Tuesday, January 06, 2009

CNDP ousts its leader Laurent Nkunda

Laurent Nkunda

Photo: Laurent Nkunda has been accused of committing war crimes (BBC)

DR Congo rebels 'oust Gen Nkunda' - Jan. 05, 2009 BBC report excerpt:
Officers in the main rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo say they have ousted their leader, Gen Laurent Nkunda - a claim he denies.

CNDP officers told the BBC they had removed Gen Nkunda because of what they described as "bad governance".

But a spokesman for Gen Nkunda then told the BBC that this was not true.

The decision to remove Gen Nkunda as leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) reportedly came after a meeting of the rebel group's military high command on Sunday.

In a statement sent to the BBC and signed by Brig-Gen Bosco Ntaganda, the rebels' chief of staff, the high command said Gen Nkunda's "bad leadership" and "bad governance" had distracted the CNDP from undertaking its normal activities and was dangerous for the Congolese people.

The high command had also resolved to set up an ad-hoc "transitional council" to run the group until further notice, the statement said.

A spokesman for the high command, Kamanzi Desire, said the council would ensure that the peace process continued.

"The new leadership has pledged before CNDP members, the Congolese people and the international community to create favourable conditions for peace to return to eastern DR Congo with the help of the international community and Monuc (UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo)," he told BBC Afrique.

But a spokesman for Gen Nkunda then told the BBC by phone that the rebel leader had not been ousted - and during that phone call what appeared to be the voice of Gen Nkunda could be heard in the background.

The general had called a meeting of senior rebel leaders to take place on Tuesday, the spokesman said.

In recent weeks, Gen Nkunda has reportedly been in Rutshuru, a town in North Kivu, along with a battalion of his troops.

The reports indicate that a power struggle may be taking place within the CNDP.

If the CNDP splits, it could just mean another rebel group is added to a deadly cocktail of armed militias, correspondents say.

CNDP troops

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