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UN Group of Experts Finds New Evidences of Rwandan Invasion of DRC

UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo has found fresh evidences of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Meanwhile, Rwandan operatives within ICGLR sub-committee continue to assert that the problem in the DRC and the region is caused by the Rwandan rebels from three groups: Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana) and General Kayumba and Colonel Karegeya’s troops.

Fresh Graves and Burial Sites of RDF Soldiers Killed in DRC
According to sources from the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF), the UN Group of Experts acted on a tip from Rwandan Government insiders and satellite images provided by unnamed services. The satellite images show fresh graves and burial sites of tens of troops in the Rwandan military cemetery of Kanombe. The insiders alleged that the digging of the graves and the burial happened during nights to avoid undue attention. These tens of dead soldiers are assumed to be killed during operations to reinforce M23 rebels in the DRC. Confronted with the images and the proofs, the Rwandan Government denied as usual and said that the soldiers were killed during a UN mission in Darfour. But when the UN Experts checked the records, they found that only one Rwandan soldier, known as Lieutenant Vincent Mirenge, was recently killed.
Asked about the tens of fresh graves since July 15th, 2012, when only one Rwandan soldier is known to have been killed in Darfour, Rwandan government officials and Rwandan Defense Forces agents said that they actually waited to bury all the soldiers killed earlier in Darfour at the same time. Hence they gave the names of Sergeant-Major Jackson Muhanguzi and Sergeant Jean Claude Tubanambazi.

UN Experts asked whether the soldiers were buried in the tens of fresh graves. Also, when the UN Experts checked the records, they found that Sergeant Jean Claude Tubanambazi was a peace keeper in South-Sudan who was killed in early June 2012 and was buried immediately in an official ceremony, whereas Sergeant-Major Jackson Muhanguzi was killed in early July and was also buried in a known grave, not included in the ones identified by UN Experts and in the satellite photos.

Rwanda Government Shifts Blame to UN Experts

Since proofs and testimonies emerged pointing to Rwandan involvement in the invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to its supports to the M23 rebels, Rwandan Government has tried to blame the UN Experts for fabricating the proofs. Rwandan government officials especially targeted the head of UN Experts, Steve Hege, of having written, before he was hired as a UN Expert, a memo detailing the unwillingness of the Rwandan Government to bring peace in the region. Steve Hege, a US Citizen, is widely recognized as one of the few expert authorities on the Great Lakes Region. He is viewed as an independent thinker who has the grasp of the political and security issues facing the Great Lakes Region of Africa. According to sources within the Rwandan Government, the Rwandan Government is planning to arrest and try him of “revisionism and negationism”. Rwandan security forces would eventually detain him during his visit to Rwanda, Burundi or Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Two years ago, Rwandan government detained and imprisoned another expert on the region, Professor Peter Erlinder (see our articles here) and Here and more here. Professor Erlinder was released under pressure from the US State Department.

What irritates Rwandan Government the most, is the statement from Steve Hege arguing that Rwandan Government thwarted the initiative of ROme/Kisangani/Kasiki between the DRC Government and the National Democratic Congress (a coalition of Rwandan rebels operating in the DRC), under the mediation of Sant’Egidio Community, SIK-Norway and Eglise du Christ of Congo (ECC).
On the initiative, Steve Hege wrote: “The failure of a recent go-and-see visit of [Rwandan rebels] officers to Kigali, due to reported intimidations, raises significant doubts regarding the Rwandan promote repatriations. In mid 2008, over 150 members of a longstanding splinter faction FDLR-RUD, had voluntarily been disarmed by MONUC. Following lengthy negotiations in Kisangani, a trip was organized for some of its leadership to visit Kigali along with MONUC staff and embassy representatives. The same week the RDF had entered the Congo, the [Rwandan rebels] officers were brought to genocide memorials and refused entry to observe a Gacaca hearing although they noted from a distance that the accused were not allowed to defend themselves. Upon returning to the Congo, the entire group of ex-combatants and their dependents fled from the MONUC camp. Had the Rwandan government truly wanted their operations to facilitate voluntary repatriations, they would have seized the opportunity to ensure this delegation shared a positive impression of the current situation in Rwanda with other combatants.

DRC Government’s Lack of Direction and Leadership
As the UN Experts are compiling new evidences and reports, Rwandan experts working within ICGLR cub-committee are trying to build a new case. According to sources close to the ICGLR committee, Rwandan experts are arguing that M23 is only a symptom and that the real problem is the rwandan rebels based on the DRC territory. Rwandan experts have provided the list of three rebel groups: FDLR, RUD-Urunana and General Kayumba-Colonel Karegeya’s troops.

As usual, the DRC Government appears to have no clear direction on the conflict that is decimating the Congolese civilians. After grudgingly acknowledging and condemning the invasion by Rwandan and Ugandan defense forces, the DRC President Joseph Kabila went on to have closed door meetings with the Rwandan dictatoro General Paul Kagame in Addis-Abeba. After the meetings they had an official photo taken, all in smile and embraces. Then Joseph Kabila travelled to the capital of Uganda, the other aggressor, to have another meeting with General Paul Kagame, under the mediation of none other than … Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda. At the end of the meeting, the three heads of states agreed to create a sub-committee, led by Uganda and Rwanda to work on the conflict resolution. For many observers, the actions of Joseph Kabila appeared troubling, and may be due to either desperation, or intense pressure from powerful forces, or the lack of leadership.
What happened after the ICGLR sponsored Kampala Summit?

  • DRC Government has mobilized the youth to join the army for a prolonged struggle against the “Rwandan and Ugandan invaders.
  • DRC opposition leaders led by Mwenze Kongolo, a former Justice and Security Minister under Joseph Kabila’s father and from the same clan, and Vital Kamerhe, a former Speaker of the parliament, leveled serious criticisms against Joseph Kabila pointing to his lack of leadership on resolving the conflict and almost accused him of catering to Rwandan government’s interests.
  • Rwanda Defense Forces have been forcefully recruiting and training the youth and sending them to the DRC through the jungles and volcanos separating Rwandan and the DRC.
  • M23: now de facto led by General Laurant Nkunda, who has moved to Gisenyi and has been meeting commanders and troups in the towns of Ruftshuru, Jomba, and Kitchanga, Runyoni, and Ntamugenge.
  • M23 has also seen rifts within when some Tutsi parents started asking about the news of their sons forcefully recruited. This halted the advance on Masisi.
  • General Lafontaine’s UPCP has been consolidating and getting ready to play a prominent military role when General Lafontaine becomes the overall military commander of the combined M23-UPCP-Mbusa Nyamwisi’s forces.
  • Mbusa Nyamwisi’s forces: after seizing Kasindi with the help of Ugandan Defense Forces and looting a large quantity of the weapons, communication equipment, and ammunitions from FARDC arsenal, they withdraw to the areas surrounding Kasindi and control most of the Beni and Bunia surroundings. Mbusa Nyamwisi’s whereabouts change and he has been advised by Ugandan Government to avoid Uganda’s capital as much as possible so as not to give diplomatic ammunitions to UN Experts and the DRC government.
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