Several shops have been looted by an army of over 500 rebels formerly aligned to the Nduma Defense of Congo—Renovated, a militia that operates in the eastern Democratic Republic. These fighters had voluntarily surrendered but have been abandoned and claim they are hungry.
The looting took place on Sunday at Kabaya Market in 50km North of Goma in Rutshuru region- residents are now living in a lot of fear and panic suspecting anything worse may happen.
According to provincial deputy Élie Nzaghani these fighters were not taken care of by the authorities and fell back on the population. They had previously surrendered to government forces but their welfare is not catered for.
“We have seen that those who have responded favourably to the Head of State’s call for the pacification of the country are unfortunately abandoned. They systematically looted the property of the population in the middle of the Kabaya market. There were even injuries. Imagine more than 500 rebels that are abandoned like this by the central government. And we wonder, what is the real plan to pacify the East when the people who have made a good decision to leave the bush are instead abandoned, “wondered Nzaghani.
Last August, more than 500 NDC-R militiamen loyal to Gilbert Bwira surrendered to authorities in Masisi following clashes with fighters loyal to Guidon Shimiray in Walikale region. And they were taken to the Rumagabo military camp to be quartered there. The fighters also handed over 90 weapons.
Since then, the provincial government of North Kivu has assisted them twice with food and non-food items. Several political and civil society activists have since denounced the poor conditions in which these former rebels live.
“There are those who say that it has become a business for some Congolese officers. These former rebels have to be handled correctly. We fear that these people will return to the bush. Even those who are still in the forest will lag behind simply because their colleagues are not taken care of. We therefore call on the government of Kinshasa, which must take care,” said Nzaghani.
What is this Group Nduma Defense of Congo?
NDC-R was created by a former Nduma Defense of Congo deputy Guidon in September 2014. In January 2015 group expanded into Lubero Territory. In December 2015 they captured FDLR bases in Mumo and Rushiye. On 25 December 2018 NDC-R attacked CNRD in Faringa.
On 7 June 2019, the Office of the Military Prosecutor of North Kivu issued a warrant for Guidon’s arrest, however Congolese authorities have not acted on it. On 30 October 2019 NDC-R attacked CMC alliance capturing Katsiru, Kiyeye, Kitunda, Maziza, JTN, Kayangare and Mbuhi villages in Rutshuru Territory. On 7 November group has regained control over Mweso, major economic crossroads in Masisi Territory. Its headquarters are located in Pinga, Walikale Territory.
The UN stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) evacuates victims of the battle between the two factions of the NDC-R for the control of Pinga, 21 July 2020. On 8 July 2020, the NDC-R split in two factions, one loyal to Guidon and the other led by Gilbert Bwira Shuo, former deputy commander of the NDC-R.