Rwandan President General Paul Kagame has suspended four of his top military closest aides, in what appears to be yet another sign of a rift within the Rwandan military junta.
The military officers suspended and placed under house arrest on late Tuesday January 17, 2012 include the Chief of Staff of the Reserve Force Lt. General Fred Ibingira, Military Intelligence Chief Brigadier General Rutatina, the head of External Intelligence Colonel Dan Munyuza, and an army division commander Brigadier General Wilson Gumisiriza.
According to a statement to the press by the spokesperson of the Rwandan Ministry of Defense, Colonel Joseph Nzabamwita, the suspended high ranking military officers are accused of “indiscipline with respect to getting involved with civilians in business dealings in the DRC.”
However, AfroAmerica Network sources close to the Rwandan military intelligence give a different reason, with the smuggling of Congolese coltan, gold and timber being an excuse. In fact it is an open secret and sometimes well documented that almost all the high ranking military officers and members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front are involved in the smuggling.
According to the AfroAmerica Network sources, the real reason may be that the four military officers are punished for their close relations with the Joint Military Chief of Staff, General Kayonga. General Kayonga has become one of the main rivals of General Paul Kagame, especially after General Kagame escaped an assassination attempt on July 4, 2011 (see our article here).
In July 2011, Colonel Emmanuel Ndahiro was accused of assassination attempts on Rwandan exiled opposition leaders (see our article: on Colonel Emmanuel Ndahiro here. He was also cited in the international arm trafficking cases in USA, in the trials against the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout (see article here).
General Fred Ibingira has been accused by human rights organization of mass murders, especially the Kibeho massacres of more than 8 thousands unarmed civilians, mostly women and children.
In recent days, high profile cases of gold smuggling from eastern DRC were exposed by both the Congolese government and the media.
Thus, according to observers, the suspension of the high profile military leaders may be a ploy to quell the outcry in the public opinion. Or another sign of the rift within the Rwandan military junta.
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