Democratic Republic of Congo (Franšais)
Ituri: Bloodiest Corner of Congo
Who is Who - Armed Political Groups in Ituri (May 2003)
RCD-ML: Congolese Rally for Democracy- Liberation Movement
Current Leader: Mbusa Nyamwisi
Also know as RCD-Kisangani, the RCD-ML was launched in September 1999 in Kampala when Wamba dia Wamba split from the RCD-Goma. Backed at the start by Uganda, the RCD-ML has been fractured by leadership struggles and in-fighting. The current leader, Mbusa Nyamwisi took power after ousting Wamba dia Wamba. The RCD-ML's military wing is the Congolese Popular Army (APC). The RCD-ML entered into the Sun City agreement of April 2002 and the APC are now being trained and armed by Kinshasa.
MLC: Movement for the Liberation of Congo
Current Leader: Jean-Pierre Bemba
Based in Gbadolite, the MLC has been backed by Uganda since the start of the war in 1998 although there have been occasional differences between the two. The MLC tried twice to establish a foothold in Ituri: in 2001 Bemba had nominal control of the short-lived FPC coalition of Ugandan- backed rebel groups and in 2002 the MLC attacked Mambasa in western Ituri but were forced backed by the APC of Mbusa Nyamwisi. The MLC has occasionally fought alongside the UPC and has been a rival of Mbusa's RCD-ML.
RCD-National: Congolese Rally for Democracy - National
Current Leader: Roger Lumbala
Now based in Watcha, northern Ituri, the RCD-N initially operated as a front organization for the Ugandans in exploiting the diamond riches of the town of Bafwasende. In 2001 and 2002, the RCD-N supported MLC attempts to win resource-rich areas from the RCD-ML. RCD-N has few soldiers and relies on the MLC army.
UPC: Union of Congolese Patriots (predominately Hema/Gegere party)
Current Leader: Thomas Lubanga
Purportedly launched to promote reconciliation, the UPC quickly became a predominately Gegere-led political party intent on promoting the interests of the Hema and related Gegere. It came to power in Bunia in August 2002 with the help of the Ugandans and used Hema militia as part of its armed forces. It turned to Rwanda for support and formed an alliance with the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma after being excluded by the RCD-ML and the MLC from the Mambasa ceasefire talks in December 2002. Having turned from Uganda politically, the UPC was ousted from Bunia by the Ugandan army in March 2003 but fought its way back into town in May.
FIPI: Front for Integration and Peace in Ituri (platform of three ethnic-based parties)
Current Leader: A coalition of three leaders of PUSIC, FNI and FPDC
Created in December 2002 with Ugandan support, the three ethnically-based political parties shared the objective of getting rid of the UPC. Otherwise FIPI has no apparent program. The group includes Hema dissatisfied with the UPC, Lendu, and Alur, each with its own political party (see below). After the UPC was forced from Bunia, the parties began squabbling and the coalition appears to have collapsed.
PUSIC: Party for Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo (Hema dissatisfied with the UPC)
Current Leader: Chief Kahwa Mandro
Former UPC member Chief Kahwa created PUSIC in early February 2003. Most members appear to be Hema from the south. Uganda supports the party as part of the FIPI coalition. Chief Kahwa was backed briefly by the Rwandans when he was in the UPC, but claims that PUSIC currently has no such support and is more interested in working with Kinshasa. PUSIC may have allied with the UPC against the Lendu in Bunia in May 2003; if so, this alliance of convenience would be tenuous and probably short-lived. PUSIC appears to have continued close links with Ugandan authorities.
FPDC: Popular Force for Democracy in Congo (Alur and Lugbara political party)
Current Leader: Thomas Unen Chen, a former member of the Zairian parliament
FPDC was created in late 2002 mostly by Alur and Lugbara from the Aru and Mahagi area, north Ituri, to counter the UPC. Recently it started to recruit and train its own militias. Although professedly interested in dialogue, it is prepared to fight if dialogue fails. It has been supported by Uganda as part of the FIPI coalition and appears to have close ties with former Ugandan army Col. Peter Karim, an Alur from Uganda.
FNI: Front for National Integration (Lendu political party)
Current Leader: Floribert Njabu Ngabu
Lendu intellectuals and traditional chiefs established FNI but the party claims broad support by the Lendu community in its effort to oppose the UPC. Lendu militias are reportedly being organised under the military wing of this party, which some equate with the FRPI (see below). Supported by Uganda as part of the FIPI coalition, it joined the Ugandan army in driving the UPC from Bunia on March 6, 2003, for which some its members were publicly thanked by Brigadier Kayihura in April. FNI has also benefited from military training and support from the RCD-ML and, through it, from Kinshasa.
FRPI: Patriotic Force of Resistance in Ituri (Ngiti political party)
Current Leader: Dr Adirodo
Launched in November 2002 the Ngiti party FRPI is said to be closely linked to the Lendu FNI. It is meant to bring together Ngiti militias with traditional leaders in a single force against the UPC. Based in Beni and said to number 9,000 combatants, the FRPI has close ties to the RCD-ML from which it receives both military training and arms. It claims to have a large fighting force and many see it as the army of the FNI. It joined the Ugandans in driving the UPC from Bunia in March 2003 and together with the FNI briefly controlled Bunia in May 2003.
FAPC: People's Armed Forces of Congo (mixed)
Current Leader: Commander Jerome Kakawave Bakonde
Commander Jerome, based in Aru and Mahagi, established FAPC in March 2003. Jerome has changed allegiances several times, moving from the RCD-ML, to the RCD-N, to the UPC and to the Ugandans but he has more or less stayed in the area of Aru. His group recently obtained support from the Ugandans who attempted to put Commander Jerome in charge of a mixed security apparatus in Bunia just prior to the start of their withdrawal. Other parties objected and Commander Jerome returned to his home at Aru. A mutiny occurred in his ranks in May 2003 which was allegedly put down with Ugandan support. Jerome is reportedly a Banyarwanda from North Kivu.