Bosco doesn't control many Congolese Army commanders, but he has been able to stitch together a formidable alliance of former armed group members through intimidation, writes a guest blogger.
• A version of this post appeared on the blog "Congo Siasa." The views expressed are the author's own.
The situation in the Kivus remains tense as the personal future of one military commander, Bosco Ntaganda, has escalated latent tensions within the poorly integrated Congolese army.
The stand-off appears to have begun last week, with Bosco Ntaganda publishing a memorandum and mobilizing civilian members of the local Tutsi community in Goma to meet with the United Nations, the Rwandan government. They also read a statement condemning Bosco's indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on various local radio stations. All of this, in turn, appears to have been triggered by sabre-rattling by the ICC and donors regarding Bosco, as well as by the departure of five ex-National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) officers to a seminar in Kinshasa.
Bosco felt under pressure and took the offensive, telling Col. Felix Mugabo, the deputy commander (and his former chief bodyguard) of the 804th regiment based just to the north of Goma to reinforce his protection unit in Goma, and to send the rest of his troops further north to Katale. At the same time, ex-CNDP troops far to the west in the forests of Pinga withdrew to the highlands of Masisi, consolidating their strong position in ex-CNDP heartland.