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The de- & re-construction of an incoherent institution: reform of the FARDC?


In today's 21st century where many states teeter on failure and chronic weakness it is becoming more and more accepted in the state failure and peacebuilding literature that security sector reform (SSR) is viewed as a critical step towards state reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. Dysfunctional states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and even the former-apartheid state of South Africa have all required, and some still require, a comprehensive reform of the security sector. Within the context of the African continent, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, there is widespread recognition that African militaries have been one of the largest eyesores on the continent in past decades. (1) In spite of a notable body of work, particularly in political science, very little attention is currently given to the role of African militaries in academic scholarship. Why is this the case? African armies, why have they been marginalized within the context of good governance discussions? Is this because African armies are no longer perceived as a threat to political and social stability as they once were? Have African states successfully contained the military threat to civilian rule? African militaries, have they learned from past mistakes and constituted internal reforms that no longer require an examination of military governance and their impacts on state and society? These questions are pertinent to an overall lack of attention paid to the military across the African continent, which is perhaps due to the idea that democracy and good governance is simply more interesting to discuss, or perhaps academicians find the military too static an institution and everything that has been learned appears to be nothing new. This paper seeks to refocus attention on the role of the military by examining post-conflict reconstruction efforts in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the impact of reform efforts on state and society. In short, this paper seeks to address this lack of attention by academicians.

The main thrust of this paper will look specifically at SSR (known locally as brassage, or integration) (2) in the DRC by focusing exclusively on the evolution of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). SSR is a multi-faceted process that requires an assortment of actors with skilled technical expertise that are supported by substantial resources with a broad vision of where SSR is not only headed, but also the problematic evolution of the FARDC as it currently exists.

This paper sees a professional and highly trained, fully functional, and adequately equipped FARDC as the institutional linchpin in the state's ability. to regain its footing to address ongoing security concerns. Without security, all other efforts and reforms will likely remain elusive. However, as it stands the FARDC remains the single greatest obstacle to governance and economic reforms, and current efforts have not produced the structural transformation of the FARDC that is needed in the DRC. Since the beginning of 2003, efforts to reform the FARDC have been severely lacking, (3) ultimately causing more insecurity throughout the DRC (particularly in the eastern Kivu provinces and the Ituri territory) with the effect of institutionalizing impunity throughout the ranks of the FARDC and causing widespread social disruption and dislocation.


Security sector reform is vital to the health and stability of the DRC. It has been acknowledged for some time by academics and political analysts that the DRC security sector needs to be completely reformed from top to bottom. (4)

The institutional history of the FARDC is one of un-professionalism and manipulation by not only political elites, but also military elites as a way to maintain a highly undisciplined force for narrow ends, which has been one of the main causal factors behind the state's dysfunction stretching back to independence. On the eve of independence it was the mutiny of the Force Publique rank-and-file that drove the country into an uncertain period of instability and into what is now known as the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. (5) During the 1990s it was the complete demoralization within the Zairian Armed Forces (FAZ) that led to pillaging and widespread looting by soldiers throughout Kinshasa and Kisangani that brought the country to a complete standstill. The FARDC, now former ex-FAZ, essentially was transformed into a highly politicized weapon employed by the Mobutist state to control political and social opposition to his Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR)dominated state.

Like many African states and leaders, President Mobutu in 1975 began to transform the role of the military into a domestic surveillance unit. Ebenga and N'Landu point out that "the gradual transformation of the FAZ from objective control to subjective control weakened the armed forces both operationally and organizationally." (6) An additional network of paramilitary forces and agencies provided the Mobutist state a vast-army of tools and instruments to effectively dominate the domestic sphere: The Civil Guard (LGC) under Kpama Baramoto; The Military Action and Intelligence Service (Le Service d'Action et des renseignements militaire, SARM) under the command of General Mahele Lieko; The Special Research and Surveillance Brigade (La Brigade speciale de recherche et de surveillance, BSRS) under the command of General Bolozi; The National Intelligence and Protection Service (Le Service national d'intelligence et de protection, SNIP); The National Immigration Service (L'Agence nationale d'immigration, ANI); The Special Action Forces (Les Forces d'actions speciales, FAS) which was later renamed the Special Intervention Forces (Forces d'intervention speciales, FIS) and locally known as the Owls (les hiboux). (7)

At the time of Mobutu's overthrow in 1997, former-rebel turned president, Laurent-Desire Kabila commanded a coalition of AFDL rebels (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) that turned out to be a loose-coalition of Rwandan Tutsi and a cadre of child soldiers (known locally as kadogos) with the support of regional allies. This period of distrust and uncertainty about the new AFDL/security service lasted until President Kabila forcefully asked for all Rwandan Tutsi to leave the country as their services were no longer needed, which immediately led to the 1996 Rwandan, and soon thereafter Ugandan, invasion. Eventually Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe along with a host of other countries would invade the DRC in 1998 and the country would morph into what has been labeled "Africa's First World War," or the deadliest war since WWII. (8)

According to Security Analyst Henri Boshoff, the FARDC is estimated to range between 120,000-150,000 soldiers, and could be as high as 170,000, while thirty to forty percent of these numbers are considered 'ghosts,' soldiers who don't exist. (9) This lack of precision perpetuates an entrenched practice of corruption and the pilfering by military elites of revenue that is urgently needed to complete the brassage process. Even so, the FARDC is bloated as an institution, and it has been acknowledged by respected organizations like The International Crisis Group and independent experts that a pairing down of the army to a more manageable force between 70,000-90,000 soldiers is more appropriate for the DRC. (10) As it is, the average rank-and-file soldier receives a meager salary between $10 and $12 U.S. dollars per month, if the soldier receives it at all. (11) The DRC remains isolated from the large scale Western assistance and resources that is required to rehabilitate and professionalize the national security sector. Furthermore, the challenges go deeper than simply resources, because the FARDC remains an extremely fragile and uneven institution with no real sense of national identity. (12)

Unlike the views promoted by political scientists of the 1960s regarding the role of the military, (13) the security apparatus in the DRC is highly politicized and fragmented, and appears so foreign to past Weberian views on the role of organizational matters. What was once perceived as a source of order is now a critical source of disorder. (14)


The literature on post-colonial African armies highlights some noteworthy patterns that help to contextualize and appropriately situate the FARDC within a largely personalized form of rule that is widely practiced throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, three significant trends stand out in current academic literature: over time African militaries have been stripped of their autonomy by political elites and turned into political instruments; (15) African militaries have shifted their concentration from the classically-defined threat of external enemies towards a focus on internal elements and political developments; (16) and within the larger context of African politics, ethnicity over time has come to shape and influence politico-military decisions and the social composition of African armies. (17) In addition to these well-documented and established trends, the problematic evolution of the FARDC since 2003 underscores the growing importance and need to focus attention on widespread impunity (18) that is rife throughout the ranks of an un-professional and highly under-trained FARDC. (19)

