Think Africa Press | DRC: Ntaganda’s Virtual Fiefdom Becomes a Theatre of War Once More
By: Jessica Hatcher
Gisenyi, Rwanda: ”Havoc as Congolese flee the ‘Terminator’”, read the BBC headline on May 11. The image of the 20,000 Congolese citizens running from an indicted war criminal dubbed the ‘Terminator’ is certainly more dramatic and straightforward than the story of clashes between government soldiers and a few hundred national army defectors complaining of pay disputes and poor living conditions.
Indeed, the reality on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is deeply complex and uncertain with experts even disagreeing on whether Bosco “The Terminator” Ntaganda, a warlord-turned-general, is in fact directing the new rebel group of defectors currently fighting the national army.
Ntaganda was the second-in-command of the Tutsi rebel group CNDP until 2009 when he brokered an undisclosed deal with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and the DRC’s President Joseph Kabila to integrate his troops into the national army and take over the command of the North Kivu region. Despite being officially integrated into the national army, however, CNDP soldiers maintained a parallel leadership structure that ultimately took orders from Ntaganda.