January 6, 2020

DRC Army Claims “Malicious People With Secessionist Ambitions” in Eastern Congo

This banner in Beni put up by FARDC reads: “No to balkanization of my country, Yes to national unity! I am FARDC”

DR Congo military has in a carefully worded statement joined the Catholic Church – also evoking a plan by “malicious people” to break off part of the country’s territory.

The statement by FARDC spokesman Maj Gen Kasonga Cibangu Léon-Richard reads in part: “The FARDC confirms it is aware and sufficiently documented on the scheme mounted by the enemies of the nation aimed at discouraging them in the pursuit and execution of their mission. What is happening in the greater north is nothing but a machination by malicious people with secessionist ambitions”.

According to Maj Gen Kasonga, the plan is create a collapse of legitimate institutions “in order to take political and administrative control of [greater Kivu] and thus concretize the balkanization”.

“We also invite the population to be more vigilant and to dissociate themselves from these insurgents by fully supporting their army,” said Gen Kasongo.

The latest statement by FARDC follows comments that have been widely reported globally in which head of the Catholic Church in DRC Cardinal Ambongo also said last week that there was a plan to break away eastern DRC from Bunia in far north down to Fizi neighboring Burundi.

FARDC has also launched a campaign in eastern Congo in which banners and billboards are being erected beaming with messages of support for the military. Some have messages that read: “I am FARDC”, or “No To Balkanization of Congo”.

However, there is a noticeable difference between what FARDC is saying about “balkanization” and what was said by the Catholic Church and former Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito.

The army for its part says there are individuals who want to secede the “grand nord du Kivu” (greater north of the Kivu) referring to Butembo and Beni in north Kivu province.

On the hand, the Catholic Church and Muzito clearly said the balkanisation project is foreign-led and is aimed at cutting of all areas bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Muzito was more pointed, categorically naming Rwanda as the one behind this project, and actually called for war to take over Rwanda and make it part of Congo.

There has been no official response from government of Rwanda to Muzito and DRC Catholic Church, except for social media posts by Rwandans and officials dismissing Muzito as dreaming. Some wondered what kind of drugs he was consuming.

More banners of support for the FARDC
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