Stripping of Autonomy

Current literature on the role of African armies refers to them primarily as unprofessional militaries that are the result of predominantly weak personal rule systems. (20) In the case of the FARDC, the state politicized the role of the military by stripping it of its autonomy while at the same time bleeding the state dry of vital resources that are necessary to maintain a well-trained and professional army. (21) Military elites were not only able to engage in political activities and prosper due to patronage and corrupt business networks constructed by MPR cadre, but in addition key military units like the DSP (Special Presidential Division) were regularly employed to enforce party discipline and remove any perceived challengers or threats to Mobutu's political dominance. (22)

Notwithstanding the longer institutional history of the FARDC, the recent promulgation of the new constitution in 2006 laid out the new legal position of the FARDC in articles 187-192. In particular, articles 187 and 188 are worth noting in that the Armed Forces "have the mission to defend the integrity of the national territory and the borders. Under the conditions prescribed by law, they take part. in times of peace, in the economic, social and cultural development as well as the protection of persons and their goods. The Armed Forces are republican. They are at the service of the entire Nation. No one may, under sentence of high treason, abuse them for their own purposes. They are apolitical and subject to civil authority." (23) In spite of an overall lack of specific military rules and regulations governing the armed forces, the new constitution does appear to have at least theoretically re-established the autonomy between the state and FARDC. Throughout the DRC however, ongoing reports continue to highlight the fact that the FARDC continues to be used as a weapon against political opposition (24) and the undesirable elements of society. (25)

Domestic Surveillance

Herbert M. Howe (2001) highlights a major shift in post-colonial African countries versus their colonial counterparts. Many independent sub-Saharan countries have turned their militaries into essentially domestic surveillance units that take on a police like role. Traditionally, militaries were created for defensive purposes to stop external threats. The case of the DRC typifies the point made by Michael Desch, who states, "external military missions are the most conducive to healthy patterns of civil-military relations," and "nonmilitary, internal missions often engender various pathologies." (26) The history of the FARDC is largely one of political manipulation by both political and military elites where ordinary Congolese have suffered, and continue to suffer at the hands of a brutally repressive and un-professional army. The current political landscape magnifies the oppressive nature of the FARDC due to the state's fragmentation and overall weakness, which further accentuates a military that is distrustful of itself due to its composition of "ex-militia" (27) members and rebel groups (former-AFDL rebels, CNDP, MLC, RCD, RCD-N, RCD-Goma, RCD-K/ML, RCD-Authentique, and various Mai-Mai groups (28)) that are highly underpaid.

Ethnic Recruitment in the Military

Many sub-Saharan Africa states have recruited soldiers based largely on ethnic lines, which has lead to a social, and political imbalance across many countries. Mobutu systematically recruited from his Ngbandi ethnic group in Equateur province placing them in strategic leadership roles in the regular army. The Israeli-trained DSP (Special Presidential Division) unit under the command of General Nzimbi Ngbale was recruited exclusively from among his Ngbandi kin. This explains why Lingala was adopted as the official language of the military under President Mobutu.

Following the same playbook, both Presidents Laurent-Desire Kabila and Joseph Kabila have recruited exclusively from their BaLubakat kin in southern Katanga to fill the elite Republican Guard (Garde Republicaine. GR) that is estimated to number 12,000-15,000. (29) The size and ethnic concentration of the GR is an ongoing source of debate and tension in the DRC, particularly in Kinshasa as many Kinois see it as a private security force that President Kabila deploys at will to muzzle and stifle any political dissent or opposition. (30)

In addition to the GR, particular battalions in the eastern DRC remain largely homogenous due to the nature of brassage and local politics in the region. For example, the 8th (North Kivu) and 9th (Orientale Province) military regions are very monolithic. One precondition set by former militia members was that many of the combatants agreed to military integration if they are allowed to remain in their home territories and province. The CNDP soldiers under General Bosco (alias "The Terminator") Ntaganda have repeatedly threatened to pull out of the FARDC if they are deployed outside of North Kivu province for several reasons. First, they fear for their safety and feel that they are a target and a strong possibility that they will be killed outside of North Kivu province. Second, they argue that their families are likely to be targeted by other local militia (FDLR rebels, Mai Mai, or other renegade elements of the FARDC) if they are forced to leave North Kivu province. In other words, they seem themselves as the only realistic form of security for the Rwandaphone, and particularly Tutsi, populations in the province and region. Finally, and before his arrest on January 22, 2009, it was publicly stated that the CNDP would not agree to full national integration because they were afraid that their former commander, Laurent Nkunda, would be captured or killed by either the Rwandan or Congolese states. (31)

I now turn to a brief overview of the SSR process as it has been conceived, its limitations, as well as its progress.


Since the late 1990s the DRC has been littered with armed groups mainly in the form of large rebel armies backed by foreign involvement, as well as loosely fragmented militias at the local level. The Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) was led by Jean-Pierre Bemba and backed by Uganda, whereas the RCD, which split and formed several smaller armed groups over time, was led by Azarius Ruberwa and backed by Rwanda. Both of these groups controlled their own fiefdoms. The RCD primarily controlled the eastern Kivu provinces, while the MLC controlled the northeastern Orientale and northwestern Equateur Provinces. In addition to these large rebel armies, armed groups in the form of localized militias, which have largely mobilized around ethnic and territorial concerns, sprang up across the country contributing to deep social fragmentation. Following the signing of the All Inclusive Peace Agreement in 2002, and the eventual absorption of the MLC and RCD rebel movements into formal political and military positions, localized militias publicly emerged in the wake of the security and political vacuum left behind. Since 2003 localized militias, particularly throughout the Kivus, parts of Katanga, and Bunia, have dominated almost every feature of everyday life for the average Congolese.

Out of this extreme fragmentation SSR was given new impetus with the recognition that the state quickly needed to get a handle on these armed groups. In 2004 the DRC parliament publicly debated and signed into law on November 12, 2004, for the first time in the history of the country, The Defense and Armed Forces Organization Act. This legislation laid the groundwork for the establishment and operation of the FARDC as a professional African army that should provide sole security for the national territory. To achieve these aims, the DRC state along with UN and bi-lateral assistance proposed security sector reform known locally as brassage, or military integration. (32)

As originally conceived by state authorities, the strategic objectives of SSR are four fold: 1) reduce the number of armed individuals outside army control and the potential for violence and recidivism, 2) create a new military on a voluntary basis, 3) erode old lines of control and create new ones to forge a genuine esprit de corps by retraining forces and forming units from diverse backgrounds, and 4) allow the armed forces to develop at a supportable and manageable pace. (33) These objectives were to be achieved through the state's creation of the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion (CONADER), which would be solely responsible for the management and oversight of the SSR process. In turn, MONUC and the international community would support CONADER with transportation, logistical matters, training, as well as financial resources, and military hardware.

