US Secretary of State, John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary, William Hague have called Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame, today Friday November 1, 2013, to warn him of dire consequences if he does not stay out of the conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is the second time, in a year, that US and British leaders personally warn the Rwandan dictator to keep off the conflict in the DRC. In December 2012, US President Obama called General Paul Kagame, to give similar warnings.
In July 2013, US Department of State spokesperson, Jen Psaki, publicly condemned Rwandan political and military leaders for their involvement in the DRC conflict (see our article: End Any Support to the M23 and Withdraw Military Personnel from Eastern D.R.C: US Government Tells Rwandan General Paul Kagame of July 23, 2013)
Jen Psaki was reacting to allegations of support by Rwandan senior military and political leaders to the renegade M23 Congolese rebels. Rwandan military and political leaders have been accused of founding, funding, supporting, and reinforcing the M23 Congolese rebels since the rebels launched their attacks against the DRC Government in early 2012 (see here and especially US Congress Tackles Rwandan Government Support to M23 Rebels: Rwanda and Uganda Led by A Mafia-Like Network? in December 2012 or Kinshasa: How Rwandan Defense Forces Conquered Goma and M23 Claimed Victory of November 25, 2012 )
On two occasions, over a year, the United States has cut military aid to Rwanda, as a sign of discontent towards the Rwandan dictator (see US Cuts Military Aid to Rwandan Government for Supporting Congolese Militia of July 21, 2012 and US Government Suspends Military Aid to Rwandan Government Over Recruitment of Child Soldiers of October 3, 2013).
The latest warnings from the US and UK governments came as the rebels are facing defeat, following a coordinated military offensive by DRC forces, FARDC, United Nations Intervention Brigade, composed of Tanzanian, South African, and Malawian forces, and MONUSCO blue helmets. In the latest fightings, FARDC managed to capture a string of rebels strongholds, including the town of Kibumba, near the border between DRC and Rwanda, the military base of Rumangabo, the towns of Kiwandja and Rutshuru and the rebel headquarter of Bunagana.
As Bunagana was falling, some of the M23 rebels had to flee to Uganda and Rwanda, while others were withdrawing to the mountains overlooking Bunagana and into the forests covering the border areas between Rwanda, Uganda ,and DRC. From there, they tried to regroup, with the help from the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) special forces troops.
The renewed momentum by the FARDC is the work of two commanders: the new regional commander, Major-General Bahuma Ambamba and the commander of military operations, Colonel Mamadou N’Dala Moustafa (see FARDC Commander Colonel Mamadou N’Dala Moustafa Threatens to Bring War All Way to the Source of May 30, 2013).
Faced with the defeat of M23 rebels, whose the core of the fighting forces is the RDF special forces, General Paul Kagame held an urgent meeting on Wednesday October 29 , 2013. In the meeting, attended by the Rwandan Minister of Defense, General James Kabarebe, the Military Chief of Staff, the Army Commander, the Air Force Commander, and the Head of Department of Military Intelligence (DMI), General Paul Kagame said the following: “We would not feel discouraged. This is our cause. While other people sleep or take a rest, we need to work even harder. We need to work 24/7″.
That was before John Kerry’ and William Hague’s calls. Since then, M23 and the Rwandan Defense Forces Special forces have been on the run, fleeing unrleting bombs by FARDC and UN Intervention Brigade.
Sources in Mukamira, Northwestern Rwanda, told AfroAmerica on Friday evening that hundreds of M23 rebels and Rwandan Defense forces have been abandoning their weapons and uniforms and streaming into Rwanda, from the Virunga National park. They are being housed in the Mukamira military camp.
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