Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Further evidence of Paul Kagame’s destabilizing character in Eastern Congo

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Ambrose Nizeyimana, a Rwandan blogger writes about the involvement of Rwandan troops in the DRC. While you might think this is past tense, the reality is that Paul Kagame's army is still very active in the eastern region. The story is not an easy one to understand. Alliances change very rapidly, and Rwanda often allies itself with their enemies (Hutu FDLR) in order to loot DRC's minerals. The Congolese army (FARDC) has also collaborated with the FDLR at various stages in the region's volatile history. The most important moral lesson is that, the international community needs to start shunning armed actors whether in the DRC or in Rwanda. The less legitimacy they command internationally, the close we can come to achieving peace in the region. Below is the Nizeyimana's piece.

Saturday, 30 October 2010 at 18:54 – David Barouski reported on his online pages facts confirming what has always been the reality on the ground but carefully misrepresented in mainstream media, because of diverse interests they protect. The destabilizing character of Paul Kagame in Eastern Congo under different disguises is uncontestable since the time he first invaded DRC alongside Uganda and Burundi in 1996. 

Barouski explains that, ‘Rwandan soldiers in FARDC uniforms have been spotted near some of the mining areas there.  There are also reportedly Rwandans trying to strike deals with Congolese traders in Beni-Lubero to create mining cooperatives.  Some sources claim they are planning to go to Northern Katanga and South Kivu as well.  Sources in Goma claim that, despite the smuggling, coltan stocks bought illegally before the mining ban are being smuggled to Rwanda without much problem, as the border guards and customs officials are still easily paid off.  Charcoal, ivory, wildlife, and cash crops are still smuggled as well.’

The source continues highlighting other troubling development further south in the same Eastern Congo. ‘In South Kivu, the FRF have allied with the FDLR.  In the past, prior to the arrest of Laurent Nkunda, the FRF was allied with the CNDP and Kigali, as pointed out in the UN Panel of Experts report of 2008.  Both groups joined, in part, because their numbers have dwindled.  The FDLR has lost about half of its capacity due to the FARDC and RDF operations.  However, RDF soldiers who deployed in the area, along with Amani Leo units, have been unable to dislodge them due to difficult terrain.  RDF soldiers are said to be fighting the FRF in Itwombe.  There is talk that the FNL may join this coalition, and other Bembe from that region may join in as well.’

David Barouski goes on explaining some of the intricacies of what forces on the ground are at.
Rwanda is concerned that if the FNL take to fighting again, and especially if they team up with the FDLR, the FDLR will be able to have access to inflitrate Rwanda from the southern front via Nyungwe if they can get past border security and the patrols and bases in and along the forest.  Rwanda’s forces are stretched somewhat thin, as numerous soldiers have infiltrated Congo to fight and other 3,200 – 3,300 soldiers and police are in Darfur. 

There is also the pro-Nkundists, defected RDF soldiers, and the CND holed up in Uganda to the North.   Rwanda does not need to defend another front.  The RDF soldiers in Congo hope to severely weaken the FDLR, FPLC, pro-Nkundists, and all other anti-Rwandan militias before they can organize and possibly form an alliance.  Kigali would prefer to use smaller commando units and use their army intermittently, not as an occupying force in large numbers.

After the mass rapes in Luvungi, following a meeting between President Kagame and President Kabila, the FARDC inacted the mining ban and launched a military attack in Walikale territory to defeat the Mai-Mai Cheka, FDLR led by General Mudacamura and a militia led by Colonel Emmanuel Nsengiyumva.  The militia allegedly has pro-Nkundists in its ranks.  With Kabila’s permission, the RDF went to Walikale and sources claim Bosco was sent there as well.  The purpose of the operation appears to be to get the mine out of the hands of the FDLR and pro-Nkundists and back into the hands of Bosco and his loyalists in the FARDC and his militia the FLEC.  They can still collect illegal taxation along the routes.  That way, Rwanda, and the FLEC, can potentially at some point benefit from the cassiterite trade there while depriving anti-Rwandan militias of the funding they sorely need.  Rwanda needs to back the FLEC as a proxy against the anti-Rwandan militias and the FLEC is protecting some of the land owned by prominent RPF members and high-ranking RDF soldiers.

