Congo rebels attack, force voters to tick Kabila successor Shadary

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Nduma Defence of Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) was created by Guidon Shimiray Mwissa in 2015.

Reports from Democratic Republic of Congo indicate that rebel groups took advantage of the voting day Sunday to attack, dislodge each other and dictate to voters who to choose for the country’s next president.

This is according to Christoph Vogel, a researcher and writer at the University of Zurich’s Political Geography unit and the director of suluhu.org, an emerging consulting and research collective that has been teaching at several Congolese universities.

Vogel who served as armed groups expert in the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo under Security Council resolutions 2293 (2016) and 2360 (2017), is well-versed with mineral conflicts and armed groups in the massive Central African nation.

In a series of tweets on his official twitter handle @ethuin, Vogel said as Congo was heading for the polls this morning, “Guidon’s NDC-Rénové kicked the CNRD (main splinter group of the FDLR) out of their HQ in Faringa, south-western ends of Rutshuru territory”.

Victoria University

According to his biographies of armed groups, Nduma Defence of Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) was created by Guidon Shimiray Mwissa in 2015.

After consolidating power around Sheka’s former strongholds in northeastern Walikale territory, Guidon’s faction began attacking the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda [FDLR] created by pre-genocide Rwandan army and managed to gain control over numerous mining sites.

Sheka Ntabo Ntaberi, a former mineral trader in Walikale territory, is the founder of Nduma Defence of Congo (NDC), one of the main Mai-Mai groups to emerge from the Nyanga community in recent years.

In coalition with various Nande and Kobo militias under the umbrella term Mai-Mai Mazembe, including the now defunct Union des patriotes pour la défense des innocents (UPDI), Guidon pushed the FDLR out of most of north-eastern Walikale.

Since 2016, Guidon has expanded his zone of influence into southern Lubero where his group became involved in the lucrative gold trade in areas previously controlled by FDLR and Lafontaine’s Union des patriotes congolais pour la paix (UPCP).

The group that Guidon’s fighters dispatched Sunday is called Conseil national pour le renouveau et la démocratie (CNRD)-Ubwiyunge led by Colonel Wilson Irategeka.

The CNRD broke off from the FDLR in May 2016 after a long-standing disagreement over political questions, such as the fate of Rwandan refugees in eastern Congo. The CNRD took over all of the FDLR’s South Kivu units.

According to Vogel, today’s incursion happened in Kivu province in parts of northern Masisi when a coalition of NDC-Rénové troops led by Guidon and the new APCLS splinter faction led by Mapenzi dislodged an FDLR splinter known as CNRD and controlled access to voting in various polling stations.

“While NDC-R/APCLS-R pushed people to vote for Shadary, in part of Bwito (western Rutshuru), the anti-Kinshasa wing of Nyatura groups (i.e. those allied to the FDLR) has controlled access to polling on their sides by preventing voters to vote for Shadary,” Vogel said.

President Joseph Kabila’s successor and former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is under sanctions from the European Union, is up against two main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

Amid rainy weather in the capital, Kinshasa, Kabila and Shadary voted at the central Gombe Institute polling station.

Vogel said with violence at the peak, there result of the Congo election hoped to show a peaceful transfer of power since 1960 is yet to be seen.

Vogel was a Senior Fellow with the Congo Research Group of the New York University‘s Center on International Cooperation and an Associated Lecturer at University of Cologne’s Institute for African Studies.

He has also worked for the Rift Valley Institute’s Usalama Projects I and II as well as for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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