To: Judy Miriga <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:44 AM
Subject: [wanabidii] Re: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
- The Team
- Daily Agenda
Rebels with a Cause Slam Corporate Greed
Published on Jul 22, 2013
DR Congo: M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians
New Evidence of Rwandan Support for M23
After a nearly two-month-long ceasefire, fighting resumed on July 14 between the Congolese armed forces and M23 rebels near the eastern city of Goma.
Residents and rebel deserters described recent support from within Rwanda to the abusive M23 forces. This includes regular movements from Rwanda into Congo of men in Rwandan army uniforms, and the provision of ammunition, food, and other supplies from Rwanda to the M23. The M23 has been recruiting inside Rwanda. Rwandan military officers have trained new M23 recruits, and have communicated and met with M23 leaders on several occasions.
“Not only is Rwanda allowing its territory to be used by the abusive M23 to get recruits and equipment, but the Rwandan military is still directly supporting the M23,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “This support is sustaining an armed group responsible for numerous killings, rapes and other serious abuses.”
The latest Human Rights Watch findings are based on more than 100 interviews since March, including with former M23 fighters who left the movement between late March and July and civilians living near the Congo-Rwanda border, some of whom were victims of abuses.
In addition to M23 abuses, Human Rights Watch documented several cases of killings and rapes by Congolese Hutu militia groups operating in and around M23-controlled territory. Some Congolese army officers have allegedly supported factions of these groups, as well as factions of the allied Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) – a largely Rwandan Hutu armed group, some of whose members participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Since its inception in April 2012, the M23 has committed widespread violations of the laws of war. Despite numerous war crimes by M23 fighters, the armed group has received significant support from Rwandan military officials. After briefly occupying Goma in November, then withdrawing on December 1, the M23 controls much of Congo’s Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories, bordering Rwanda.
On April 25 and 26, M23 fighters killed 15 ethnic Hutu civilians in several villages in Busanza groupement in Rutshuru territory, and at least another 6 in mid-June, in an apparent attempt to “punish” villagers for alleged collaboration with Congolese Hutu militias.
Other civilians killed by M23 fighters since March include a 62-year-old man who was shot dead because he refused to hand his sons over to the M23, a motorcycle driver who refused to give money to the M23, M23 recruits who were caught after trying to escape, and others accused of collaborating with Hutu militia.
On July 5, four M23 fighters gang-raped a 12-year-old girl as she went to fetch water in her village in Rutshuru. An M23 fighter who accosted an 18-year-old woman near Bunagana shot her in the leg on April 15 when she refused to have sex with him.
Since June, M23 leaders have forced local chiefs in areas under their control to undergo military and ideological training and obtain recruits for the M23. The M23 considers these chiefs to be part of their “reserve force” that can be called upon to provide support during military operations.
M23 fighters have arrested or abducted dozens of civilians in recent weeks in Rutshuru, most of them Hutu. The M23 accused many of them of collaborating with the FDLR or allied Congolese Hutu militias. M23 fighters beat them severely, tied them up, and detained them. The M23 then forced many of them to undergo military training and become M23 fighters.
A former M23 police officer, who deserted in April, told Human Rights Watch that he participated in investigations of killings of civilians. He said that before each investigation, a high-ranking M23 commander, Innocent Kayna, told him: “You will do the investigation. You will say it’s bandits in the neighborhood who killed, not M23.”
Human Rights Watch contacted the M23’s military leader, Sultani Makenga, but he was unavailable to speak about the recent alleged abuses.
Those recruited in Rwanda into the M23 include demobilized Rwandan army soldiers and former FDLR fighters, most of whom had become part of the Rwandan army’s Reserve Force, as well as Rwandan civilians. A 15-year-old Rwandan boy told Human Rights Watch that he and three other young men and boys were promised jobs as cow herders in Congo, but when they got to Congo were forced to join the M23. They were given military training by Rwandan officers in Congo and told they would be killed if they tried to escape. Other M23 deserters also said Rwandan officers were training new M23 recruits.
