Renegade DRC rebel leader forms ruling committee

A commander who claims to have overthrown Laurent Nkunda as leader of rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has set up a ruling committee to stamp his authority on the movement, his spokesperson said on Wednesday.

General Bosco Ntaganda was chief of staff of the rebel National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) before declaring on January 5 that Nkunda had been replaced as its leader.

Nkunda said he was still in control but failed to deliver on his threat to discipline Ntaganda, who claims to have the support of senior officers in the force, which controls much of eastern DRC.

“An interim political committee has been put in place to assist the military high command,” Ntaganda’s spokesperson, Desire Kamanzi, said.

“There has been no split in the CNDP. The army is as one, like the movement itself. It is an individual [Nkunda] that has left,” Kamanzi said.

The spokesperson said the movement would have to “wait a few days to know what happens to Nkunda”.

Ntaganda said on January 5 that Nkunda would be replaced as rebel leader because of “poor leadership”.

Kamanzi said a rebel delegation participating in peace talks with Kinshasa government officials in Nairobi was no longer representative of the movement as it was chosen by Nkunda.

“We don’t accept this delegation, nor any resolutions that will come from their negotiations.

“We want to negotiate about what we think is pertinent and not Chinese contracts and institutional reform, which are not our priorities,” the spokesman added.

Nkunda has insisted the government review the country’s commercial contracts with China. The International Monetary Fund has expressed concern at Kinshasa’s increasing reliance on borrowing from China.

“We would like only to discuss the conditions to re-establish peace and security, and in that way collaborate with the government, the UN Mission in DRC, and the international authorities.”

The talks resumed in the Kenyan capital last week aiming to seek a solution to the unrest in eastern DRC, where fighting last year displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The two sides, which began direct talks in Nairobi on December 8, have yet to agree on a common ceasefire deal. — AFP

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