The political and strategic advisor of Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, the Coordinator of Alliance River (Fleuve) Congo (AFC), has been arrested.

General Sylvain Ekenge , the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) spokesperson confirmed Éric Nkuba Shebandu’s arrest.

Alliance Fleuve Congo is a political-military alliance with M23 and other armed groups claiming to be fighting to restore peace in DR Congo. Nangaa, who is also the DR Congo’s former Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Chairman was appointed AFC coordinator by the M23 hierarchy in January 2024 to help in coordinating the rebel activities in DR Congo.

Nkuba was recently cited in Rutshuru territory holding a high profile meeting with M23 officials led by President Bertrand Bisimwa and Military Commander General Sultan Emmanuel Makenga.

While parading Nkuba on Friday night, General Ekenge revealed that he was arrested from Tanzania in March April, 2024 by specialized services before he was deported to Kinshasa.

Ekenge says that Nkuba has already confessed to military on interrogation that among funders of the M23 rebellion and AFC coalition include; former president Joseph Kabila, former Inspector General of the Congolese National Police, John Numbi, Joseph Olenghankoy, president of the National Council for Monitoring the Agreement and the Electoral Process (CNSA) Lubaya Claudel André, a national deputy (member of parliament) and Professor Bob Kabamba. Ekenge did not disclose the next course of action against Nkuba.

Neither M23 nor AFC officials are yet to release a statement about Nkuba’s arrest by the government army. But, Professor Bob Kabamba has on Saturday released a statement refuting the accusations. He questions why the DR Congo government treats whoever opposes the incumbent regime as a rebel.

“We know well that in the Congolese political landscape, anything that is not considered pro-regime is often described as Rwandan. I am not a politician, but a researcher who has studied the Congo for more than 20 years, with numerous publications to my credit,” says Kabamba.

Lubaya also released a statement strongly denying the accusations. “ I am upset to learn that I would have been cited as an AFC actor. It is not because I do not share the points of view of those in power that I will be tempted to take shortcuts. I most categorically reject these allegations which undermine my honor and dignity. Republican by essence, I remain committed to a democratic approach, to a republican and NON-VIOLENT opposition, in compliance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic. This post constitutes a right of reply and formal denial,” says Lubaya in a statement.

Meantime, on Saturday there was heavy fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers and coalition in Mushaki, Masisi territory, and Sake on Kiuli hill in the locality of Kimoka and on Vunano hill, North Kivu province.

FARDC is yet to comment about the latest fighting. But, Lawrence Kanyuka, M23 rebels’ political spokesperson released a statement accusing FARDC of launching attacks. Kanyuka claims that clashes had left three civilians killed and several others injured.

“ This morning, April 6, 2024, the populations of Mushaki and surrounding areas woke up to bombings from coalition forces in Kinshasa, including the FARDC, FDLR, mercenaries, militias, the Burundi national defense forces and the forces of the SADC. Provisional assessment: 3 civilians killed and several injured. The Congolese Revolutionary Army is currently defending the civilian populations targeted to put an end to this barbarity in Kinshasa. We would like to recall that the humanitarian crisis resulting from these attacks is unprecedented,” says Kanyuka in a statement.

In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government. The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny these claims. The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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