In November 2004, "for the first time in the history of the Congo, Parliament democratically debated and ... passed the Defense and Armed Forces Organization Act. By contrast, all previous laws relating to the army were enacted through the will of successive heads of state, who kept full control over the military in their own hands." (34) In addition, according to Professor Roger Kibasomga, SSR was to be completed in a one-year time frame, (35) where an estimated 150,000 soldiers (36) were to be fully integrated into the already existing FARDC. (37) Table 1 provides an overview of the SSR process along with the estimates of the numbers of troops to be integrated, the location of training centers, as well as the expected final destination of the integrated brigades. This timeframe highlights not only a lack of realistic planning considering the violent track record of the armed forces in the DRC (which will be addressed in the following section), as well as the magnitude of the last decade and its devastating impact on state institutions and infrastructure, but also a lack of flexibility built into the SSR process in case of any potential hiccups or unforeseen challenges. In short, the initial plan for military integration was poorly conceived and highly unrealistic in light of national challenges.

Based on initial planning, SSR was scheduled to be completed in time for the 2005 national democratic elections, (39) while DRC bureaucrats and political elites pushed for a ten-year timeframe. (40) Part of the reasoning by DRC political elites was that the FARDC was comprised of former-Mobutist elements from the former ex-FAZ (Zairian Armed Forces) and a ten-year time frame would have provided more space to clean out those unwanted individuals, in addition, the state was completely unaware of not only the overall size of the existing FARDC, as there was no existing or reliable figures on how many soldiers were serving in the army, but more so due to the realization that the state was unsure of the number of armed combatants that would seek to be integrated into the existing structure. The state has been in complete disarray with no real functioning national institutions to speak of, and so how was the state expected to integrate and re-train an army of potentially 150,000 soldiers in a one-year time frame? (41) What is certain is that based on the current size of the FARDC, the army is bloated and this will cause severe financial strain on the state as soldiers and officers begin to retire. (42)

As early as June 2006, due to a lack of funding CONADER "has closed all orientation centers (COs) and is using mobile units to handle the final wave of demobilization (under the plan de relance), which is supposed to be completed by 31 December 2007." (43) As noted by Thomas Turner, "the process was under-resourced with non- or minimal payment of salaries to military personnel and insufficient supplies of food, water and medical equipment to the integration points (centres de brassage), many of which had poor facilities. These factors left civilian populations around the camps at great risk of human rights abuses." (44) "As an alternative measure, CONADER apparently intends to make use of "mobile intervention teams" when the need arises," (45) which continues to be official state policy.

SR since 2006 has continued very ad-hoc, and slow, with no overarching national plan on how to properly address remaining integration issues and security concerns. The eastern Kivus, as demonstrated by the state's tailed attempt at addressing the visible security concerns like mixage in late 2006-2007, (46) along with the Kimia II debacle, (47) and more recent Amani Leo campaign, (48) remain in a state of neither war nor peace. The state continues to struggle with the security threat posed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), as well as with the smaller territories (albeit critical to the stability of North Kivu province and the region) like Masisi that remain under direct control by CNDP elements and allies. Furthermore, Mai-Mai militias remain a constant security challenge throughout the entire region, (49) and until sub-national concerns like land tensions are addressed they will likely remain active, it now appears that after seven years of SSR, little progress on the margins of has been made. (50) Charles Mwando Nsimba, the Minister of Defense, has suggested that the state should chart a ten-year reform plan, which in light of the national challenges facing the DRC is more realistic than the current plan backed by MONUC and western donors. The National Parliament has also begun debating the state's options and suggesting new ways in which SSR can be strengthened in its current approach, or more drastic measures like switching course entirely. (51)

So what does this problematic record and lack of overall progress mean? Clearly for the DRC state and society it means ongoing insecurity and pockets of violence throughout portions of the national territory as neither war nor peace has been fully achieved. Throughout the Kivu provinces, Ituri, as well as ongoing tensions that persist in parts of Katanga and Bas-Congo, the FARDC perpetuates a climate of fear and distrust between them and the very people they are in theory supposed to protect. The larger concern or question to ask is whether or not impunity has been institutionalized as a result of the state's incoherent approach towards SSR. If so, what does this say about the state's ability to achieve genuine reform of the FARDC in light of the sociopolitical and economic climate of the DRC?


Several reports on the reform of the FARDC raise the issue of impunity from the point of view that society, particularly women and young children are very likely to be sexually assaulted or raped, (52) suffer disproportionately at the hands of not only local militias that continue to operate throughout the Kivus and Ituri, but also un-disciplined rank-and-file FARDC that are rarely, if ever, held accountable for their actions

Amnesty International in a damning report in 2007 has gone perhaps further than any other advocacy organization by laying much of the violence and instability at the feet of the FARDC by stating, "far from protecting the people of the DRC, the state security services remain agents of torture and death." (53) Amnesty further argues that the main reason behind this is "the slow progress made by the DRC government, with international support, in delivering Security Sector Reform (SSR), a national program to integrate the former government and armed group forces into [a] unified national army, police and intelligence services capable of operating professionally and in a politically-neutral manner, under accountable state authority. The second is an institutional culture that is permissive of human rights violations, characterized by the lack of any independent mechanism to investigate and counter impunity for human rights violations committed by security officials." (54)

The fundamental question of this paper is not whether SSR should be addressed, because as in other deeply troubled weak states like Afghanistan, Guinea, Chad, and Burundi, it has to be tackled if the state desires genuine transformation and ultimately reconstruction. The question is how should it be approached and dealt with. The current method as advocated by President Kabila when directly confronted about the state's willingness to integrate known human rights abusers and indicted criminals into the FARDC stated, "Why do we choose to work with Mr Bosco, a person sought by the ICC? Because we want peace now. In Congo, peace must come before justice." (55) The problem with this logic and reasoning is that despite his public calls for peace, peace remains elusive for the average Congolese civilian in the east. (56) In addition, any notion of justice will continue to be put on hold indefinitely as un-professional and known human rights abusers are integrated and given positions of authority in the FARDC. Furthermore, there should be no illusion about the political and social challenges facing the DRC, because these challenges are monumental in light of the state's fragility and overall lack of capacity to address many of the fundamental issues plaguing the country. However, willfully integrating some of the most violent individuals and alleged war criminals into the FARDC, and essentially promoting them and providing them a state salary, sends a signal that the way to influence and authority in the DRC is through violence. These actions further contribute to a state-sanctioned culture of impunity surrounding an institution with a dubious history.

Promoting Impunity

In January 2005 Human Rights Watch reported that four of five appointments to the rank of general in the FARDC were well-known militia leaders that were classified as individuals who committed serious human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. These appointments showed a severe lack of judgment on the part of the transitional government. The transitional government's willingness to embrace individuals who committed serious crimes was a step in the wrong direction, and was an acceptance and promotion of a culture of impunity. Some of these recently appointed generals were: Germain Katanga, Jerome Kakwavu (57), Floribert Kisembo Bahemuka, Bosco Ntaganda, Rafiki Saba Aimable, and Salumu Mulenda. (58) In addition to these appointments, two of the most brutal militia leaders operating in northeastern province, Peter Karim of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (Front des Nationalistes et Integrationnistes, FNI) and Mathieu Ngudjolo of the Movement of Revolutionary Congolese (Mouvement des Revolutionnaires Congolais, MRC), were recently appointed colonels in the FARDC on 10 October 2006 by ministerial decree. (59) These appointments further undermine the credibility of the FARDC as an institution that is designed to protect the civilian population and safeguard the state and its interests.

