In early January, Georgianne Nienaber and Helen Thomas, rather courageous and enterprising independent journalists, traveled to the compound of General Laurent Nkunda, charismatic leader of the rebel CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) in the eastern Congo to interview him. They had become suspicious that a great many demonizing myths and groundless allegations had been hurled against him, and they wanted to get to the truth about the General if at all possible.
The CNDP, for those of you who don't know, has been one of the key protagonists in the ongoing and bloody conflict in the Congo, and has been a very disciplined and effective military force.
General Nkunda, however, has been getting a large amount of negative press in the mainstream media, and has been accused of massacres and war crimes, even the killing of endangered Congolese gorillas.
In the past few days, after the Rwandan government, which had been loosely allied with Nkunda, forged an agreement, whose details we do not fully know yet, with President Joseph Kabila of the DR Congo, a shift in alliances subsequently took place and Nkunda suddenly found himself isolated, on January 23, by the Rwandan military. At first the reports were that he was arrested. Now the term is "house arrest". At first there were deep concerns that he might be extradited to the DR Congo, where the Congolese government has already been making serious war crimes charges against him. However, how really true are these charges, or might they just be a contrived attempt to railroad Nkunda and eliminate him?
In reality, it seems that the Rwandan military still considers Nkunda a figure to be respected, if for no other reason than the powerful support he can command, and might be loath to toss a former key asset to President Kabila's wolves in Kinshasa. (For the latest on Gen Nkunda's "house arrest" as of January 26, click here.)
There are already reports coming out of Africa of popular riots and demonstrations against his detention, which reports fly in the face of the monstrous picture some detractors have painted of Nkunda. If he is a super-villain, you would think we would be reading about celebrations in the streets voer his arrest.
So, what is the truth about the man? Rarely is Nkunda's side of the story heard in the West, so here is an opportunity to hear it directly from the horse's mouth in Parts 2 thru 4. You, the reader, be the judge, instead of allowing pundits and newscasters to decide for you. Part 1 was posted earlier. You can watch it by clicking here.
So here is more of the interview, Parts 2 thru 4, with more forthcoming.