Organization Profile - Democratic Republic of the Congo National Intelligence Agency (ANR)
Organization: Agence Nationale de Renseignements (Democratic Republic of the Congo); AKA "National Intelligence Agency (ANR)"
Previous Aliases – Surêté Nationale (1960-1970), Centre National de Documentation (1970-1985), Agence Nationale de Documentation (1985-1990), Service National d’Intelligence et de Protection (1990-1996), Direction Générale de la Surêté Nationale (1996-1997).
Date of Activity: 1997-Present. Check Previous Aliases for earlier operations.
Area of Operations: Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. They also maintain a presence in other parts of Africa, especially neighboring Rwanda.
Overview: The National Intelligence Agency is the primary intelligence organization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its modern incarnation was created as the intelligence service of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, a coalition of dissident peoples who fought to overthrow Congolese dictator
Mobutu Sese Seko.
The ANR has around 12,000 employees and is headed by a General Manager. The General Manager reports directly to the President, and is assisted by a deputy general manager and senior administrators. Administrative offices at the provincial directorate level.
The Congo has been rife with instability led by many factors. These include political corruption, ethnic violence, poor infrastructure and foreign interference. The central government has struggled to maintain its authority across the republic, diverting resources to suppress various rebel groups at the provincial level. The police and military in particular suffer from poor morale, severe shortages of material and lack of funding. The ANR has an annual budget of approximately 32 Billion Congolese Francs, which is roughly $35 Million US Dollars. Partisan conflicts and scarce resources severely hamper the ANR’s capability of asserting itself.
The 2005 Constitution greatly restricts the ANR’s activities (at least on paper) from the civilian and military intelligence networks of past regimes. The ANR’s constitutional responsibilities are gathering, analyzing and disseminating intelligence, and are not allowed to arrest, prosecute or conduct investigations. The direct chain of command to the President waives some of these restrictions, allowing the ANR to detain those suspected of undermining state security. A common tactic used by the ANR to circumvent legal constraints is to collaborate closely with police to intimidate opponents.
Most infamously, the ANR has been the source of numerous human rights abuses over its tenure. A 2015 report by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office claims that 93 out of 142 human rights violations were committed by police and intelligence units.
In terms of foreign connections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sought increased connections with the People’s Republic of China, especially in military matters. PLA advisors have already begun training Congolese soldiers, so it is likely that intelligence sharing is not out of the question. China’s own history with media suppression does not bode well for the Congo’s future if they seek more influence.
Surveillance of political opponents
On January 5, 2023, two journalists from Shilo FM, a private broadcasting station in Lubao, were detained for 48 hours by ANR agents for alleging that the ANR operates secret illegal holding cells. Both journalists were released unconditionally.
On May 18, 2022, RSF reported that three journalists were tortured for their involvement in a radio broadcast discussing irregularities in secondary school graduation exams. These journalists were summoned to the ANR headquarters where they were stripped, tortured, and denied food for several hours.
Former General Manager Mutondo was repeatedly accused of using the ANR for political repression against pro-democracy activists during the country’s political crisis. In 2016, such repression was in response to then-president Joseph Kabila remaining in office beyond congressional limits.
Inzun Kakiak- General Manager (2019-present)
Kalev Mutond, AKA “Mutondo”- Former Director of ANR, source of human rights abuse accusations (2011-2019)
Joseph Kabila- Former President of DRC (2001-2019)
Félix Tshisekedi- Current President of DRC (2019-present)
Group Identifiers: Because the ANR is a national intelligence agency, they use uniforms common among police and military forces. They likely have access to military and police inventories, which are comprised mostly of obsolete Soviet-made equipment and vehicles. They often collaborate with police and military forces. One force of note is the Republican Guard, an elite army unit tasked with protecting the President. These guardsmen are regarded as the most well-trained and well-equipped.
Analytical Assessment: Due to the Congo’s uncertain present, it will be difficult to determine how much of a threat the ANR will become. The Congo’s politics make it unlikely those in power will be brought to justice. The growing relationship between the DRC and China should be investigated further, especially with regard to their military cooperation. The DRC’s security forces are barely enough to manage the country due to persistent rebellions, the aftermath of the Congo Wars, and partisan instability making them a ripe target for global powers to exploit.