Bosco's Rebellion and the Battle for Justice in Eastern Congo

An Enough Project Timeline - May 3, 2012 - Concluding its first-ever trial, a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court issues a verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga, finding him guilty of recruiting child soldiers. Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, was found guilty of recruiting, training, and using child soldiers in conflict. His deputy, Bosco Ntaganda, also faces similar charges at the ICC, however, he remains un-apprehended as a general in the Congolese Army, or FARDC.To provide context behind the events surrounding Ntaganda’s recent defection, the Enough Project has produced a new timeline chronicling the major occurrences since the conviction of Ntaganda’s former commander, Thomas Lubanga, by the ICC for three counts of war crimes. The timeline details the actions of Ntaganda, as well as the other defections, troop movements, diplomatic efforts, international involvement and clashes between the mutinous soldiers and the Congolese Army.

In a letter sent today (May 3, 2012) to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a coalition of 142 Congolese and international human rights organizations—including the Enough Project, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and 132 Congolese civil society organizations—called on the U.S. to provide urgent diplomatic leadership supporting the governments of Congo and Rwanda in the arrest of the notorious warlord Bosco Ntaganda.;xNLx;;xNLx;The broad collection of groups stresses that the time is ripe for Congo to heed growing domestic and international pressure to arrest the wanted war criminal. ;xNLx;;xNLx;In the letter, the coalition calls on the U.S. to:;xNLx;;xNLx; * Support the Congolese government to plan and carry out the arrest of Ntaganda;xNLx; * Pressure the government of Rwanda, which has backed Ntaganda in the past, to support the arrest and not provide him with sanctuary;xNLx; * Prioritize comprehensive security sector reform in Congo;xNLx;;xNLx;The letter states:;xNLx;;xNLx; We now await concrete action to lawfully arrest Ntaganda in a manner which protects civilians from any potential fallout. Improved security for the population, based on the rule of law, begins with his arrest and it cannot wait any longer. The failure to arrest Ntaganda is a source of anxiety and trauma for the population of eastern Congo who fear he could launch a new wave of violence and human rights abuses as he has done in the past.;xNLx;;xNLx;Identical letters were sent to Secretary Clinton’s diplomatic counterparts in Europe, urging those countries to also pressure the Congolese government to take steps toward ending impunity and bringing Ntaganda to justice. These letters illustrate the global consensus surrounding the need for Ntaganda’s arrest.;xNLx;;xNLx;Organizations in Europe, North America, and Africa have united in the belief that peace in the Congo cannot be achieved without justice. To achieve lasting peace in Congo impunity must end, civilians must be protected not preyed upon by security forces, and the rule of law and human rights must be respected.;xNLx;;xNLx;Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes including the recruitment of child soldiers, was until recently living with impunity in Goma as a general in the Congolese army. Last month, he defected and launched a rebellion against the government from his stronghold in eastern Congo. This action has heightened tensions in the region, sparking increased pressure on the Congolese government to arrest Ntaganda. The U.S. and international community should take advantage of this opportune moment and maximize support for his arrest.;xNLx;;xNLx;To contextualize the events surrounding Ntaganda’s recent defection, the Enough Project has produced a new timeline chronicling major occurrences since the ICC convicted Ntaganda’s former commander, Thomas Lubanga, on three counts of war crimes. The timeline details the actions of Ntaganda, as well as the other defections, troop movements, diplomatic efforts, international involvement and clashes between the mutinous soldiers and the Congolese Army.

2012-03-14 00:00:00

Thomas Lubanga Verdict

Concluding its first-ever trial, a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court issues a verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga, finding him guilty of recruiting child soldiers. Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, was found guilty of recruiting, training, and using child soldiers in conflict. His deputy, Bosco Ntaganda, also faces similar charges at the ICC, however, he remains un-apprehended as a general in the Congolese Army, or FARDC.

2012-03-23 00:00:00

Army Seminar

The Congolese army invites ex-CNDP and other FARDC commanders to attend a seminar at army headquarters in Kinshasa from March 23-30, and the officers arrive back in Goma on April 1st.

