Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
War in North Kivu: M23, AFC Unhappy with Nangaa’s Deportation :: Uganda Radionetwork
Breaking

War in North Kivu: M23, AFC Unhappy with Nangaa’s Deportation

On Friday night, General Sylvain Ekenge, the spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), confirmed Nkuba's arrest by presenting him before the media. Ekenge stated that Nkuba, aged 52, was apprehended in Tanzania on January 3, 2024, by specialized services before being deported to Kinshasa.
Éric Nkuba Shebandu (in blue prisons attire) being paraded before media
The leadership of the March 23 Movement (M23 rebels) and the Alliance River (Fleuve) Congo (AFC) have expressed dissatisfaction with the Tanzanian government's decision to arrest Éric Nkuba Shebandu, also known as Malembe, the political and strategic advisor of Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, and hand him over to the Democratic Republic of Congo government for interrogation.   

The Alliance Fleuve Congo is a political-military coalition comprising M23 and other armed groups claiming to be working towards peace restoration in the DR Congo. Nangaa, who also served as the DR Congo’s former Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Chairman, was appointed AFC coordinator by the M23 leadership in January 2024 to aid in coordinating rebel activities in the DR Congo.

On Friday night, General Sylvain Ekenge, the spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), confirmed Nkuba's arrest by presenting him before the media. Ekenge stated that Nkuba, aged 52, was apprehended in Tanzania on January 3, 2024, by specialized services before being deported to Kinshasa.         

Ekenge also revealed that during interrogation, Nkuba confessed to military officials that funders of the M23 rebellion and AFC coalition included former president Joseph Kabila, former Inspector General of the Congolese National Police John Numbi, Joseph Olenghankoy, president of the National Council for Monitoring the Agreement and the Electoral Process (CNSA), Lubaya Claudel André, a national deputy (member of parliament), and Professor Bob Kabamba.

On Sunday morning, Nangaa issued a statement addressed to Tanzanian President Her Excellency Samia Suluhu expressing discontent over Nkuba's arrest. In the statement, Nangaa alleges that Nkuba was not arrested but rather kidnapped from Dar-es-Salaam International Airport by Tanzanian immigration officials while en route to a meeting and forcibly transported to Kinshasa without explanation.  

"The Congo River Alliance expresses to Your Excellency its deep concern about the kidnapping, since January 3, 2024, of one of its political executives, Mr. Eric Nkuba Shebandu (52 years old), at Dar es Salaam International Airport by Tanzanian immigration officials. The information we have indicates that he was violently rushed to Kinshasa the following day without any explanation. He has shown no sign of life for more than two months. This is a political leader opposed to Mr. Tshisekedi, whom your country turned over to his executioner, disregarding the consequences on the victim's life," Nangaa states in the release.  

Nangaa calls on Tanzanian immigration officials to clarify the circumstances of the kidnapping, which occurred in broad daylight at one of the continent's supposedly most secure airports. He further asserts that the actions taken violate international humanitarian law by Tanzanian authorities to the detriment of the enduring solidarity among people.   

"We would like to request, Your Excellency, that Tanzanian immigration officials shed some light on the circumstances of the kidnapping, carried out in broad daylight at one of the continent’s most secure airports, in violation of international humanitarian law by Tanzanian services for the mutual solidarity that will eternally characterize our people," adds Nangaa in the statement.  

Lawrence Kanyuka, M23 rebels' political spokesperson and AFC's Communications Focal Point, issued another statement on Saturday, arguing that Nkuba's arrest and interrogation are politically motivated attempts to instill fear and detain opposition members in DR Congo. Kanyuka also contends that by allowing the kidnapping of Nkuba and deploying troops to support FARDC under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the militia coalition Wazalendo (Patriots), Tanzanian authorities are complicit in ongoing massacres and ethnic cleansing in the DR Congo.   

Kanyuka asserts that despite Nkuba's abduction, AFC will persist in its fight to restore democratic normalcy, the freedom of the Congolese people, the dignity of the Congo and its people, and to liberate the DRC from corrupt governance, anti-values, genocidal ideologies, hate speech, exclusion, tribalism, and state banditry.  

"The Congo River Alliance (AFC) will continue to fight to restore democratic normalcy, the freedom of the Congolese people, the dignity of the Congo and its people, to liberate the DRC from corrupt governance, anti-values, genocidal ideologies, hate speech, exclusion, tribalism, and state banditry," says Kanyuka in the statement.

The Tanzanian government has yet to state Nkuba's arrest and deportation. In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government. The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny these claims. The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo.