Nangaa Promises Refugees a Quick Return While Rwanda Prepares to Take Goma and Enter Open War

The coordinator of the Alliance of Congolese Forces (AFC), which includes political and armed movements such as the M23, Corneille Nangaa, has warned Congolese refugees in Rwanda and other regional countries of their imminent return. Compared by some observers to Alexis Kanyarengwe or Pasteur Bizimungu, who were once used by Kagame as puppets, Nangaa might eventually be sidelined once his role is fulfilled.

In a statement published on June 29, 2024, Nangaa accused the government of Félix Tshisekedi of destabilizing the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), causing civilian deaths and the displacement of seven million people.

Nangaa attributed these violences to the DRC armed forces and their allies, including armed groups such as Wazalendo, FDLR, Burundian forces, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and mercenaries.

He urged Congolese refugees in Goma and its surroundings to return to their homes in areas controlled by the M23, which he considers safer. According to him, staying in the camps around Goma exposes them to dangers, as the government continues to use them as human shields.

Nangaa criticized Tshisekedi, calling him a traitor who divides the country and the Great Lakes region. He asserted that the AFC will continue the armed struggle until Tshisekedi is removed from power.

He also mentioned the marginalization of certain members of the Congolese armed forces and police, calling them to join the AFC ranks to liberate the country.

A UN report indicates that more than 4000 Rwandan soldiers are present in the DRC, leading operations and giving orders to the M23 rebels. The same report also accuses Uganda of supporting the M23.

Nangaa’s statement comes on the eve of June 30, 2024, the 64th anniversary of the DRC’s independence, as reports indicate the capture of Kanyabayonga, a strategic commercial hub in Lubero territory, by the M23 with support from Ugandan forces (UPDF).

Despite Nangaa’s claims, rumors are circulating about Rwanda’s imminent acknowledgment of its involvement in the fighting in eastern DRC. The speeches of Rwandan leaders, including President Kagame, supporting the M23 and criticizing Congolese and Burundian authorities, reinforce this hypothesis.

Analysts believe that Rwanda is preparing an offensive to take control of Goma. This capture could lead to heavy civilian casualties if the FARDC and SADC forces decide to resist. A possible humiliation of the FARDC and SADC troops is mentioned, with more than 30,000 soldiers risking surrender with their equipment without fighting to avoid a bloodbath, unless Rwanda offers them a secure exit towards southern Kivu to prevent even more severe consequences, such as the massive involvement of Tanzanian and South African forces and a total war.