Former M23 officers who had been part of previous Rwanda-backed rebellions said they recognized officers serving with the M23 who they knew were members of the Rwandan army. Congolese deserters told Human Rights Watch that a number of M23 fighters admitted freely that they were Rwandan. Some said they had served in the Rwandan army’s peacekeeping contingent in Somalia or Darfur.
Recent M23 deserters interviewed by Human Rights Watch described frequent – in some cases weekly – arrivals of soldiers and recruits from Rwanda. Sometimes these were rotations, with new soldiers replacing others who had returned to Rwanda. Weapons, ammunition, large containers of milk, truckloads of rice, and other supplies were brought to the M23 from Rwanda. M23 deserters also described phone conversations and meetings in both Rwanda and Congo between senior M23 leaders and people the deserters were told or knew to be Rwandan officials.
All of the recent M23 deserters interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that Rwandan soldiers, officers, and trainers were present throughout their time with the M23, and that there had been new arrivals from Rwanda in recent months.
“For the past 17 years, the Rwandan army has repeatedly deployed troops to eastern Congo and backed abusive proxy forces responsible for war crimes,” Bekele said. “As in the past, Rwanda denies it’s supporting the M23, but the facts on the ground speak for themselves.”
Rwandan government and military officials did not respond to Human Rights Watch’s requests for a meeting. Rwandan officials in the past have repeatedly denied allegations that the government is providing support to the M23.
The Rwandan government should immediately halt all support to the M23 because of its broadly abusive behavior, Human Rights Watch said. The United Nations and United States special envoys for the Great Lakes region and donor governments should publicly denounce continuing Rwandan support to the M23 and call for sanctions against senior Rwandan officials responsible for backing the armed group.
The Congolese government should immediately suspend, investigate, and prosecute as appropriate Congolese military officers and government officials who have provided support to the FDLR or allied groups. The government should make clear that abusive militia commanders will not be integrated into Congo’s army as part of any political settlement.
According to international journalists present near the front line and photographs seen by Human Rights Watch, Congolese army soldiers treated the corpses of M23 fighters killed in combat on July 16 in a degrading manner, stripping them, making ethnic slurs, and prodding their genitals with weapons. International law prohibits “committing outrages upon personal dignity,” including against the dead. Human Rights Watch also documented cases in which the Congolese army detained former M23 fighters and alleged collaborators for several weeks without bringing them before a court, and often incommunicado and in harsh conditions.
Congolese military officials should appropriately discipline officers and soldiers responsible for mistreating corpses, and ensure that such acts cease immediately. Military and judicial officials should ensure that captured combatants and civilians are treated in accordance with due process standards, including being promptly brought before a judge and charged, or released. Detainees should not be mistreated or held in inhumane conditions.
Summary Executions and Other Attacks by the M23Human Rights Watch has documented 44 summary executions committed by the M23 since March. M23 fighters have also killed and wounded an unknown number of civilians, including some caught in the crossfire during fighting.
M23 fighters killed 15 Hutu civilians in several villages in Busanza groupement in Rutshuru territory on April 25 and 26, and at least another 6 in mid-June, in an apparent attempt to “punish” villagers for alleged collaboration with Congolese Hutu militias.During the attack on the night of April 25, a group of M23 fighters moved through the villages of Ruvumbura, Kirambo, Nyamagana, and Shinda, killing and looting as they went. A 43-year-old mother of three told Human Rights Watch: “When they started killing people, we scattered into the bush. My husband went back to try to get our belongings, and they killed him. They shot him in the head.”
In late May, M23 fighters shot dead a 62-year-old man in Ntamugenga because he refused to hand his sons over to the M23. On May 15, M23 fighters stopped a motorcycle driver outside Kiwanja and killed him because he did not give them money. In mid-June, M23 fighters shot a moneychanger several times in the chest, killing him. They then told his wife, “Give us money or we’ll do to you what we did to your husband.” She handed over their money, and the fighters left.
