The international community called it the biggest crisis in the DRC since the official war ended in 2002, which left 5 million people dead. U.N. Secretary General Ban ki Moon called the violence "unacceptable" and a special envoy was appointed to deal with the problem. DRC President Joseph Kabila blamed Rwanda for creating and perpetrating the conflict with its support of Nkunda. Rwandan President Paul Kagame fired back by saying Rwanda had nothing to do with conflict, and that the violence was the Congolese government's own fault for not rooting out the Hutu rebels and having an undisciplined army.
Turns out they were both right. In December a scathing U.N. report independently researched concluded that Nkunda was being backed by Rwanda, and that the Congolese military was collaborating with the Hutu milita.
Both governments denied the charges, but as a result, Rwanda, which has enjoyed being a darling of the West for the last several years, was under an uncomfortable spotlight. Criticism of Kagame's regime grew and European countries began threatening to withhold aid. It was obvious something had to give, and that something was apparently Nkunda.
"They decided to drop Nkunda because he was an embarrassment and was too costly," Lacaille told ABC News.
In a place where war lords reign supreme, the taking down of one of the most powerful is a sign of movement in the conflict; it's just not clear yet whether it's a move towards peace or another chapter in seemingly intractable war.