should've put a ring on it
In an absolutely stunning and bizarre piece of news, Rwandan troops today arrested Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. There's no word on whether they also picked up Nkunda's pride and joy, his pet goat, Betty.
You know, the U.S. swore in an African-American president this week, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore. But this is off-the-charts wild. Rwanda made Nkunda. He would've been just another two-bit Congolese warlord without the extensive military support he and his CNDP forces received from Kigali. But with Rwanda's help, Nkunda was able to put together a well-disciplined fighting force that could have taken Goma in Novemeber had they so chosen. And now Rwandan troops (who are supposed to be in the Congo for the purpose of hunting down FDLR Hutu rebels) arrest him?!?
It turns out that part of the deal reached between Rwanda and Congo required Rwanda to stop supporting Nkunda, which resulted in the divisions in the CNDP, which subsequently led to Nkunda crossing the border into Rwanda and being arrested. Confused yet? Basically, it turns out that our boy Nkunda probably should've taken Goma while he could. He's supposedly being held in Gisenyi, presumbaly at the prison where all the genocidaires are kept. There's also no word on whether Nkunda gets to wear the same pink pajamas as his fellow prisoners.
Now the Congolese are seeking his extradition to the Congo. They should be pushing for Nkunda to go to The Hague. His troops are responsible (not "allegedly responsible," they are responsible) for murders, rapes, and burning down villages and refugee camps. Nkunda deserves prosecution to the fullest extent of international law.
This is great news, but it won't end the suffering in the eastern Congo by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how triumphant the Enough Project's press release will be later today. There is still no decision on what to do about the citizenship rights of Congolese Tutsis, nor about the massive mess of land claims that are still unsettled in North Kivu. Unless these problems are solved quickly -which is nearly impossible - another Nkunda will come along. It's just a matter of time.
*Thanks to Amanda and Kate over at Wronging Rights for the shout-out!