Militias suspected to be attached to Rwanda National Congress [RNC] rebels led by former Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa have been obliterated in the jungles of the neighbouring Congo.
According to reports, some of those killed or captured in a deadly ambush as they headed to North Kivu, include top RNC commanders.
RNC rebel group top brass included; Col Sibomana “Sibo” Charles and Col Habib Madathiru.
Others like Kayumba Rugema, Sande Charles and Felix Mwizerwa were redeployed and haven’t been in Congo jungles for a while now.
“Sibo” was killed recently in Eastern DRC during operations against armed groups.
Congo’s national army has not officially spoken out on these operations but it is believed Captain Sibo was gunned down along with several of RNC recruits while dozens were captured.
Habib was captured alive after he suffered gunshot wounds. A one Ntare and Parfait are still on the run.
How it happened
Kayumba’s RNC groups developed misunderstandings about the conditions there were living in. Some claims that their instructors were using Luganda which is not known to the combatants.
There were also uneasy tensions with Col. Kanyemera, according to the information from the group (Radio Inyenyeri).
Apparently, Kayumba ordered the killing of Kanyemera’s old brother back in 1991. Kanyamera was aware of his brother’s killer.
Then Kayumba was informed that Kanyemera is the brother of the RPA solider that he had ordered killed.
According to the source, when Kayumba became aware of that fact, he ordered Habib and Sibo to neutralise Kanyamera.
Habib also ordered Ntare to organise the killing of Kanyemera. But this didn’t go well.
They tied Kanyemera’s arms behind his back [Kandoya] but a group of Banyamulenge and non-Kayumba loyalists rescued him before he could be disposed of.
That is when the rebellion started within the group back in April 2019. Then two opposing groups emerged.
So, Kayumba’s group which included Habibu and Col Sibo etc was told or instructed by Franc Ntwari, Kayumba’s brother-in-law to travel to North Kivu to join the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD).
RUD was formed by the late General Musare who was murdered by the Mai Mai. Today, RUD is led by Col. Jean Michel Ndindabahizi.
The journey from South to North Kivu was impossible to make my foot.
According the reliable information, they requested about 40000 USD to enable them to bribe the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [FARDC] soldiers to allow them pass. But Ntwari refused.
So, they decided to walk to North Kivu on foot, without food or money to bribe FARDC and other militias for safe passage through their territory.
The group set out from Bijago village at Bijago, in Minembwe Komune in Fizi Territwari Country. The group left with 200 – 310 fighters in April 2019.
So, the Kanyemera group and Gen. Rutatengwa and Kabandana stayed behind.
The current battle in Minembwe is between different factions of Mai Mai, Red Tabara and on another side – Kanyemera and Banyamulenge.
There is also an allegation of Rwanda army involvement though not substantiated.
Fast forward, Kayumba’s group led by the Commander Habib and Charles Sibo wanted to join RUD-Urunana in Rucuru in North Kivu.
They had to walk for almost a month through Kauzi jungles.
According to reliable information, the group reached a place called Kelehe Teritwari on 5 May 2019.
They camped at this place for about 10 days, purposely to get rest. They were staying at someone’s place whose name was not revealed for his security.
However, the information about the group had already leaked to the FARDC General Innocent Gahizi. It is said that Gahizi informed Rwanda government and in return they sent about 210 soldiers – mainly ex-FDLR combatants that lay in ambush to intercept the group.
This is where the first battle erupted in Kuazi Territory. In the fight, it is believed that a DRC or RDF soldier by the name Satema was badly injured.
Kayumba’s group lost three soldiers while four others were badly injured. The Kayumba regrouped and continued their journey under the guide of Major Eric G4.
On their way, the group lost and Major Eric G4 was left with 18 soldiers with one gun. Major Eric G4 and his group spend a night at Delta of Mai Mai Nyatura.
Then information was leaked to General Innocent Gahizi, who then called Delta, Mai Mai Nyatura to handover Eric G4 and threatened Delta with severe consequences if he fails to do so.
At the point, Eric G4 though had support from another FARDC soldier called Col. Zayirwa. Col. Zayirwa is hailed from North Kivu.
He is believed to be the brother of North Kivu Ex-Governor Serufuri and is the one that replaced Katembo in Ninembwe.
Col. Zayirwa went to pick up Eric G4 with his team, promising to help them with an escape route.
Instead, he took them to Goma where they were handed over to The United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [MONUSCO].
Meanwhile, the other group continued their journey with the help of Mai Mai Nyatura militia called Janvier.
Sibo killed and Habibu captured
However, information was also leaked to General Innocent Gahizi who ordered Congo army to monitor their movements ad laid ambush at Miyanja and Katosi in Masisi.
FARDC was being supported by another Mai Mai Nudume Ndume militia Komanda Guido Ziyita.
These are the points where Sibo Second-in-Command of Kayumba group was killed. It is also the place that Commander Habib was shot and captured. Their followers were either killed or captured.
At this point Commander Janvier, leader of another faction of Mai Mai group came to the rescue of Kayumba’s group with 52 militias. They too were captured by the FARDC.
This also a place where Major Musa and his father were captured. But his further died later. It is said that Major Musa was the one that used to receive direct instructions from South Africa where Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa is based.
Gen Nyamwasa who was once a commander in the Rwanda Defence Forces [RDF], the national army of Rwanda has been running the military wing of his RNC outfit in the jungles of Congo.
They were apparently based in Minembwe, a territory occupied by Banyamulenge, a Tutsi community that has inhabited the eastern side of the vast Congo.
The few remaining rebels still on the run that include Ntare and many others, according to Inyeneri News, are believed to be seeking help to get out of Congo.
According to reliable sources, there were three battles going on. One at Minembwe that involved Kanyemera, Rutetagwa and Kabandana group and other two at Kauzi and Miyanja and Katoyi in Masisi territory that involved the Kayumba group, FARDC and Mai Mai Ndume Ndume.