Glossary of rebel groups [19990630]

Glossary of rebel groups [19990630]

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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NAIROBI, 30 June (IRIN) -


Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD):

Main rebel group fighting to overthrow President Laurent Desire Kabila. Reportedly split into two factions, with RCD-Kisangani led by the movement's former president Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, and the mainstream RCD-Goma led by the new president Emile Ilunga. The former is said to be backed by Uganda, the latter by Rwanda.

Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC):

Led by businessman Jean-Pierre Bemba, its also aims to overthrow Kabila, but has been at odds with RCD-Goma. Also supported by Uganda. Particularly active in the Equateur region, where Bemba is based at Lisala.


Main militia groups active in the Kivus, opposed to "Tutsi domination" and the RCD, but seemingly without any clear objective and frequently change allegiances. No homogeneity exists between the various Mayi-Mayi groups. The names of various commanders such as Louetcha, Padiri and Dunia frequently come up. The 'Alliance pour la resistance democratique'(ARD), based in the Fizi region, is believed to be a Mayi-Mayi front.

Les mongoles:

Another militia group active in the Kivus and opposed to the RCD. Mostly commits acts of banditry.

Front contre l'occupation tutsie (FLOT):

Active in the Bukavu region, particularly last year. The group has a political wing, the 'Union des forces vives pour la liberation et la democratie en RDC-Zaire' (UFLD), and is thought to be behind hate radio broadcasts in the Bukavu region last year and in 1997.


Interahamwe militia/ex-FAR (Forces armees rwandaises):

Remnants of the Hutu militias and former Rwandan armed forces responsible for the 1994 genocide. Thousands have laid down their arms and returned to Rwanda for "re-education", but thousands more are still in the DRC, many of them fighting alongside the Mayi-Mayi and Kabila's forces. Often link up with Congolese Hutu fighters.


The 'Peuple en armes pour la liberation du Rwanda' (PALIR), and its armed wing 'Armee pour la liberation du Rwanda' (ALIR), is an attempt by the Interahamwe to form a political organisation. Reports say PALIR has been weakened by the recent return of ex-Interahamwe fighters to Rwanda, but the group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of foreign tourists.



'Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD)/Forces pour la defense de la democratie (FDD)'. The main Hutu rebel group, now split into two factions between the CNDD of Leonard Nyangoma and the CNDD/FDD of Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye. When Kabila came to power, FDD lost most of its rear bases in eastern DRC and the rebels moved en masse to western Tanzania where many of them operate from in and around the refugee camps. However, since the 1998 war, the FDD have again found rear bases in eastern Congo in return for helping Kabila's troops against the RCD.

Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU):

The longest-established Hutu rebel group, it regularly states its complete independence from CNDD/FDD. Regional rivalries also exist between the two groups, with many CNDD members coming from the southern Bururi region and PALIPEHUTU originating from the central Muramvya area. PALIPEHUTU, led by Cossan Kabura, has recently claimed successes in fighting around Bujumbura. Its armed wing is the 'Forces nationales de liberation' (FNL).

Front pour la liberation nationale (FROLINA):

Another Hutu rebel group, closely linked to PALIPEHUTU. Its armed wing is the 'Forces armees du peuple' (FAP).


'Union pour la liberation nationale' (ULINA) and its armed wing 'Forces de liberation nationale' (FALINA) - an umbrella group bringing together Hutu rebel groups with the exception of CNDD/FDD. PALIPHUTU has recently issued statements urging all anti-government forces to join the movement.


Allied Democratic Forces (ADF):

Based in the Ruwenzori mountains of western Uganda, the ADF is a combination of fundamentalist Tabliq Muslim rebels and remnants of another rebel group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU). It has claimed responsibility for a string of bomb blasts that have rocked the country, particularly Kampala, this year. It also frequently links up with the ex-FAR/Interahamwe militias operating in the region and is particularly active in the Bundibugyo area of western Uganda.

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA):

More concerned with destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, but has linked up with Interahamwe and anti-RCD rebels around the Bunia area. Likewise, the now largely-defunct West Nile Bank Front (WNBF).


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Item: irin-english-1131

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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