Congo army has confirmed that one of its top commanders defected from government troops to join rebels.
“The FARDC confirm the defection of Colonel Michel Rukunda, 2nd CO of the Walikale sector, to join the maquis where he allegedly took the head of an identity armed group known as “Ngumino”,” the army spokesperson General Leon Kasonga said.
He added: “Rukunda is now considered an enemy of the DRC.”
The defection was confirmed on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. Colonel Rukunda aka “Makanika” was the Second Commander of the Walikale Sector in North Kivu province.
Makanika was previously the second in charge of operations and intelligence in the Walikale sector in North Kivu.
He joined the Uvira and Fizi Highlands in the south of South Kivu.
Before joining the FARDC in 2011, he was head of the military branch of the Banyamulenge rebellion of the Forces Républicaines Fédéralistes (FRF).
He is expected to take command of the armed group Ngumino (another group in this community) after the death of one of its Semahurungure leaders killed last September by Mayi-Mayi elements in Minembwe in Fizi territory.