In addition, there have now been calls to arrest Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda, the 23rd Sector commander based in Ngungu (Masisi territory, North Kivu province), for a variety of crimes committed in recent years. According to Human Rights Watch in a recent letter sent to Maj. Gen. Dieudonne Amuli Bahigwa, the commander of operation Amani Leo, Human Rights Watch states that they have documented, with the assistance of 50 local Congolese organizations, acts of violence in which Colonel Zimurinda has taken a direct part in. Additionally, troops under his command have committed "massacres, summary executions, rape, recruitment of children, forced labor, forced evictions, illegal taxation, and arbitrary arrests and detentions." (60) Furthermore, the U.N. Special Rapporteur, Professor Philip G. Alston, has identified Colonel Zimurinda in October 2009 as having played a key role in a violent campaign in North Kivu province. Colonel Zimurinda was in charge of a group of FARDC soldiers responsible for the massacre of at least 50 Rwandan Hutu refugees at Shalio Hill. (61) Despite the calls for an investigation and suspension of Zimurinda, Lieutenant Colonel Zimurinda continues to command troops in the FARDC.

Perhaps the most well-known militia leader in the DRC is Laurent Nkunda, who since being offered the rank of General in the FARDC has been placed under house arrest by the Rwanda government in Gisenyi, Rwanda. However, before his arrest in January 2009, Kinshasa extended an olive branch to Nkunda by bestowing the rank of general upon him. initial prospects for Nkunda's integration and his CNDP forces were promising, but Nkunda turned on Kinshasa and denounced the entire transition process. Nkunda then led a military siege on Bukavu, perpetuating a rumor that General Mbuza Mabe of the 10th military region was actively organizing a genocide of local Banyamulenge. The supposed genocide turned out to be propaganda, and Nkunda's men took the opportunity to terrorize the local population. The siege of Bukavu raised Nkunda's profile as a 'spoiler' and solidified his presence as a threat to the region and the transitional period.

In addition to the position offered to Laurent Nkunda in 2004, key Mai-Mai rebels have been given leadership positions within the FARDC. Other than being a source of instability throughout North Kivu, the Mai-Mai have been allies of Kinshasa since the late 1990s, receiving cash, military hardware. arms, equipment, and transport among other things. The Mai-Mai are structurally and militarily weak, which leaves many Mai-Mai factions easily prone to manipulation by outside agents and forces. However, since the beginning of brassage Mai-Mai commanders have been incorporated into the ranks of the FARDC and given prominent leadership positions, such as Colonel David Padiri of the Padiri Mai-Mai. Colonel Jackson from the Jackson MaiMai, Colonel Sultani Makenga, and Major Abdou Matata Panda of the 121st Mai-Mai Brigade has also been rewarded respectively. (62)

Many of these Mai-Mai commanders retain parallel command structures and continue to manipulate their former soldiers throughout the Kivu provinces. The United Nations in published quarterly reports continues to point out the undue influence that former-Mai-Mai commanders have over the civilian population, especially over children and young females. The commanders extort money from local communities while children are used as porters, sex slaves, cooks, and soldiers. (63) These Mai-Mai/FARDC commanders continue to operate freely without any accountability, which further contributes to this culture of impunity that exists widely throughout the ranks of the FARDC and its leadership. (64)

The Social Impact of SSR

The social impact of SSR has been devastating to local Congolese. In particular, children, as well as young and older women, have been disproportionately affected by a slow and under-resourced SSR process. In addition, most ordinary Congolese peasants throughout the Kivu provinces speak of multiple frustrations as a result of chronic insecurity. The first major event that led to widespread violence and insecurity was the fallout from the 2007 mixage campaign to integrate Laurent Nkunda's CNDP into the FARDC. The second (Umoja Wetu (65)) and third (Kimia II (66)) campaigns have been attempts to flush out the FDLR rebels and put an end to predatory Mai-Mai behavior. It should be noted that these latter campaigns were the result of the FARDC's inability to address the ongoing insecurity and FDLR threat throughout the eastern DRC. All three of these campaigns however do have one element in common; they have all been overwhelmingly harmful to local populations. Each of these events resulted in a vicious, almost never-ending, new cycle of displacement throughout the Kivus, a large population of rape victims, (67) as well as a significant population of child soldiers that have been recruited to fill the ranks of local militias.

Mixage (68) (or mixing) in 2007 was a failure because neither the Congolese government nor Laurent Nkunda was fully committed to the agreement. Table two provides an outline of what mixage deployment would have looked like had it succeeded. Throughout the mixage process Nkunda was working behind the scenes in a two-track fashion: 1) Nkunda was forcefully conscripting children throughout the region to join the ranks of the CNDP, and 2) he was using the mixage process as an opportunity to strengthen his position in the province. The United Nations in its 2007 annual report, "Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo" notes the forceful conscription of a number of children from Congolese and Rwandan refugee camps. (70) The children once conscripted were told to remain out of sight while passing through mixage centers. (71) In addition to the forced conscription of children, as many as 480 former-Rwandan soldiers were mixed into the brigades as a result of careless oversight. (72) By increasing the overall size of the brigades, mixage provided Nkunda loyalists more financial resources, and the opportunity "to ensure the greatest number of places reserved for his officers in a distribution of posts in the integrated units." (73) One of the top two spots of each brigade was reserved for a Nkunda loyalist, and despite the mixing process Nkunda retained control over his former soldiers.

During mixage tensions escalated between the FARDC/Kinshasa and Nkunda, each accusing the other of underhanded tactics. A ceremony took place in Kitchanga on March 27, 2007, to celebrate the completion of the Delta Brigade. The newly installed Governor, Julien Paluku, Nkunda, General John Numbi, members of the 8th Military Region, and local civil society members attended. (74) Despite the publicity, rising tensions over Nkunda's manipulation of the mixage process caused many political and military elites to question his reliability. General John Numbi left for Kinshasa in March, which Nkunda perceived as a sign of Kinshasa's weakness, and Nkunda grabbed hold of the opportunity.

Due to the armed confrontations, ongoing tensions finally gave way when on May 5, 2007, Nkunda announced publicly on television that mixage was over. According to Patient Mwendaga of the CNDP, "the mixing has failed on a logistical and organizational level," and an advisor to President Kabila remarked that Nkunda never intended to integrate into the army and "lamented the orchestrated failure of the mixing." (75)

The next major campaign, Umoja Wetu, was a month-long attempt to dislodge the FDLR from their stronghold in Masisi Territory, particularly around Nyabiondo and Pinga. The real significance of the Umoja Wetu operation is that the negotiations were conducted in secret between Presidents Kabila and Kagame, and President Kabila agreed to allow the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) to re-enter the DRC and fight alongside the FARDC and an "integrated" CNDP. Once the agreement became known it caused a national uproar in Kinshasa. Furthermore, Umoja Wetu was quickly cast as a success due the campaign's ability to dislodge the FDLR from their headquarters.

