According to AfroAmerica Network sources within the Congo Desk in Kigali, Rwanda and in the region bordering the DRC, Rwandan special forces wearing M23 uniforms have started to cross into DRC to reinforce those already there. Rwandan special forces within M23 rebel group started military operations in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in January 2022, killing FARDC soldiers and blaming Rwandan rebels of the FDLR, RUD-Urunana, and RPR-Inkeragutabara of starting the conflict. According to AfroAmerica Network sources with the Congo desk within the Rwandan Defense Forces, the reasons are more complex and strategic.
On January 4 and 6, 2022, the troops of M23, a congolese rebel group created, funded, and refinforced by the Rwandan military, attacked FARDC troops and killed more than 41 FARDC soldiers. Following the attacks, M23 rebels, through their spokesperson, started blaming FDLR fighters , allegedly in FARDC uniforms. M23 spokesperson also added that FARDC have been supplying heavy weapons and uniforms to FDLR and RUD-Urunana troops based in the the Masisi area.
Meanwhile, addressing the Rwandan Parliament on February 8, 2022, Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame made it clear that he was ready for intense military operations against the DRC and Uganda.
According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the plan to reinforce M23 rebels with new troops was put in action following a two weeks tour by General Paul Kagame across Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and West Africa. The tour was aimed at gathering support from some leaders, especially those of French speaking countries. In the meantime, General Paul Kagame was frustrated by several events and dynamics in the region and in international diplomacy:
- during his recent tour in Europe, despite proactive efforts, he was not given the audience he expected, in some of the meetings, especially during the 58th Security Conference held in Munich, Germany on February 18 – 20, 2022. In the meeting, he had planned to meet US Vice-President Kamala Harris, but the plan failed.
- he was not welcomed to a meeting of heads of states on peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa, known as Addis-Ababa Summit on the Regional Mechanism , held in Kinshasa on February 24, 2022. He instead sent the Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, also known as "No Way Out" in General Paul Kagame's circles or "Afande's Glorified Administrative Assistant" in the Rwandan government circles, to represent him.
The heads of states of the region, including Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, Burundi's Evariste Ndayishimye, and RDC's Felix Tshisekedi attended, but he decided to skip the meeting. Other heads of states who attended are Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, João Lourenço of Angola, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, and Faustin Archange Touadéra of Central African Republic (CAR). Moussa Faki Mahamat represented the African Union (AU), whereas Jean-Pierre Lacroix seated for the United Nations (UN).
According to AfroAmerica Network sources, he avoided the meeting when he realised that he was not welcome, especially given the widespread allegations of a failed coup attempt by Rwandan close associates and agents within the DRC government against Felix Tshisekedi (see DRC-Uganda-Rwanda - Update: Rwandan Military Under Cover of Congolese M23 Rebels in Eastern DRC, Blame on FDLR and RUD-Urunana Rwandan Rebels, and Coup Attempts).
During the meeting in Kinshasa, the Heads of states discussed the Mechanism plan of action for peace in the African Great Lakes region and its implementation. The mechanism was created in Addis-Ababa on Febryary 24, 2013. The latest meeting in Kinshasa was planned on Feb 5, 2022 by African Union (AU) Heads of state during a summit at theheadquarters in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. During the AU summit, President Kenyatta became the new AU's chairman replacing President Felix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). On February 24, 2022, DRC president Felix Tshisekedi replaced Yoweri Museveni as the head of the Mechanism.
According to other unnamed sources close to UDF and RDF, the latest crossing of Rwandan special forces to reinforce M23 rebels is in line with the military readiness as the top priority of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) military leaders. The first step of the readiness was the reinforcement of M23 rebels, the attacks against FARDC and claiming to fight against the rebels of the FDLR, RUD-Urunana, and RPR-Inkeragutabara.
AfroAmerica Network will continue to follow and update as the details become available and are checked.
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