Bosco Ntaganda Starts New Rebel Group in DR Congo

Nearly a year after being installed in a senior position in the
Congolese armed forces, former rebel-general Bosco Ntaganda has formed with others the Front for the Liberation and Emancipation of the Congo (FLEC).

Bosco Ntaganda
Bosco Ntaganda

The group has not started war, but is institutionalizing control over regions of eastern Congo, particularly Masisi territory
in North Kivu province, 256 has established

Unlike some other rebel groups in the Congo – including Mr. Ntaganda’s Tutsi-led National Congress for the People Defense (CNDP) who wrecked havoc on the country last year – FLEC does not appear to be built along ethnic lines.
Violence both against and between Hutu and Tutsi in eastern Congo have broiled the region in an on-again-off-again struggle that, over the last fifteen years, has directly and indirectly led to millions dead.

While it remains unclear whether FLEC will be an armed insurgency or just a way to make more money, the emergence of the group is the latest sign that the CNDP is breaking up, and the Congo’s army is unraveling in its year long war against Rwandan Hutu rebels.


“According to local sources who speak with this reporter in Goma town, FLEC was established because of the reported refusal of pro-Nkunda elements and the former political leadership of the party to associate CNDP with the reported Coalition pour la protection et la promotion du
Congo (CPPC).”

Mr. Ntaganda, who became military commander of the CNDP at the beginning of the year when its charismatic Laurent Nkunda was arrested by Rwanda, was supposed to lead the group into integration with the Congolese national army, along with a menagerie of other rebel groups
and splinter factions.

In the United Nations-backed offensive against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda – Hutu rebels accused of orchestrating the 1994 Rwandan genocide – Mr. Ntaganda is accused of playing a senior role.

In South Kivu, where the bulk of the fighting is focused, Ntaganda’s CNDP lieutenants are the ones doing the fighting and the

But now, he and other CNDP officers are spending their time organizing FLEC and already control some of North Kivu’s most fertile grounds, including large swaths of Masisi territory according to reliable sources.

And there’s no much that can be done, saying that the police in the
region were “neither equipped nor paid” by the Kinshasa government.

For years, Rwanda and Congo have battled over the presence of Rwandan genocide suspects hiding out on Congolese soil, killers that fled after the Rwandan genocide.

Rwanda’s own military has repeatedly invaded the Congo in pursuit and have left behind residual militias to do the fighting for them.

Last year, things began to get out of hand, when one of these
generals, Mr. Nkunda went on a strong offensive in North Kivu, taking important parts of the province and coming within a few kilometers of the capital Goma.

The Congolese military didn’t stand a chance, instead fleeing with civilians from the oncoming rebel group, looting, killing and raping in the process.
It all changed, investigators have argued, when Rwanda and Congo struck a deal that placed Ntaganda in the drivers seat and Mr. Nkunda supposedly behind bars.

Now, the Congolese army was no longer fighting the CNDP, but the Hutu rebels, and in the process Ntaganda and his troops took command of the war.

It’s been a sweet role of reversal for Mr. Ntaganda. According to the
United Nations Panel of Experts report leaked Tuesday, he is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in illegal tax revenues from the lands he patrols. His elite CNDP that follow him is about 60,000.

But as the atrocities mount, Ntaganda has been losing friends.

The people who put him in power – including Rwanda – have not gone out of their way to keep all the soldiers below him in line and, as the The New York Times has reported, much of the region has descended into ‘warlordism.’

From Mai-Mai generals to FDLR splinters, new groups have sprung and popped, since the beginning of the year, feeding off each other like water wheels.

A spokesperson for the United Nation in Congo said that the latest developments reflected a “possible division within the CNDP itself,” those working with Ntaganda, and those loyal to the arrested Laurent Nkunda, who remains in Rwanda, somewhere.
“He is our man, he always will be,” says Claude Mutebutsi, a Congolese Tutsi originally from South Kivu. He insists Nkunda wasn’t simply sponsored by Rwanda. According to him, “95%” are still faithful to Mr. Nkunda, who has acquired a Che Guevara-like mystique with his constituents.

The political arm of the CNDP – Nkunda had said he was fighting for the protection of Congolese Tutsi – has accomplished little on paper since peace agreement that culminated integration into the army.

Two party members are in parliament.

Mr. Ntaganda’s new group is the latest manifestation in a breakup of the CNDP that has been ongoing for months. The first incarnation was the Coalition for the Promotion and Protection of the Congo.

Initially built around Ntaganda and other CNDP soldiers, it fell apart due to deteriorating support for Mr. Ntaganda.


  1. The Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC, Alan Doss, participated in the weekly press conference of the mission.

    Can you give some clarification on what happened in Sake and Masisi in the night from Saturday to Sunday, what is the climate that currently prevails?

    Is this the land or the town of Masisi? To my knowledge, there have been no incidents this weekend Sake and Masisi. But still, sometimes not all the elements that come. Otherwise nothing special … There was, I know that a meeting of some elements of the CNDP, I think it does, the political level to Mushake. But still, I have no more evidence than that.

    And what are the results of this meeting?

    For now, I don’t know.

    This weekend, there were 230 ex-CNDP elements that have left the ranks of the army and looted a warehouse in Kibati. You know that?

    I would say at Kibati, yes indeed there was this desertion. We believe, based on figures I had, it was about 120 to 140 men who were involved in this case. They looted the FARDC base in Kibati. But until we can stop and question them, I can not say – and indeed the national authorities to speak first, what was the motivation of these people. But we see that they have mostly looted property before leaving. So that’s what we know about this situation in Kibati. Regrettably, it is clear, because it has stopped even when other operations were under-way and I hope the Government or the FARDC will be able to quickly control these elements and punish them.

    The report of Human Rights calls for the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda, the deputy commander of operations Kimia II which was quoted in the report of experts, and several organizations of human rights that play the same role, and have already called for his arrest. What do you think of this call for his arrest. Secondly, do you insist on your point of view that is to say he is not involved in operations? And if so, exactly what role does it play?

    I repeat what I have always said about this. First, it is a decision that falls within the Government, which must decide when and how they want to handle this situation. I even think that the Head of State has spoken, but a responsibility, first reports directly to the Government. So I have little to add. Yes, he was involved. There is no secret. Since the press conference held at the Hotel Ihusi he was involved in the integration process. Regarding the case of Kibati, I have no confirmation that he was involved. But it was rather to try to put this back on track, because, after all, items that are left, largely, one of the groups were newly built, namely former elements of the CNDP. And of course we want that this never happens again.

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