Only a month after Umoja Wetu, the FARDC and President Kabila argued that another follow-up operation was needed to eliminate the FDLR threat. Kimia II on the other hand was a joint operation between the FARDC and MONUC peacekeepers that began in March 2009. By October 2009 an estimated 900,000 people were displaced as a result of FDLR attacks on local Congolese. In addition, an estimated 1,000 civilians had been killed, 9,000 homes destroyed, and an estimated 7,500 women had been raped as a result of the chronic insecurity. Furthermore, in what is now becoming a useful data collection tool, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was contacted by Human Rights Watch to conduct an assessment of recent FDLR attacks in remote territories that was collected using satellite image acquisition technology. In the village of Busurungi (North Kivu) and the surrounding 100 square kilometers, "AAAS estimates that 1,494 homes and structures have been destroyed, some as recently as September, amounting to an estimated 80% destruction rate." (76) Human Rights Watch noticed an even more disturbing trend, that "for every FDLR combatant that has been removed from combat through being repatriated, one civilian has been killed, seven women and girls have been raped, eight homes have been destroyed, and nearly 900 people have been forced to flee for their lives." (77) In short, Kimia II has been a complete debacle that failed to dismantle the FDLR political and military apparatus, and due to inadequate oversight on the part of MONUC the social impacts and fallout have been disastrous for the local level.


The reform of the FARDC remains a vital challenge to the health and reconstruction of the DRC. It is now recognized in the peacebuilding and state failure literature that security sector reform is a vital and necessary component for dysfunctional states like the DRC state and other weak states throughout the developing world. As this article has sought to point out, without comprehensive SSR it is unlikely that very little will change in the coming months and new year.

From the initial proposal of a yearlong process of integration, brassage (military integration) and reform of the FARDC has not received the proper treatment and focus that it truly deserves. From 2003-2006 there was an effort to move quickly and integrate a variety of non-state actors into the FARDC, which ultimately resulted in very limited integration and substantive reforms. From 2006--present SSR has all but stalled with the closure of the six national brassage centers and the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion (CONADER) due to a lack of adequate funding and resources. What is apparent is that SSR as it has been pursued began as an emergency reaction to the large number of armed combatants operating throughout the DRC rather than a tailored response to a need for genuine security sector reform. Moreover, there was very little effort by national political elites or MONUC to produce a credible vision for the reform of the FARDC in light of the institution's problematic history and current political climate. At present the Minter of Defense, Charles Mwando Nsimba, and other influential political elites continue to debate the direction of SSR and what is needed to complete the necessary reforms.

The FARDC has a long complicated, and very violent, history that continues to influence the developments and current composition of the FARDC. It is highly impractical and unrealistic to think that the various factors that have shaped this violent institution will be adequately addressed anytime soon, particularly in light of the state's fragility and overall lack of capacity to oversee military operations. Furthermore, the state contributes to this expanding culture of impunity by appointing known human rights abusers to key leadership positions.

To President Kabila's credit, the Congolese government on July 5, 2009, announced a "zero tolerance" policy aimed at over-zealous commanders and rank-and-file soldiers that willfully commit human rights abuses and violence against local civilians. The policy has been applauded by MONUC (now MONUSCO (78)) and NGOs working in the DRC, which has resulted in a few high-profile arrests and successful prosecutions. However, the reach of the zero tolerance policy in practice has so far been limited for two basic reasons: 1) a lack of genuine political will to remove several of the key perpetrators for fear that any sudden movements may lead to rank-and-file soldiers exiting the FARDC (79), and 2) the military, and in effect the state, has little to no oversight capacity to address the various abuses committed by key commanders and soldiers under their command. In addition to the points raised here, SSR requires not just a reform of the actual institutions, but also the reform of the judiciary and the military court systems is needed if the issue of impunity is to ever be adequately addressed. This overall lack of capacity and genuine political will only contributes to the ongoing struggle for not only peace, but also justice for the Congolese state and society.


(1.) A.B. Assensoh and Alex-Assensoh, Yvette M, African Military History and Politics: Coups and Ideological Incursions. 1900--Present (New York: Palgrave, 2001).

(2.) The term brassage refers strictly to the integration of armed combatants into the ranks of the FARDC, while SSR refers to the reform of the larger security sector, which includes the army, the National Police (PN), as well as the judicial and military court system. For the purposes of this paper I use SSR and brassage interchangeably to refer to the reform of the FARDC.

(3.) Dr. Rocky Williams argues that for comprehensive SSR to occur four "clusters" must occur: the cultural transformation of the FARDC as a security provider; the human transformation and composition of the ranks of the FARDC (ethnic, racial, and linguistic to name a few that clearly impact the FARDC); organizational transformation in terms of size and the means of service delivery and its impact on effectiveness: and finally, political transformation and the clear delineation between political life and the security sector that is reinforced through civilian control and transparency. See Rocky Williams, "African Armed Forces and the challenges of security sector reform," in Albrecht Schnabel and Hans-Georg Ehrhart, (eds.), Security Sector Reform and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Tokyo; New York: Paris: United Nations University Press, 2005).

(4.) In an unpublished manuscript from an USAID consultancy report written by Dr. Rene Lemarchand in the early 1990s, he argues that a retraining and professionalization of the army is paramount to the stability and health of the DRC (then Zaire).

(5.) Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History (London: Zed Books, 2002).

(6.) Jacques Ebenga, and N'Landu, Thierry, "The Congolese National Army: In search of an identity," in Martin Rupiya, (ed.), Evolutions & Revolutions A Contemporary History of Militaries in Southern Africa (Pretoria, South Africa: Institute for Security Studies, 2005) p. 68.

(7.) George Nzongola-Ntalaja. The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History (London: Zed Books, 2002) pp. 152-157.

(8.) Elizabeth Blunt, "DR Congo war: Who is involved and why," BBC News Africa, January 25, 2001.

(9.) Henri Boshoff, "Update on the status of army integration in the DRC" (Pretoria, South: Institute for Security Studies, September 2, 2005).

(10.) International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo (Brussels/Nairobi, 2006).

(11.) International Crisis Group, A Congo Action Plan, Africa Briefing No. 34 (Brussels/Nairobi, 2005).

(12.) Jacques Ebenga and N'Landu, Thierry, "The Congolese National Army: In search of an identity," in Martin Rupiya, (ed.), Evolutions & Revolutions A Contemporary History of Militaries in Southern Africa (Institute for Security Studies: Pretoria, South Africa, 2005).

(13.) Morris Janowitz, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations: An Essay in Comparative Analysis (The University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 1964).

(14.) Jacques Ebenga and N'Landu, Thierry, "The Congolese National Army: In search of an identity," in Martin Rupiya, (ed.), Evolutions & Revolutions A Contemporary History of Militaries in Southern Africa (Institute for Security Studies: Pretoria, South Africa, 2005), p. 70.

(15.) Herbert M. Howe, Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States (Boulder, CO; London: Lynne Rienner, 2001).