In Kibumba in mid-May, an M23 officer, Col. Yusuf Mboneza, ordered the execution of a 24-year-old man whom he accused of being a thief. After the execution, Mboneza called the villagers to a meeting and displayed the young man’s corpse, saying it should serve as a warning to anyone else who might steal.
Others summarily executed by the M23 since March were new recruits and prisoners who unsuccessfully tried to escape.
On June 21, the M23 caught a Congolese M23 fighter known as “Tupac” as he tried to flee near Kabuhanga. They took him back to the military camp at Kamahoro, where the commander ordered the troops into formation and told soldiers to shoot him to discourage other deserters. They shot Tupac twice in the chest at close range. An M23 deserter told Human Rights Watch that he and other recruits were forced to bury Tupac.
After a clash between the M23 and a Congolese Hutu militia group on June 18, M23 fighters looted several villages in Busanza. The fighters demanded money from a 33-year-old woman. When she said she had no money, the fighters cut her on the shoulder with a machete and struck her 11-year-old son on the head. On April 15, an 18-year-old woman was shot in the leg when she refused to have sex with an M23 fighter who approached her at her farm near Bunagana. The victims of these attacks survived with serious injuries.
Rape by the M23Human Rights Watch has documented 61 cases of rape of women and girls by M23 fighters between March and early July. Because of the stigma surrounding rape and fear of reprisals, the actual number of victims may be much higher. Many of those raped were in their fields or collecting firewood. M23 fighters accused some of them of being the “wives” of FDLR fighters. Most of the rapes occurred close to M23 positions, and some victims recognized the attackers as M23 fighters they had seen before. The rapists frequently told their victims that they would be killed if they spoke about the rape or sought medical treatment.
A 12-year-old girl told Human Rights Watch that an M23 fighter caught and raped her in June as she and her friends were buying sugar cane in a field near an M23 position in Rutshuru:
A 17-year-old girl said M23 fighters had raped her twice. The second time, in June, occurred when she was alone in her house after M23 police abducted her husband and forced him to join a night patrol:
A 35-year-old Hutu woman who was raped by an M23 fighter near Bunagana in June told Human Rights Watch:
Forced Recruitment, Including of Children, and Abductions by the M23Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of cases of forced recruitment by M23 forces since March, including of children. Recruitment appears to have increased in recent months as the M23 has struggled to keep its forces’ numbers up. Over 700 M23 fighters and political cadres fled to Rwanda when Bosco Ntaganda’s faction of the M23 was defeated by an M23 faction led by Makenga in March, an estimated 200 M23 fighters were killed during the infighting, and scores of fighters have deserted.
Since June, the M23 leadership has held several meetings with local chiefs and other community leaders and demanded their help in recruiting new fighters. In early June, the M23 forced local leaders and chiefs to attend a week-long military training conducted by Rwandan officers. They also received “ideological training,” which included the M23’s vision for taking over Congo.
The chiefs were released but are supposed to form part of a “reserve force” that can be called upon when necessary. The M23 ordered them to find recruits in their villages and send them to the M23. One local leader who participated in the training told Human Rights Watch that they had been told to give M23 officials the names of demobilized youth in their villages, so that the M23 “could then go themselves, find the demobilized youth, and make sure they joined up.”
The M23 have arrested Hutu civilians whom they accused of collaborating with or supporting the FDLR or Congolese Hutu militia groups. The fighters detained, beat and whipped these civilians, and took many of them to an M23 military camp, where they were trained and forced to become M23 fighters.
A 19-year-old secondary school student told Human Rights Watch that he was recruited by the M23 in March while he was farming near Kalengera, in Rutshuru:
On June 3, the M23 went from house to house in Kiwanja’s Kachemu neighborhood, apprehending about 40 young men and boys whom they accused of collaborating with a local militia group. The fighters beat the civilians and detained them in a cell at the M23’s base in Nyongera. Many had difficulty walking the next day as a result of the ill-treatment. About half of the youth were released after their families paid the M23 guards; 20 were taken to Rumangabo to be trained as fighters.
