamilima is now under the control of the
FDLR militias. They've taken
advantage of the political unrest to expand their territory, which
puts our patrol post at Sarambwe
at risk."

In his post of today at midday, de Mérode notes:

"This morning there was a helicopter raid on Bukima, our patrol post
on the edge of the gorilla sector. Two UN combat helicopters circled
above as two other Congolese army Hind attack
helicopters fired missiles. It's the first time we've seen UN and
Congolese military on joint

Later on, an AFP report backed up de Mérode's observations and
reported that there were actually 3 MONUSCO and 2 FARDC copters that
strafed the localities of Nkokwe and Bukima.

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