(16.) Michael Desch, "Threat, Environments and Military Missions." quoted in Herbert M. Howe, Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States (Boulder, CO; London: Lynne Rienner, 2001), p. 30.

(17.) Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History (London: Zed Books, 2002).

(18.) The focus on impunity here in no way claims that this is a new phenomenon across the African continent, because impunity and military un-professionalism has been a hallmark in not only the DRC, but throughout many post-colonial African countries. However, the FARDC case in relation to a lack of political willingness to fundamentally address these abuses and individuals responsible for aiding and contributing to these chronic abuses do place a spotlight on the expanding impunity throughout the FARDC.

(19.) Advocacy organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and The International Crisis Group continue to publish regular reports that detail not only past abuses committed by individuals before they were integrated into the FARDC, but also the abuses committed by integrated commanders and soldiers under their command. Some key individuals that are known to be human rights abusers are Colonel Peter Karim, General Bosco Ntaganda, Colonel Cobra Matata, and Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda.

(20.) Greg Mills and Terry McNamee, The African Military in the 21st Century. Sixth Tswalu Dialogue, 3-6 May 2007 (The Brenthurst Foundation, 2007).

(21.) African armies are also infamously known for the private security roles they can play for well-positioned political and economic elites. Mobutu used his DSP, Israeli trained, elite forces to maintain his regime for 32 years. As national armies like the FAZ began to decay, there was an equal shift towards a rise in private security forces utilized far a variety of political and economic purposes. The most well known example is Executive Outcomes in South Africa and the part it played in the Angolan civil war, and more recently in the Sierra Leone civil war. Executive Outcomes is believed to have a variety of financial interests in a number of Southern and Central African countries. Herbert M. Howe, Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States (Boulder, CO; London: Lynne Rienner, 2001).

(22.) Michela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo (New York: Harper Perennial, 2002).

(23.) Article 188. Constitution of The Democratic Republic of Congo: <>.

(24.) Human Rights Watch, "We Will Crush You:" The Restriction of Political Space in the Democratic Republic of Congo, (Human Rights Watch, November 25, 2008).

(25.) Amnesty International, Democratic Republic of Congo: North Kivu: No end to war on women and children (AFR 62/005/2008, September 28, 2008); International Crisis Group, Congo: A Comprehensive Strategy to Disarm the FDLR, Africa Report No 151 (International Crisis Group, July 9, 2009).

(26.) Michael Desch, "Threat, Environments and Military Missions," quoted in Herbert M. Howe, Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States (Boulder, CO; London: Lynne Rienner, 2001), p. 30.

(27.) For one example, although there are several, I refer to Bosco Ntaganda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The CNDP were previously under the command and control of General Laurent Nkunda, who remains under house arrest in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Although theoretically integrated into the rank of the CNDP, Ntaganda's CNDP continues to have one foot in, and one foot out as they control key zones of Masisi, a portion of Rutshuru, southern Lubero, and Walikale territories through the use of illegal taxation. Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1998-2003 conflict. Presently Ntaganda remains in the FARDC as the DRC state argues that it is pursuing an approach of peace before justice.

(28.) The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) is the rebel movement that toppled President Mobutu Sese Seko and brought Laurent Kabila to power in the First Congo War (1996-1997). As stated in footnote 27, the CNDP is under the command of Bosco Ntaganda, formerly Laurent Nkunda. The Movement for Liberation of the Congo (MLC) is the former rebel movement led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, now the second largest political party in parliament. The Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) is the formerly Rwandan-backed rebel movement that was formed in 1998 by Ugandan and Rwandan interests and led by former Vice-President Azarias Ruberwa. The Congolese Rally for Democracy-Movement of Liberation (RCD-K/ML) is a faction of the RCD that split from the Goma-based movement in March 1999 and was led by Mbusa Nyamwisi. The Congolese Rally for Democracy-National (RCD-N) split from RCD-K/ ML and was backed by Uganda. The RCD-Goma is a faction that broke away from the RCD in June 2002 and was led by Kin-Kiey Mulumba. RCD-authentique is a faction of the RCD, but it is unknown who commanded the RCD-authentique. The Mai-Mai are the local auto-defense groups that have risen up against a perceived external threat.

(29.) International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo (International Crisis Group: Brussels/Nairobi, 2006). Under Laurent-Desire Kabila this unit was known as the Special Group for Presidential Security (Groupe special de securite presidentielle, GSSP).

(30.) For an example, see the excellent coverage by the International Crisis Group on the 2006 election fallout between President Kabila's GR and Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba's MLC forces. International Crisis Group, Securing Congo's Elections: Lessons from the Kinshasa Showdown, Africa Briefing No 42 (International Crisis Group: Brussels/Nairobi, October 2, 2006).

(31.) Author interview with MONUC Humanitarian Affairs official, Goma, (May 2006).

(32.) I will refer to brassage as SSR for the remainder of the article.

(33.) International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo (International Crisis Group: Brussels/Nairobi, 2006), p. 18.

(34.) Jacques Ebenga and Thierry N'Landu, "The Congolese National Army: In search of an identity," in Martin Rupiya, (ed.), Evolutions & Revolutions A Contemporary History of Militaries in Southern Africa (Institute for Security Studies: Pretoria, South Africa, 2005), p. 68. Under Mobutu the Defense and Zairian Armed Forces Act of 1977 authorized him to have direct control over the FAZ, essentially politicizing the army and removing any autonomy that it once had.

(35.) In 2003/2004, the CONADER office in North Kivu province, for example, argued that they would need enough funding up front to carry out a project of integration that would last for ten years. In the view of the administrators it would take a minimum ten years to fully integrate all of the armed belligerents. MONUC personnel and NGOs balked at this timetable and merely saw this as an attempt to extort money from international donors. It was agreed that brassage should take no more than three years (author's interview, March 2006).

(36.) Henri Boshoff, "Update on the status of army integration in the DRC" (Pretoria, South: Institute for Security Studies, September 2, 2005).

(37.) Laura Davis notes in February 2009 that 160,000 soldiers were on the current payroll, and between 20,000-30,000 soldiers are considered "ghosts," non-existent soldiers. Laura Davis, Justice-Sensitive Security System Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo, IFP Security Cluster Country case study: DRC (International Alert; International Center for Transitional Justice, February 2009).

(38.) Roger Kibasomba, "Post-war Defense Integration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." ISS Paper I 19 (Institute for Security Studies: Pretoria, South Africa, December 2005), p. 6.

(39.) The international community and bi-lateral partners pressed the DRC state to complete SSR before national elections in 2005.

(40.) As previously noted, CONADER and other national politicians were arguing for a ten-year period to integrate and re-train FARDC brigades, but the international community argued that they would not be willing to fund a ten-year program, because the process would most likely bleed corruption and stolen monies, ultimately hindering SSR and likely prolonging the process.

(41.) Estimates in 2004/2005 varied on the size of the FARDC ranging from 150,000-340,000. The problem with these estimates is that conflict was still occurring throughout the Kivus and Bunia, and local militias continued to attract new combatants. For more information see: International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo (Brussels/Nairobi: International Crisis Group, 2006).