In other cases, families do not know what happened to abducted relatives. In March and April, for example, M23 fighters in Busanza abducted four young men whom they accused of collaborating with a Congolese Hutu militia. Their families have not heard from them since.
Congolese army soldiers captured by M23 fighters described torture and other ill-treatment in detention. One soldier, who was taken by the M23 in December and escaped in early July, said that two other soldiers held prisoner with him were beaten to death. For three days, the rebels hit the prisoners with sticks and stomped on their chests, while their legs and arms were tied together. While beating them, the M23 demanded information about where the Congolese army was hiding its weapons. The two men were not given medical treatment and died in detention.
M23 Recruitment in Rwanda and Other Rwandan Support
Based on interviews with 31 former M23 fighters who deserted since late March and numerous civilians living on both sides of the border, Human Rights Watch has documented military support from Rwanda to the M23. The support includes the provision of weapons and ammunition. Armed men in military uniform have moved regularly from Rwanda into Congo to support the M23; these could be new recruits and demobilized soldiers who were given uniforms before crossing into Congo, or serving Rwandan soldiers.Rwandan army officers have been seen at M23 bases, leading training for new recruits, and recruiting for the M23 in Rwanda.
Those recruited in Rwanda and taken across the border to fight with the M23 include demobilized Rwandan soldiers and former FDLR fighters who are part of the Rwandan army’s Reserve Force, as well as civilians, including boys. Between January and June, UN peacekeepers demobilized and repatriated 56 former M23 fighters who said they were Rwandan nationals. But M23 deserters interviewed by Human Rights Watch, as well as the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, said that Rwandan army officers forcibly brought back Rwandan nationals who escaped the M23 and tried to return to Rwanda.
Human Rights Watch has documented the cases of seven Rwandan children, ages 15, 16, and 17, who were forcibly recruited in Rwanda in March and April, forced to fight with the M23, and were later able to escape. Human Rights Watch has received reports of other children recruited in Rwanda in recent months who have not been able to escape.
A 15-year-old Rwandan boy told Human Rights Watch that he was forcibly recruited from his village in Nyabihu district in Rwanda with two other boys and a young man in late April. The four of them were making bricks when two men in civilian clothes offered them jobs as cow herders in Congo. The two men then took them by motorcycle to the Congolese border, and on to an M23 military camp. They were forced to become M23 fighters and were warned that they would be killed if they refused or tried to escape.
The 15-year-old said that Rwandan army officers gave them military training for 10 days and that many other Rwandans were in his group of 58 new recruits. He said some of the Rwandan recruits tried to escape, but they were caught and brought back to the camp.
A Congolese M23 officer who deserted in late May told Human Rights Watch that Rwandan recruits and soldiers arrived regularly throughout his time with the M23, from November through May. He said the soldiers would come and go, as they rotated in and out. The recruits were given military training and forced to stay in Congo. Many tried to flee back to Rwanda, he said, but some were caught once they crossed into Rwanda and were taken back to the M23.
One deserter told Human Rights Watch that a Rwandan soldier in his unit had told him in April that he was a demobilized soldier and had come to fight in Congo so he could have a higher rank in the Rwandan army when he went back. He said that two other Rwandans in his unit had escaped to Rwanda in March, but had been re-recruited and brought back to the M23. A former M23 officer said that two Rwandans in his unit escaped in mid-April. Soon after they arrived in Rwanda, the former officer said, neighborhood authorities informed military intelligence officials, who brought the young men back to the M23. They were detained by the M23 for a week, then redeployed.
M23 deserters and Rwandan villagers said that Rwandan soldiers and new recruits often crossed the border on foot at night, using remote trails through Virunga National Park.
