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Entertainment DRC: the NDC-Renovated received "support from several armies in the region" (GEC)

22:45  13 may  2020
22:45  13 may  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Nord-Kivu en RDC, territoire de Masisi (image d'illustration). © Antoine Sanfuentes / NBC NewsWire / Getty North Kivu in the DRC, Masisi territory (illustration image).

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country's largest armed group is called the NDC-Rénové. It is led by Guidon Shimiray, a war chief under United Nations sanctions. According to the Congo Study Group, a research center at New York University, the group has received continued support from the Congolese army. "For the military, with the military, like the military," is the title of this explosive report. RFI asked Jason Stearns, director of the GEC, what made this group successful.

Jason Stearns: The first and probably the most important factor is his ability to form alliances. It is an armed group which has managed to enlarge its sphere of influence thanks to the support of several armies in the region, mainly the Congolese army, but also, more recently, an alliance of the Rwandan army. The two were looking for allies on the ground to do their work or help them do their work against the FDLR (note: Rwandan Hutu rebels) but also other local armed groups.

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Secondly, I think, is the fact that they are not limited to a single ethnic group, unlike many armed groups in eastern Congo. At first, the NDC-R was a group mainly from the Nyanga community, but today there are several ethnic groups in their command, which has also facilitated their expansion.

Third, it is Guidon’s leadership and ability to take advantage of local resources and set up a fairly organized and structured taxation system.

RFI: We have the impression that the NDC-R has the same scope as groups like the CNDP or the FDLR, that is to say the last great rebellions of the Congo and in particular by its capacity to control the territory?

The NDC-Rénové controls a vast territory. If we were to walk, it would take more than a week to go from one end of this territory to the other. He controls part of the four out of six territories in North Kivu. You have to go back to the RCD rebellion that ended in 2003 to find an armed group that controlled so many territories, spaces. Even if the territories they control for the most part are very sparsely populated and quite remote.

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What does your report reveal about how the Congolese army manages security in eastern Congo?

Since the creation of the national army and the reunification of the country in 2003, it should be noted that the Congolese army has often preferred to work through militiamen or local militias, for several reasons. This prosecutor's war is cheaper. That is to say, they should not be paid as much as the national army, they should not be supplied as much as the national army. These militiamen are often more effective than the national army because they operate at home, they know the terrain, they have relationships with local communities. There are also personal benefits for Congolese army officers. It allows them to create patronage networks, that is to say, it allows the personal enrichment of certain officers. Because these militias often operate in areas where there are resources and part of the taxes, products they receive, are donated to these officers of the national army.

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