(42.) According to MONUC reports in March 2010, an estimated 60,000 FARDC soldiers are close to retirement. United Nations, Thirty-first report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2010/164 (New York: United Nations, March 30, 2010). Most security consultants have stated and agree that approximately 75,000-90,000 troops should suffice for the DRC.

(43.) Henri Boshoff, "The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A never-ending story!" (The Institute for Security Studies: Pretoria, South Africa, July 2, 2007), p. 3; Amnesty International, Democratic Republic of Congo: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Reform of the Army, AFR 62/001/2007 (January 25, 2007), p. 48.

(44.) Thomas Turner, The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth & Reality (London; New York: Zed Books, 2007), p. 131.

(45.) Amnesty International, Democratic Republic of Congo: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Reform of the Army, AFR 62/001/2007 (January 25, 2007), p. 48.

(46.) Mixage, or mixing, was the state's attempt to not fully integrate, but rather mix, General Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) into the FARDC. The plan was to mix the CNDP into the formal structure of the FARDC by creating six new brigades. These new brigades would be considered a part of the FARDC, but would remain in the Kivus, primarily in North Kivu, and remain under CNDP leadership. Despite the attempt, mixage was over before it really began, and on 5 May 2007 Laurent Nkunda denounced the process and President Kabila. The end result was heightened violence and insecurity throughout the region. Henri Boshoff, "The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A never-ending story!,"

(47.) MONUC was heavily criticized for its direct support of FARDC brigades that were under the command of known human rights abusers. Human Rights Watch uncovered that over 1,400 civilians were killed between January and September 2009 alone. See Human Rights Watch. ""You Will be Punished:" Attacks on Civilians in Eastern Congo," (December 13, 2009). < reports/2009/12/14/you-will-be-punished>.

(48.) Amani Leo, or Peace Today in Swahili, is the ongoing attempt to address the FDLR threat in the Kivus. There has been some attempt to address concerns that abusive commanders and elements within the FARDC receive no logistical support from MONUC, but this continues to be little more than window dressing. Abuses continue to be rife throughout the region as organizations like Human Rights Watch and Oxfam regularly point out the abuses taking place. See: Human Rights Watch, "DR Congo: Congolese Groups Demand the Removal of Abusive Army Commander" (March 1, 2010): <>.

(49.) Radio Okapi, "Walikale: la situation securitaire toujours preoccupante," Radio Okapi, April 30, 2010: < actualite/2010/04/30/walikale-la-situation-securitaire-toujourspreoccupante/>; Radio Okapi, "Fizi: a Babwari, la population paie les taxes a la fois a l'Etat et au groupe Mai-Mai Yakutumba," Radio Okapi, May 10, 2009: < fizi-a-babwari-la-population-paie-les-taxes-a-la-fois-a-l'etat-et-au-groupe-mai-mai-yakutumba/>.

(50.) United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2010/512 (New York: United Nations, October 8, 2010).

(51.) Charles Mwando Nsimba, ex-Governor of North Kivu province has been calling for the state to rethink the entire SSR process. Mwando Nsimba has been calling for the state to put in place a more targeted approach towards SSR. The process would take approximately ten years to Complete according to Mwando Nsimba. "FARDC: Mwando Nsimba propose une reforme etalee sur dix ans." Radio Okapi. 2 October 2009. < fardc-mwando-nsimba-propose-une-reforme-etalee-sur-dix-ans/>

(52.) Human Rights Watch, Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo, SBN: 1-56432-510-5 (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch, July 16, 2009): < en/reports/2009/07/16/soldiers-who-rape-commanders-who-condone-0>.

(53.) Amnesty International, Torture and killings by state security agents still endemic, AI Index: AFR 62/012/2007 (October 2007), p. 2.

(54.) Ibid.

(55.) David Smith, "Congo conflict: 'The Terminator' lives in luxury while peacekeepers look on," The Guardian, February 5, 2010: <>.

(56.) A major source of tension and frustration with Congolese is that there has been so much focus placed on the eastern DRC at the expense of the western provinces. Humanitarian and aid agencies have primarily focused on the Kivus and Ituri, as well as northern Katanga and Maniema provinces. This has led to increased tensions in Kinshasa as well as violence in recent months in Bandundu and Equateur provinces. In addition, Bas-Congo was the site of a vicious FARDC crackdown in 2009. The point here is that international aid agencies and MONUC continue to treat the symptoms of the problem rather than addressing the root causes of each of these issues. Some of the issues are rooted in political exclusion by the state, while others are rooted in local histories as in the case of North Kivu province, but all of these issues are the result of bad governance and political mismanagement at all levels of the political system.

(57.) It should be noted that General Kakwavu was recently arrested in March 2010, and is currently being held in Kinshasa Central Prison for charges relating to rape and sexual violence.

(58.) Human Rights Watch, "D.R. Congo: Army Should Not Appoint War Criminals: Congolese Government Must Investigate and Prosecute Warlords, Not Reward Them," (January 13, 2005): <>. "Germain Katanga is a newly appointed General in the FARDC, and Leader of the Patriotic Force of Resistance in Ituri (Forces des Resistance Patriotique d'Ituri, or FRPI). According to witnesses, Germain Katanga helped lead one of the largest massacres in Ituri, that at Nyakunde Hospital in September 2002. Over a ten-day period his Ngiti combatants (later known as the FRPI) together with soldiers from the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-ML) systematically slaughtered at least 1,200 Hema and other civilians selected on the basis of their ethnicity.

(59.) Institute for Security Studies, "Towards A Legacy Of Impunity In The Great Lakes Region: Two Militia Leaders Appointed Army Colonels In DRC," (November 07, 2006): < ?link_id=14&slink_id=3809&link_type=12&slink_type=12&tmpl id=3>.

(60.) Human Rights Watch, "DR Congo: Complaint Against Lt. Col. Innocent Zimurinda," March 1, 2010: < 2010/03/01/complaint-against-It-col-innocent-zimurinda>.

(61.) United Nations Press Release,"Massacres continue in Congo at hands of armed groups and Congolese army", says UN expert," October 15. 2009: < DRC%20press%20release%2015%20Oct%2020091.pdf>.

(62.) United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2008/693 (New York: United Nations, November 10, 2008).

(63.) United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2007/391 (New York: United Nations, June 28, 2007).

