Colonel Michel Rukunda aka Makanika has left the ranks of the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC), the Congolese media reported. The officer will now lead an armed group operating in the east of the country.
According to local media, referring to a Congolese army tweet, the defection took place last Sunday. Colonel Michel Rukunda was previously the second in charge of operations in the Walikale sector.
He will now fight his former military brothers as the Ngumino militia leader named after his former chief Ngumino Semahungure, who was eliminated last September in battles against the regular army.
Makanika joined the FARDC in 2011. He was previously the head of the former Federalist Republican Forces (FRF), another Banyamululenge militia present in the high and middle plateaux of Uvira Fizi and Mwenga.
This is the umpteenth defection within the FARDC. And very often it is officers who join the enemy camp. This was the case for Colonels Richard Bisamaza in 2013 and Albert Kahasha nicknamed Foka Mike in 2012.
They train other officers, non-commissioned officers and men of rank. Not without bringing war material to stand up to the regular army. This could partly explain the quasi-astronomical number of armed groups and rebellions in the DRC (around 100 according to estimates).