2012-03-24 14:24:29

Memo of Discontent

17 colonels and lieutenant colonels send a memo of discontent to the President Joseph Kabila. The letter lays out their dissatisfaction with unimplemented promises that date back to their integration in 2009 and some basic challenges in the FARDC, including military logistics, salaries, and housing, among other grievances. The letter also includes a list further of issues that has damaged their confidence in the military hierarchy.

2012-03-28 14:24:29

Belgium calls for Arrest

The Belgian foreign minister visits Kinshasa and makes a public statement calling for Bosco Ntaganda’s arrest.

2012-03-31 14:24:29

Defections Begin

Several leading army officers close to Bosco Ntaganda defect, including Colonel Bernard Byamungu (ex-CNDP), Colonel Saddam Edmond (ex-PARECO) and Colonel Nsabimana (ex-PARECO), along with approximately 400-600 troops.

2012-03-31 14:24:29

Defections from FARDC

Certain military officers in Rutsuru and Masisi begin to defect form the FARDC.

2012-04-01 00:00:00

Kabila dispatches delegation

President Kabila dispatches a high profile FARDC delegation composed of hundreds and led by the ground forces commander General Gabriel Amisi Kumbayala in an attempt to prevent the split of Congo’s military.

2012-04-01 14:24:29

Bosco Orders Reinforcements

Bosco Ntaganda tells Colonel Felix Mugabo, the deputy commander (and his former chief bodyguard) of the 804th regiment based just north of Goma to reinforce his protection unit in Goma, and to send the rest of his troops north to Katale.

2012-04-01 14:24:29

Confrontation

FARDC troops confront several ex-PARECO commanders who are suspected of being close to Bosco Ntaganda.

2012-04-01 14:24:29

300 Soldiers desert

Close to 300 soldiers from the former rebel group the CNDP desert the Congolese army, spreading panic in the North Kivu province.

2012-04-01 14:24:29

FARDC Commander injured

Colonel Kifaru, former PARECO and now FARDC 111th regiment commander, is injured while returning from a meeting in Nyabibwe with Colonel Biyoyo.

2012-04-01 14:24:29

16 killed, 9 arrested

At least 16 deserters are killed in fighting after leaving their posts in North and South Kivu provinces, according to army spokesman Lt. Colonel Sylvain Ekenge. About 15 FARDC soldiers including 9 officers are arrested by the Ugandan army, or UPDF, across the border in Uganda, and “more than 90 percent” of the mutinous soldiers return to their bases.

2012-04-02 14:24:29

70 Desert and join former CNDP Commander

70 soldiers leave their battalion based at Lemera in Kalehe to join Colonel Biyoyo, former CNDP and now FARDC 103rd regiment commander based in Nyabibwe. Bibyoyo reportedly embezzles the FARDC funds that were channeled through him to distribute to his soldier as salary and fled North Kivu to join Bosco Ntaganda.

2012-04-04 00:00:00

Rwandans advance

500 soldiers abandon their base in Pinga in North Kivu, allowing it to be seized by Rwandan FDLR rebels with their allies of the APCLS Mai-Mai, who then advance within 2 kilometers of Masisi.

2012-04-04 14:24:29

FARDC Arrives in Goma

Hundreds of additional FARDC soldiers arrive in Goma to restore calm and prevent war.

2012-04-04 14:24:29

Congolese Army Attacks

Congolese army troops attack both Colonel Burimasu in Lulimba (Fizi territory), who flees the area, and Colonel Kifaru in Kabamba (Kalehe), who is believed to be badly injured.

2012-04-04 14:24:29

Clash between FARDC and Deserters

Fighting breaks out between loyal FARDC soldiers and deserters under the command of Colonel Saddam and Colonel Bernard Byamungu in the South Kivu town of Uvira. Colonel Delphin Kahimbi claims 10 deserters are killed in the clash.

2012-04-04 14:24:29

Troops join Bosco

Colonel Baudoin, 3rd Sector Commander previously stationed in Mushaki begins his move to Ngungu to gather troops to join Bosco Ntaganda. Baudoin unilaterally promises that all his troops will be given a one grade promotion. Troops in Mushaki come from 803rd Regiment, under command of Colonel Ngabo Alphonse.

