Roger Lumbala, An Alleged War Criminal and Former Leader of Rwandan Military Backed Militia, M23 Rebels and RCD-N, Arrested in France

Roger Lumbala (Left) and Francois Rucogoza in Kampala in March 2013

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In a speech Bernard Membe then the Tanzanian Foreign Relations Minister told the parliament in Dar-Es-Salaam on May 27, 2014, that Rwandan backed rebels, M23, were Rwandan citizens, and were funded by the Rwandan government. Although know since M23  creation years earliers, It was the first time a government of an  influential African countries had publicly accused the Rwandan government for creating and backing the Rwandan rebels.  Rwandan backed M23 rebels were  then committing systematic massacres of Congolese civilians and Rwandan refugees and responsible for rapes, disappearances, acts of genocide, and looting in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). One of the leaders of the criminal militia was Roger Lumbala (for more on M23 backgroung see AfroAmerica Network  correspondents' reports, here) and AfroAmerica Network Archives (AfroAmerica Network Reports  and AfroAmerica Network Archives)

 Roger Lumbala was arrested on December 29, 2020  in Paris, after years of evading justice. He was indicted for "participation in a group accused of crimes against humanity" and of "complicity in crimes against humanity" . The news of his arrest, after so many years of suffersing by Congolese civilians and Rwandan refugees was  hailed by the UN Human Rights Office in the DRC as well as by the civil society and activists.

The crimes for which  Roger Lumbala is accused are contained in theUN Mapping Report published in  2010 documenting the most serious crimes committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003, mostly by Rwandan Defense Forces and the militia and warlord supported and funded by Rwandan military and government under General Paul Kagame and his closest aides. These crimes include systematic murders, acts of genocide,  looting, widespread rape and acts of cannibalism.  Roger Lumbala is cited there as leader of the RDC-N, a group that according to experts committed atrocities in Ituri between July 2002 and January 2003.


Who Is Roger Lumbala

Roger Lumbala is a former Congolese warlord and  president of Rally of Congolese Democrats and Nationalists (RCD/N) and a member of the Congolese parliament, before joining the M23 rebels.  He was elected MP on the ticket of the Rwandan government supported Congolese Rally for National Democracy (CNDP) led by the convicted war criminal, General Bosco Ntaganda. Before the elections, DRC government had accused Roger Lumbala of treason for aiding the Rwanda supported M23 rebellion in Eastern Congo.

M23 and the DRC Government  held  their political talks on January 4, 2012 in Kampala, Uganda. Roger Lumbara, then the leader of the opposition part Rally for Congolese Democrats Nationalists (RCD-N) and Member of Parliament(MP),  had joined M23 rebels, and was  serving as the Vice-President of the delegation in Kampala.

 On December 31, 2012, the UN Security Council and the US Department of Treasury decided to take  sanctions against M23 rebels.

When M23 rebels were defeated on November 6, 2013, most of the Hutu and Nande preferred a surrender to FARDC , instead of fleeing to Rwanda or Uganda, the M23 rebel Tutsi leaders  accused then the Hutu and Nande leaders of having encouraged the troops to surrender to FARDC. They also accused the Nande and Hutu of being in intelligence with DRC government officials in Kampala. One of the Hutu leaders targeted is Sendugu Museveni, who, until recently, was the Political Commissioner and one of the key M23 negotiators in Kampala. On November 26, Sendugu Museveni, a Hutu from Bwisha, Rutshuru territory, was excluded from the M23 rebels leadership along with his closest collaborators, including Roger Lumbala and Alidor Mutudi, although from other Congolese ethnic groups. 

Roger Lumbala eventually tried to seek asylum at the South African embassy in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, and barely evaded arrest by Burundian security forces whom Kinshasa had asked to detain him.

After denying collaborating with the M23 rebels and spending too much time in Kigali, Rwanda, he eventually fled to Europe, before joining the M23 rebels, and hence confirming that he has been supporting the rebels all along.


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