Rwanda Stirs Deadly Brew of Troubles in Congo

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by fantassin, Dec 5, 2008.

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  1. A very interesting article from the NYT.

    December 4, 2008

    Rwanda Stirs Deadly Brew of Troubles in Congo

    By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

    KIGALI, Rwanda — There is a general rule in Africa, if not across the world: Behind any rebellion with legs is usually a meddling neighbor. And whether the rebellion in eastern Congo explodes into another full-fledged war, and drags a large chunk of central Africa with it, seems likely to depend on the involvement of Rwanda, Congo’s tiny but disproportionately mighty neighbor.

    There is a long and bloody history here, and this time around the evidence seems to be growing that Rwanda is meddling again in Congo’s troubles; at a minimum, the interference is on the part of many Rwandans. As before, Rwanda’s stake in Congo is a complex mix of strategic interest, business opportunity and the real fears of a nation that has heroically rebuilt itself after near obliteration by ethnic hatred.

    The signs are ever-more obvious, if not yet entirely open. Several demobilized Rwandan soldiers, speaking in hushed tones in Kigali, Rwanda’s tightly controlled capital, described a systematic effort by Rwanda’s government-run demobilization commission to send hundreds if not thousands of fighters to the rebel front lines.

    Former rebel soldiers in Congo said that they had seen Rwandan officers plucking off the Rwandan flags from the shoulders of their fatigues after they had arrived and that Rwandan officers served as the backbone of the rebel army. Congolese wildlife rangers in the gorilla park on the thickly forested Rwanda-Congo border said countless heavily armed men routinely crossed over from Rwanda into Congo.

    A Rwandan government administrator said a military hospital in Kigali was treating many Rwandan soldiers who were recently wounded while fighting in Congo, but the administrator said he could be jailed for talking about it.
    There seems to be a reinvigorated sense of the longstanding brotherhood between the Congolese rebels, who are mostly ethnic Tutsi, and the Tutsi-led government of Rwanda, which has supported these same rebels in the past.

    The brotherhood is relatively secret for now, just as it was in the late 1990s when Rwanda denied being involved in Congo, only to later admit that it was occupying a vast section of the country. Rwanda’s leaders are vigilant about not endangering their carefully crafted reputation as responsible, development-oriented friends of the West.

    Senior Rwandan officials do not deny that demobilized Rwandan soldiers are fighting in Congo, but they say the soldiers are doing it on their own, without any government backing.

    “They are ordinary citizens, and if their travel documents are in order, they can go ahead and travel,” said Joseph Mutaboba, Rwanda’s special envoy for the Great Lakes region.

    But according to several demobilized soldiers, Rwandan government officials are involved, providing bus fare for the men to travel to Congo and updating the rebel leadership each month on how many fighters from Rwanda are about to come over. Once they get to the rebel camps, the Rwandan veterans said, they flash their Rwandan Army identification cards and then are assigned to a rebel unit.

    “We usually get a promotion,” said one fighter who was recently a corporal in the Rwandan Army and served as a sergeant in the rebel forces last month. He said that he could be severely punished if identified and that Rwandan officials and rebel commanders told the fighters not to say anything about the cooperation.

    Another cause for suspicion is Rwanda’s past plundering of Congo’s rich trove of minerals, going back to the late 1990s when the Rwandan Army seized control of eastern Congo and pumped hundreds of millions of dollars of smuggled coltan, cassiterite and even diamonds back to Rwanda, according to United Nations documents.

    Many current high-ranking Rwandan officials, including the minister of finance, the ambassador to China and the deputy director of the central bank, were executives at a holding company that a United Nations panel in 2002 implicated in the illicit mineral trade and called to be sanctioned. The officials say that they are no longer part of that company and that the company did nothing wrong. Nonetheless, eastern Congo’s lucrative mineral business still seems to be heavily influenced by ethnic Rwandan businessmen with close ties to Kigali.

    Some of the most powerful players today, like Modeste Makabuza Ngoga, who runs a small empire of coffee, tea, transport and mineral companies in eastern Congo, are part of a Tutsi-dominated triangle involving the Rwandan government, the conflict-driven mineral trade and a powerful rebel movement led by a renegade general, Laurent Nkunda, a former officer in Rwanda’s army.

    More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/africa/04congo.html?_r=1&em
     
  2. I am beging to think there are only two opptions to sort out the wole African problem.

    Recollanise with UN sanction.

    Pull out every thing ,UN,NGAs ect and let them get on with it

    In my life time there has never been peace in the area, since the Europeans pulled out, In African history there were lower death rates during collonial times than after they where given independence sad but true.