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Amid rumors of rebel groups unifying in Congo, countries in region discuss joint military action

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As previously reported here, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo met in Kigali last week to discuss the military situation in the eastern Congo. At the end of the meeting, they alleged that a new coalition of rebel groups had formed in the Kivus region, including such unlikely allies such as the FPLC, Mai-Mai Sheka, FDLR, Mai-Mai Yakutumba and FDLR-Soki.

The most controversial allegation to come from the meeting was that two Rwandan dissidents, Col. Patrick Karegeya and Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, are allegedly involved in this new rebel coalition.

While sources from the eastern Congo certainly confirm sporadic collaboration between the FPLC, Mai-Mai Sheka and the FDLR, the links among the other armed groups and the involvement of the two former Rwandan officers are less clear.

Some sources familiar with the closed-door meeting suggest that the three countries were not just sharing information. Allegedly, new joint military operations on Congolese soil are being discussed. Congo Siasa reported a possible joint operation between the Congolese and Rwandan armies in November, but talk of such a plan subsided as tensions within the CNDP decreased; most importantly, the Congolese government decided not to move ex-CNDP units out of the Kivus, the CNDP political party joined the ruling AMP coalition and some ex-CNDP military ranks were confirmed. The massive recruitment drive that Gen. Bosco Ntaganda had carried out between September and December relented somewhat, although some forced recruitment continues.

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