Monday, April 21, 2008

South Kivu Rising

Overnight shelling in downtown Bujumbura last week by FNL; attacks on the Rwandan genocide memorial and commemorative activities in Kigali the week before. Is there a link? Re-read the Hutu Ten Commandments, in case they’ve slipped your mind.

Hutu Power is once again raising its fist across the region. For the uninitiated, Pouvoir Hutu is the local species of genocidal ideology that unleashed the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It is also largely responsible for both Eastern Congo’s ongoing mess and Burundi’s failure to consolidate peace, some two years after a formal peace agreement and national presidential elections. Besides ongoing battles between the FDLR/Interhamwe, Laurent Nkunda’s troops and the Congolese national army, the last major assault on Tutsi civilians was the Gatumba massacre in August 2005.

The ideology covers the region; its supply lines and popular support base criss-cross Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania. Eastern Congo’s unruly wilderness provides excellent camouflage for extremist Hutu groups of Rwandan or Burundian extraction. Their rear bases are reportedly concentrated in the deep south of South Kivu. If Kagame and Kabila are able to find common cause on confronting this problem, it will likely see renewed conflict in South Kivu. Kagame has already stated that if Kabila gets no results, the Rwandan army will invade to deal with the problem. If that happens, we can expect the resurgence of a regional war.

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