2012-04-04 14:24:29

APCLS and FDLR expand control

The APCLS and FDLR rebel groups expand their territory to control Masisi. The APCLS doubles the area under its control.

2012-04-05 14:24:29

U.S. Pledges Support

The head of U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, U.S. General Carter Ham, says that the United States pledged to support the DRC in its efforts to reform the sector safety.

2012-04-06 14:24:29

Bosco in Goma

Bosco Ntaganda is rumored to return to Goma to meet with his followers, telling them to return to their FARDC ranks. Later in the night, Bosco flees Goma and is thought to be in Masisi, between Kilolirwe and Mushaki.

2012-04-07 14:24:29

Congolese Army Deploys

Two new FARDC battalions, one from Kindu/Maniema and another from Kananga are dispatched into Goma to counter Bosco’s insurrection

2012-04-08 00:00:00

Discussions between Intel Agency and Rwandan Army

President Kabila sends Kalev Mutond, the trusted head of the national intelligence agency, to meet with senior Rwandan officials and army officers. The ongoing discussions focus on the March 2009 peace agreement forged to officially end the rebel CNDP’s armed insurrection, which was backed by Rwanda. This agreement integrated the rebels into the army under some strict conditions, including where they would deploy.

2012-04-08 14:24:29

"India Queen" takes Bunagana

Colonel Innocent Kaina (aka India Queen), a close Ntaganda ally, briefly takes control of the border town of Bunagana (located close to the where the borders of Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda meet) before being pushed out by Congolese troops under the command of Colonel Philemon Yav.

2012-04-08 14:24:29

Defectors Flee From Bunagana

Significant numbers of defectors under the command of Colonel Innocent Kaina flee from Bunagana towards Uganda due to clashes between government loyalists and deserters.

2012-04-09 00:00:00

UN Calls for Accountability

Roger Meece, head of the UN Mission in DRC, declares that Bosco Ntaganda must answer for his actions in front of the International Criminal Court.

2012-04-09 00:00:00

FDC Splits

The FDC, which has been fighting the FDLR in Masisi/Walikale territory with alleged support of ex-CNDP elements, split into two because of the military defections; one faction supports the defecting ex-CNDP while the other faction supports the loyalists.

2012-04-09 00:00:00

Uganda detains FARDC

The Ugandan army detains 15 Congolese soldiers, including 9 officers, who crossed into the country following recent clashes between FARDC and deserters. The soldiers crossed near the town of Bunagana.

2012-04-09 14:24:29

FARDC Chief of Staff in Goma

Kabila’s Army Chief of Staff, General Didier Etumba arrives in Goma to put pressure on military leaders of the former rebel group, the CNDP, to return to the military, in line with the 2009 peace agreement that integrated the rebels into the national armed forces.

2012-04-09 14:24:29

5 attacks in 24 hours

Two policemen and one soldier are killed and three others seriously injured during an attack on the General Staff of the Congolese National Police (PNC) in Butembo in North Kivu by unidentified armed men. The city records four more cases of attack within 24 hours.

2012-04-09 22:58:40

328 soldiers return

In Uvira, South Kivu, 128 defecting soldiers reportedly return to their base with their commanders. They are all disarmed upon return. In Bunagana, 200 soldiers reportedly turn themselves. The Ugandan army reportedly captures nine mutinous senior officers.

2012-04-09 23:48:15

Colonel Bokindo Killed

Colonel Bokindo, 107th regiment commander, is killed in Kaziba.

2012-04-10 14:24:29

Deserters return to FARDC

The majority of the deserters from Bunagana (almost 80 troops) return to the army.

2012-04-10 14:24:29

Kabila Meets with Commanders

President Kabila meets with the military high commander and commanders of all units in North and South Kivu to discuss military situation in the region at the South Kivu Governor’s residence. In this meeting, they conclude that each case of defection and return would be studied individually. If the defecting soldier is in violation of the law, he will be tried in military court, if not, it will be determined what kind of military discipline will be taken on a case by case basis. The intelligence office, the police chief inspector, the General Migration Office, and the governor of South Kivu attend the meeting.