They are also helping provide protection for the Tutsi refugee returnees, and the Rwandans who are sneaking across the border with them and settling in Masisi territory, bringing their cattle and belongings with them.  Some sources claim the new occupants of Bisie, officially one of the brigades of the 21st sector (recall the Rwandans are in FARDC uniform), might be looking to cut deals with new traders before the mining ban is lifted.  This coincides with the alleged visitation of Rwandans looking to set up joint cooperatives.  Keep an eye on Rwanda’s export numbers.  The FLEC also appears to have allied with the Hutu elements of PARECO.

It is also being said that the FLEC, under Bosco’s command, have allegedly been helping Rwanda’s DMI assassinate key ex-CNDP officers allied with Nkunda as well as CNDP moneymen allied with Nkunda.  These assassinations have occurred in Congo.  Some pro-Nkundists are now allegedly joining the FLEC’s ranks or alligning themselves with the pro-Bosco FARDC elements.  Officially, Bosco is supposed to be relieved of his position in the FARDC.  Pres. Kabila is apparently beginning to move the ex-CNDP out of North Kivu, as mentioned before, but don’t be surprised if the ones moved are the pro-Nkundists, not the pro-Bosco ex-CNDP soldiers.

All the above developments led to General Kabarebe to visit officials in Kinshasa last week.  In addition, there was a recent meeting of the Intelligence chiefs of Rwanda (Emmanuel Ndahiro [DMI]), DRC (Jean-Pierre Daruwezi [ANR]), and Burundi (Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana [SNR]) in Bujumbura to discuss how to coordinate intellegence between their respective countries better in order to combat the non-state armed actors.  The first step will be to appoint liason officers for each country.

In this whole picture, the surprising element is the attitude of the international community which leaves free reign of internationally re-known military and political leaders accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of genocide, to operate without any condemnation. Bosco Ntaganda has an international warrant issued by ICC pending on his head. The UN report released on October 1st on crimes committed in Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003 accuses incontestably Paul Kagame of crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of genocide character against Hutu refugees and Hutu Congolese populations.

Wouldn’t it be true that MONUSCO currently in DRC as its predecessor MINUAR in Rwanda back in 1993/94 is working to protect interests of those external forces to the Great Lakes region exploiting its mineral resources, instead of peacekeeping? In that context, who would be the equivalent of General Dallaire in the case of MINUAR playing the card of destabilizing elements in Eastern Congo the same way the former facilitated the Rwandan Patriotic Front to pile up ammunitions in the country for its final control?

The timing of this reported incursion in Eastern Congo at the time of the US midterm elections reminds about the last official entry in DRC of Kagame’s soldiers on January 20th, 2009 on the day of the inauguration of Barack Obama. It looks as if Kagame’s military advisers count significantly on any possible reaction of US while intervening in DRC. They progress only when US administration is very politically preoccupied by internal affairs. Which means analysts should preempt his next military moves when there will be general elections in US in 2012, this of course if Paul Kagame is still around.

2 comments:

Kabanga said...

Thank you for publishing this article. I am happy that people are aware of the situation in Congo. It is good that people in Rwanda know that Kagame is building his country at the expense of millions of women and children. People should consider changing the leader of Rwanda before the judgement of GOD, come upon Rwanda.We all know that Rwandans have been trying to enlarge they territory,but God will not allow that to happen.I wonder why people like killing in Rwanda culture. I will have to study the story of your ancestors to understand. It seems to me that Rwandans have deep wounds but I don't know why! I don't even know which of the two tribes committed genocide, because Kagame has been trying to finish the hutu as well.This to me make both tribes guilty of killings!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kabanga for your comment on above article. It is true the majority of Rwandans are aware of what Paul Kagame and his small group of criminals do while occupying part of Eastern Congo under different disguises. It is unfortunate. But instead of generalising about all Rwandans, it would be more appropriate to point the accusing finger to the right responsible of crimes and atrocities being committed in the region.