The rebellion/insurgency in Equateur is, as predicted, now spilling over into the political domain. According to some sources in Kinshasa, the government is now investigating Jean-Yves Ollivier, a former arms broker and member of the old Francafrique crowd from the Mitterand days. Ollivier was allegedly close to Jean-Pierre Bemba during the rebellion and reportedly helped him with logistics and weapons. He is now based somewhere in the region, possibly in Brazzaville. If it is true that Ollivier had something to do with the Enyele rebellion, we would have to start asking questions about regional backing for Odjani, possibly from Luanda or Brazzaville, where Ollivier has done much of his business. But it’s far too early to speculate.
In the meantime, the MLC has protested the harassment of their provincial leaders. The head of their party in Tshopo sector was arrested recently (not clear why), and the president and vice-president of the provincial assembly were replaced last week. This latter incident, however, appears to have more to do with internal woes within the MLC and the efforts by Kabila to take over the provincial executive and legislature – the new governor Jean-Claude Baende is close to Kabila, as are allegedly the new heads of the provincial assembly.
According to sources within the MLC (haven’t seen this in the news yet), the government has also asked that the immunity of two of their national MPs be lifted: Jean Lucien Busa and Patrick Mayombe, apparently in connection with the attack on Mbandaka. Mayombe was part of a national peace delegation that went to Dongo last year to encourage a peaceful solution to the conflict. He was also the author of a motion in the national assembly last week to protest the fact that the ministers of defense and interior hadn’t shown up to answer MPs’ questions about Mbandaka, as they were attending a security meeting with President Kabila in Mbandaka.