2012-04-10 14:24:29

People of Bunagana Return

More than 90% of the Bunagana population that fled towards Uganda on Sunday returns and market and other activities resume again.

2012-04-11 14:24:29

Kabila calls for arrest

President Kabila visits Goma. He calls for the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda. However, Kabila says the military does not need to hand Ntaganda over to the ICC but that he should face a military tribunal in Congo.

2012-04-11 14:24:29

Deserters Advance

The deserters from the Congolese army take Pinga, Kalembe, Bunagana and Nybiondo while the FARDC retreat to Masisi, Mweso Centres and Bwiza.

2012-04-11 14:24:29

FNL Attacks and Burundi troops retaliate

The FNL rebel group, being aware of the current turmoil in Uvira, invade and loot community members in Kiliba. In response, the 104th regiment and Burundi army troops deployed near Rukoko forest launch an attack against the FNL with heavy weapons. 18 FNL rebels are reported dead and 6 Burundian soldiers are injured. The FARDC and Burundian troops pursue the FNL.

2012-04-12 14:24:29

Kabila leaves Goma and suspends Amani Leo

President Joseph Kabila leaves Goma for Bukavu. Kabila suspends Amani Leo, the main military operation against rebels in North and South Kivu provinces, following a rash of desertions in the army. All military operations will now fall under the command of the government’s 8th military region in North Kivu province and the 10th in South Kivu.

2012-04-16 14:24:29

Bosco Builds Stronghold in Masai

Bosco Ntaganda is confirmed to be in Masisi and is developing a stronghold with the remaining loyalists. In the immediate term, it is likely that there will be a prolonged standoff between Bosco and the governments of Congo and Rwanda, which are stalling or attempting to deflect calls for arrest or action

2012-04-16 14:24:29

FDLR takes IDP camp

The FDLR rebel group takes two IDP camps in Masisi, escalating anticipation for Bosco-FDLR fighting.

2012-04-19 14:24:29

Defectors Return and are prosecuted

119 recent defectors return to South Kivu. They had been looking to join forces with Ntaganda but were intercepted by the FARDC near Masisi. Colonel Dephin Kahimbi captures the defectors and tells Enough that he is taking them to Kinshasa for prosecution.

2012-04-19 14:24:29

27 deaths in Luvungi

Mai-Mai Sheka and FARDC forces clash in Luvungi and cause the deaths of 12 FARDC and 15 Sheka fighters. These clashes were the result of allegations that Sheka is collaborating with elements of the FDC and ex-CNDP against FARDC loyalists.

2012-04-22 14:24:29

2 FARDC Colonels Killed

Government soldiers, including Walikale sector commander Colonel Chuma and Colonel Pilipili are killed in an ambush by a coalition of Sheka fighters, a local defense group, and ex-CNDP deserters in Bunyampuli village as they returned from the Kashebere battlefield.

2012-04-23 14:24:29

New Colonel in Masai

Colonel Innocent Kabundi, a government loyalist who is replacing Ntaganda ally Colonel Baudouin, arrives in the CNDP stronghold of Mushaki,Masisi.

2012-04-23 14:24:29

Col. Boudouin brings ammunition stockpile to Bosco

Colonel Baudouin goes to Kitchanga in Masisi with his men to join Bosco Ntaganda rather than reporting to South Kivu. With him he brings a stockpile of the army’s ammunition.

2012-04-23 14:24:29

Airplanes in Goma

Several airplanes transporting government troops arrive in Goma.

2012-04-23 14:24:29

More than 400 move to Kitchanga

Colonel Butoni, a defecting commander from Ngungu, reportedly moves with his more than 400 men to Kitchanga.

2012-04-24 14:24:29

Colonel Makenga in Goma

Colonel Sultani Makenga former deputy commander for South Kivu operations is believed to return to Goma after having traded insults with his commanding officer Colonel Delphin Kahimbi.

2012-04-24 14:24:29

Fighting in Rubaya

Fighting between ex-CNDP and government FARDC breaks out in the Rubaya, Bunyole, and Nyakajanga.

Bosco's Rebellion and the Battle for Justice in Eastern Congo

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