Sources with M23 Rebels told AfroAmerica Network that their High Command has ordered the kidnapping of South African Military troops preparing the deployment of the Intervention Brigade.
The meeting to approve the kidnapping was held at the headquarters of M23 Rebels in Bunagana this Saturday morning, April 13, 2013.
“We were just informed of the decision made during the meeting led by
our Commander General Sultani Makenga. We have the order to go. We will capture three to four South African troops currently in Munigi, near Kibumba,” a commander within M23 rebels told AfroAmerica Network. M23 rebels are Congolese rebels formed, funded, armed and reinforced by Rwandan Defense Forces and Rwandan Government leaders.
Asked about the purpose of kidnapping South African soldiers, the commander said:
“we will just be following orders from General Makenga. But we were told that the purpose is to put pressure of South African President Jacob Zuma, so that he stops the deployment of the South African troops.”
President Jacob Zuma has been under pressure from his people and the South African Parliament after a recent debacle in Central African Republic where rebels killed 13 South African troops who were part of the contingent sent there to support President General Bozize. General Bozize was defeated and fled the country, leaving South African troops to face the rebels.
Recently M23 rebels leaders wrote to the South African Parliament to complain about the deployment. They didn’t receive any answer. “We believe action on the ground will draw more attention that a letter,” another M23 rebels commander told AfroAmerica Network.
Asked what they will do if, in spite of the kidnapping, South African President Zuma goes ahead anyway with the deployment, the commander said: “we are ready. Rwandan Defense Forces just reinforced our troops with 3,000 troops and more military equipment. We have been actively recruiting and training young people among the Congolese refugees in Rwanda. Yes, we are ready for war.”
Other M23 rebels contacted said that despite the recent reinforcement from Rwandan Defense Forces, the heroic speeches and statements, and the fresh recruits, the morale within M23 rebels remains fragile. “It will be a matter of days, perhaps a few weeks, before the SADC[NDC: South African Development Community] troops massacres them. Even with the Rwandan Defense Forces, M23 rebels just do have enough capacity to resist. Their morale is very low right now. We think we are living the last days of M23 rebels as we know them. Soon they will be history,” a Rwandan Defense Forces commander based in Kibumba told AfroAmerica Network.
“M23 are being used by Rwandan President Kagame, because the deployment of the United Nations Intervention Brigade and subsequent end of M23 rebels will, without a doubt, change the dynamics of power here in Kigali and in the region. And we do not like it, to put it mildly,“a source within the Rwandan government told AfroAmerica Network.
Whether M23 rebels are living their last days or not, the decision to deploy South African Development Community (SADC) troops may have far reaching consequences and would certainly alter the course of the war in Eastern DRC and the dynamics of power and influence in the region.