President Joseph Kabila held several meetings in Goma yesterday before traveling to Bukavu, with civil society as well as army officers. There have been conflicting accounts regarding his various statements , but what is clear is that he has decided to “suspend Amani Leo operations” in the Kivus. But what this means is unclear – according to some Congolese army officers, it means that the military structure of Amani Leo operations will be dismantled and the sectors and regiments will fall under the control of the 8th (North Kivu) and 10th (South Kivu) military regions. It is not clear whether military operations will end or will just fall under a different command.
Many army officers I spoke to are scratching their heads as to what this could mean. Amani Leo served to absorb many of the armed group officers who were integrated into the army in 2009, in particular the ex-CNDP and ex-PARECO commanders who are very prominent in Amani Leo. It is unclear where these officers will go if Amani Leo is dismantled, and some are worried that the malcontents may stir up trouble.
President Kabila’s second decision, which made waves in the international press, is reportedly the call to arrest Bosco Ntaganda. But it is not entirely clear what exactly he said, and local journalists are currently transcribing his statement in Swahili. (The press quote is ambiguous: “I want to arrest Bosco Ntaganda because the whole
population wants peace.”) From what I understand, he did not call explicitly for Bosco to be arrested, but instead said that Bosco has committed many crimes and could be arrested by Congolese officials when the moment is right. I will try to post the transcript as soon as I get it.