(64.) The BBC on 10 November 2010 reports that the chief of staff in charge of the infantry (second in command of the FARDC) Gen Gabriel Amisi Kumba (alias "Tango Fort") has been defying a recent presidential ban on mining. General Amisi is reported to be forcefully supporting a gold mining company (Geminaco) to exploit the Ornate gold mine in Walikale province for an alleged 25% share in the monthly profits, which apparently Geminaco has no legal right to mine. This is significant for two reasons. First, General Amisi is widely regarded as a trusted loyalist to President Kabila. Secondly, Walikale province has been the site of some of the most violent acts in recent months, particularly as the FARDC has been engaging in more illegal mining activity. Thomas Fessy, "Congo general 'profits from blood gold,'" BBC News Africa, November 10, 2010; Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, "Field Dispatch: Behind the Ban--An Update from Congo," October 22, 2010: <>; In addition other notable commanders that are known to have committed various acts of violence against Congolese, or soldiers under their command, include: Colonel Philemon Yav, Colonel Delphin Kahimbi, Lieutenant Colonel Jean Pierre Biyoyo, Colonel Samy Matumo, Colonel Innocent Kaina, and Colonel Bernard Byamungu. All of these commanders operate freely in the FARDC despite their dubious past records.

(65.) Umoja Wetu means Our Unity in Swahili. Umoja Wetu was a joint Congolese-Rwandese plan launched in January 2009 to dislodge the FDLR from their strongholds in Masisi and Rutshuru provinces. The fallout from the campaign has been disastrous. Once the campaign ended the FDLR regrouped and began to severely punish the local population.

(66.) Kimia II (means calm in Swahili) was a joint operation between the FARDC and MONUC peacekeepers that agreed to support the logistics of the campaign, as well as provide transportation to the FARDC. MONUC stated that they would not support units that were under the command of known individuals responsible for human rights abuses. However, despite these claims Bosco Ntaganda and his loyalists operated freely with others like Colonel Zimurinda.

(67.) Human Rights Watch, Always on the Run: The Vicious Cycle of Displacement in Eastern Congo, ISBN: 1-56432-677-2 (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch September 14, 2010): Human Rights Watch, NK " 2009/07/16/soldiers-who-rape-commanders-who-condone-O"Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ISBN: 156432-510-5 (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch, July 16, 2009).

(68.) According to Human Rights Watch the terms of the mixage accord were not written down, nor made public, it allegedly established six objectives to which Nkunda agreed to abide by. The objectives were: Laurent Nkunda's troops would be integrated--mixed--with the Congolese army troops present in North Kivu; The mixed troops would be deployed locally rather than sent somewhere else in the Congo; Eventually all these troops would be fully integrated with the rest of the Congolese army and would be deployed outside North Kivu; The mixed brigades would conduct military operations against the FDLR; The anticipated defeat of the FDLR and restoration of local security would make possible the prompt return of Congolese refugees from Rwanda; Nkunda was to leave Congo for a year or so in South Africa, on the pretext of pursuing further military training. Human Rights Watch, Renewed Crisis in North Kivu, Volume 19, no. 17 (A), (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch, October 2007), pp. 16-17. By contrast, the International Crisis Group reported that only four objectives were actually agreed upon: After implementation of the ceasefire and establishment of the mixed brigades, the latter would deal with the FDLR; The Congolese refugees in Byumba, Kibuye, Ngarama, Nkamira and Cyangugu in Rwanda, Gatumba in Burundi and Nyakivara in Uganda would start returning home, and robust action would be taken to facilitate their resettlement; The mixed brigades would be fully integrated only when these conditions had been met and the integration process improved; The government and the CNDP would hold direct talks. International Crisis Group, Congo: Bringing Peace to North Kivu, Africa Report No 133-31 (Brussels/Nairobi: International Crisis Group, October 2007), p. 10.

(69.) Henri Boshoff, ""The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A never-ending story!" (Pretoria, South Africa: The Institute for Security Studies, July 2, 2007), p. 4.

(70.) It should be noted that the FARDC Commander Sultani Makenga of Bravo Brigade has been cited by the United Nations as systematically recruiting child soldiers from Rwanda. Throughout the mixage process he obstructed child protection agents, and at one point threatened their lives. United Nations., Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2007/391 (New York: United Nations, June 28, 2007), pp. 8-10.

(71.) Ibid., pp. 6-9.

(72.) Human Rights Watch, Renewed Crisis in North Kivu, Volume 19, no. 17 (A) (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch, October 2007), p. 20.

(73.) Ibid., p. 19.

(74.) International Crisis Group, Congo: Bringing Peace to North Kivu, Africa Report No 133-31 (Brussels/Nairobi: International Crisis Group, October 2007), p. 9.

(75.) Henri Boshoff, ""The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A never-ending story!" (Pretoria, South Africa: The Institute for Security Studies, July 2, 2007), p. 5. The government formally ended the mixage process on May 11, 2007.

(76.) American Association for the Advancement of Science, Evidence of Destruction in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2009): <>.

(77.) Human Rights Watch, ""You Will be Punished:" Attacks on Civilians in Eastern Congo" (New York; Washington; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch, December 13, 2009), pp. 45-46.

(78.) United Nations Security Council Resolution 1925, adopted on May 28, 2010, officially changed the name and function of MONUC as a peacekeeping mission to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite the name change and mandate, the function of MONUSCO has changed very little.

(79.) There continues to be ongoing concern and debate that Bosco Ntaganda and his former-CNDP troops will flee the FARDC if the state pursues any attempt to arrest him for his crimes. The ex-CNDP troops are viewed as having one foot in the door, and one foot out as their influence and presence is still quite prevalent in Masisi territory and other North Kivu zones. If the CNDP does decide to exit, conflict and instability would likely erupt.

By Aaron Hale *

* Aaron Hale is Adjunct Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, at The Whitehead School of Diplomacy, Seton Hall University. Please direct all correspondence to:
Table 1: Plan for Military Integration (38)

Phase            Period              Training       Training and
                                      targets      mixing Centres

1        December 2006-June 2005   21,552 troops   Kitona

2        June-September 2005       21,500 troops   To be deeded

3        August-December 2005      20,000 hoops    To be decided

Total    12 months                 63,052 troops

Phase        Destination           Strength

1        Kinshasa              1 brigade
         Kamina                1 brigade
         Ituri                 1 brigade
         Nord-Kivu             1 brigade
         Nord-Kivu             1 brigade
         Sud Kivu              1 brigade

2        Conflict zones and    6 brigades
         other regions

3        Remaining regions     6 brigades?

Total    11 military regions   18 to 19 brigades

Table 2: Projected Mixage Deployment (69)

Name         Compromising             Mixage       Commander

A Brigade    83 Brigade (Nkunda)      Kitchanga    Colonel
             110 Brigade                           Mosala

B Brigade    110 Brigade, 1 Reserve   Chengerero   Colonel
             Brigade                               Makenga
             Colonel Makenga's

C Brigade    81 Brigade (Nkunda)      Mushake      Colonel Yav
             1 Reserve Brigade

D Brigade    116 Brigade (Nkunda)     Kitchanga    Colonel Padiri
             83 Brigade (FARDC)

E Brigade    116 Brigade (FARDC)      Kitchanga    Colonel
             Left over                             Faustin

Name         Current

A Brigade    Nyanzale

B Brigade    Rwindi

C Brigade    Masisi

D Brigade    Coma

E Brigade    Wallkali
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Title Annotation:POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE THIRD WORLD; Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Author:Hale, Aaron
Publication:Journal of Third World Studies
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:6ZAIR
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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