Reports from Africa say that the Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested last night in Rwanda. Apparently some disagreements within his own rebel group has forced him to flee. Perhaps the reason for this potential mutiny stemmed from Nkunda’s reluctance to have his rebel army join up with the Congolese army. This latest development, in the war torn Congo, is met with hesitant optimism. However, with Nkunda out off the picture there is the risk of even worse massacres of civilians in the region.
Nkunda is said to be a man that knows how to work the media (video clip #1). Despite this, the notion around the world is that he and his rebels are responsible for some of the most foul atrocities done to civilians. Although I wouldn't regard myself as an expert on the Congo conflict, I wonder how much of the mutilations, rapes and loathing can be traced to Nkunda's group.
The Christmas massacre a couple of weeks ago in Orientale province, which left some 620 people slaughtered, where the works of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). And the unrest in the national parks, with among others park ranger casualties, has been fuelled by the Mai-Mai rebels. Perhaps both these groups have close links to the Nkunda rebels, but the fact remains, things don't necessary have to get any better just because one rebel group's leader has been arrested. I fear that other rebels, as for example the unpredictable and irrational LRA (see interesting post on the blog The African Wind), might strengthen their power in the region and increase the disorder.
An additional problem is that Nkunda's rebel group might split up, into supporters and opponents of its former leader, and thus adding to tensions. Lets also not forget that all this is taking place in a area of high biodiversity value. Not only the civilians are suffering, but so are the species, that very well might be the last of their kind. The killing of park ranger Safari Kakule (video clip #2) just proves what measures the rebels are willing to take in order to get their will through.
I really don't know how to solve the situation here. But I suggest that we start by bringing more attention to the region. Maybe that will facilitate in a cease of suffering for the people and species.
#1 (Coverage of Congo, AlJazeera)
#2 (R.I.P. Safari Kakule)
Dagen VG CNN WS SVD DN VG DT Pub LV AB