Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL)

[Rwanda created and armed the Congolese anti-Mobuto rebel group AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) to spearhead the invasion, and they quickly made their way towards Kinshasa.  By mid-1997, Mobuto was overthrown and dead, and the Congolese AFDL commander Laurent-Désiré Kabila declared that the state should henceforth be known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while assuming the role of president. He swiftly assigned Rwandan Tutsies to important government roles in effort to please his former backers.]

Laurent-Desire Kabila (AFDL commander)

Most reporting from the Kivus zooms in on sexual violence and the Western media always blames the victims—Congolese soldiers caught in the maelstrom of international proxy warfare and organized crime—but we hear nothing about U.S. or Canadian or Australian mining companies—and for those rare times that we do the reportage de-links the mining from the mass murder. [2008 Dec] Merchants of Death: Exposing Corporate-financed Holocaust in Africa.  White Collar War Crimes, Black African Fall Guys by Keith Harmon Snow

[2010 June] Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003 by Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

177. From July 1996, Tutsi/Banyamulenge152 armed units who had left Zaire to pursue
military training in Rwandan army, the APR (Armée patriotique rwandaise), in Rwanda,
along with APR soldiers, began their operations to infiltrate the province of South Kivu
via Burundi and destabilise North Kivu via Uganda. The first serious clashes between the
FAZ and the infiltrés took place on 31 August 1996 near Uvira in the province of South
Kivu. On 18 October, the conflict took a new turn when an armed movement, the AFDL
(Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo), was officially formed
in Kigali, asserting its intention to topple President Mobutu.153 Under the cover of the
AFDL, whose own troops, weapons and logistics were supplied by Rwanda, soldiers
from the APR, the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Force) and the FAB (Forces armées
burundaises) entered Zaire en masse and set about capturing the provinces of North and
South Kivu and the Ituri district.154


[2010 June] Report of the Mapping Exercise 
196. After the AFDL was officially formed on 18 October 1996, Alliance troops,
supported by soldiers from the APR and FAB (Forces armées burundaises) attacked the
village of Bwegera. On 20 October, having taken control of the village, the soldiers were
divided into two columns, the first leaving northwards towards Luvungi and the second
southwards towards Luberizi. As they advanced, AFDL/APR/FAB soldiers carried out
widespread and systematic attacks on the eleven Rwandan and Burundian refugee camps
set up in the territory. Many witnesses have confirmed that these attacks took place
within a few days of the majority of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe and CNDD-FDD units
leaving the area.

197. After the capture of the town of Uvira in the night of 24 and 25 October 1996 and
the routing of the FAZ over practically all of Uvira territory, the Burundian and Rwandan
refugees fled in several directions. Some left for the territory of Fizi, then travelled on to
North Katanga, Tanzania or Zambia. Others tried to escape towards the north, passing
through the territories of Kabare and Walungu. Many Burundian refugees fled in the
direction of Burundi. Unable to cross the Ruzizi River, they were often apprehended at
the Kiliba sugar mill and the villages of Ndunda, Ngendo and Mwaba.

198. AFDL/APR/FAB soldiers set up a number of checkpoints on the Ruzizi Plain
around the villages of Bwegera, Sange, Luberizi and Kiliba, at the entrance to Uvira town
(Kalundu Port), at Makobola II (Fizi territory) and at the Rushima ravine (Uvira
territory). At these checkpoints, soldiers sorted the people they intercepted according to
their nationality, under the pretext of preparing for their return to their country of origin.
Individuals identified as Rwandan or Burundian Hutus on the basis of their accent, their
morphology or their dress were systematically separated from the other intercepted
people and killed in the surrounding area.

Rwanda, units of the AFDL/APR/FAB led an unknown number of additional
refugees into the Rushima ravine and executed them

men and boys. The bodies of the victims were thrown in the latrines beside the

201. From 22 October 1996, in the face of the advancing AFDL/APR troops, refugees
from the Nyangezi and Nyantende camps began to flee towards Bukavu. From 26
October 1996 onwards, the soldiers launched attacks on the camps to the south and west
of Bukavu city. In most cases, the refugees had already left the camps before the soldiers
arrived, fleeing towards the Kashusha, INERA and ADI-Kivu camps (north of Bukavu)
and the Chimanga camp (west of Bukavu in the direction of Shabunda). On 26 October,
AFDL/APR soldiers set fire to the already abandoned camp of Muku, ten kilometres from
Bukavu in the Walungu territory.

202. After the capture of Bukavu on 29 October 1996, AFDL/APR troops continued
their operations against the camps located north of the city.

204. Most of the refugees who were trapped at Nyabibwe tried to reach Bunyakiri and
Hombo via the Hauts Plateaux of Kalehe. One group moved into the makeshift camps at
Shanje and Numbi. Pursued by the AFDL/APR soldiers, many refugees were killed in
these makeshift camps and at Chebumba and Lumbishi in the Kalehe territory.

205. Most of the Shanje survivors fled via the Rukiga bamboo forest. At the village of
Hombo, they joined the survivors of the Kashusha/INERA camp, who were trying to
reach North Kivu by travelling through the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.