Two former M23 officers told Human Rights Watch that some of the Rwandan fighters in their units told them they had served in Somalia or Darfur as part of the Rwandan army’s peacekeeping contingent. Several M23 deserters interviewed by Human Rights Watch, who had served in previous Rwanda-backed rebellions, said they recognized Rwandan army officers from their past experiences with the Rwandan military.
A Congolese man from Ntamugenga was forcibly recruited in May and forced to start military training. “In our group, there were 107 in the training,” he said. “Most of the others were Rwandans. They told me they had been tricked and were promised money if they came to Congo. Many of them were children. The army officers from Rwanda gave us the training, and they told us themselves that they lived in Rwanda. [After the training], there were demobilized soldiers from Rwanda and some ex-FDLR in my group.”
Several M23 deserters who escaped since late May described to Human Rights Watch the difference in the way the M23 treated Rwandans and Congolese within the rebel movement. One said:
M23 deserters described deliveries of weapons, ammunition, food, phone credit, and other supplies from Rwanda. One former officer said that the wives of Rwandan officers often came to the M23’s positions in Congo to visit their husbands, bringing with them letters from family members in Rwanda.
All of the M23 deserters Human Rights Watch interviewed said the presence of Rwandan soldiers, officers, and trainers continued throughout their time with the M23, and that new arrivals – often bringing with them military and other supplies – continued coming from Rwanda in recent months.
Three former M23 officers close to the movement’s leadership told Human Rights Watch that the M23’s senior commanders spoke on the phone and met regularly with senior Rwandan army officers until at least late May or June, when the three deserted. Sometimes Rwandan officers came to Tshanzu or Rumangabo to meet with the M23 leaders, and sometimes the M23 leaders went to Rwanda for meetings.
Rwandan Support for M23 Military Operations
M23 deserters and civilians from near the Congo-Rwanda border reported an increase in support from Rwanda to the M23 at the time of three recent periods of heavy fighting – during infighting between two M23 factions in March; during fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army around Mutaho in late May; and before the fighting north of Goma in mid-July.
After the M23 split into two factions, Rwandan officials backed the faction led by Sultani Makenga against Bosco Ntaganda. A former M23 officer in Makenga’s faction told Human Rights Watch: “We were saved by Rwanda, and it’s thanks to their support that we were able to defeat Ntaganda’s group. They sent us ammunition and well-armed troops.”
Days before the fighting in Mutaho in late May, a young Congolese man told Human Rights Watch that M23 fighters abducted him in Kibumba groupement in mid-May. The fighters took him across the border into Rwanda, where they met a group of Rwandan soldiers. He and others with him were forced to carry containers of milk and boxes of ammunition and walk with the soldiers and rebel fighters back into Congo.
A 19-year-old Congolese student who was forcibly recruited by the M23 in March told Human Rights Watch that he and other M23 fighters were taken across the border into Rwanda in mid-May to pick up a delivery of weapons and ammunition and bring them back to the M23. They crossed into Rwanda at Gasizi and the following morning carried the weapons and ammunition to Kibumba in Congo. “The weapons were in two trucks,” he said. “We unloaded small bombs, machine guns, cartridges, and rocket launchers. Other Rwandans met us [in Gasizi] to help us carry the weapons back to Kibumba.”
Numerous local residents who were at or near the border between May 19 and 23 told Human Rights Watch that they saw groups of armed men in uniform crossing the border from Rwanda into Congo, including at Kasizi, Kabuhanga, and Hehu hill.
On May 20, for example, a teacher in Kasizi, who lives next to the border, saw three trucks arrive at the border at about 5 p.m. A large number of armed men in Rwandan military uniforms with Rwandan flags on their uniforms got out of the trucks and crossed the border into Congo on foot, through the forest, just to the side of the official border crossing.
On May 21, a local resident told Human Rights Watch, he saw at least several dozen soldiers with Rwandan flags on the shoulders of their uniforms by the Ruhunda market in Kibumba at about 11 a.m., walking in single file. They had weapons and some were carrying boxes. Some who appeared to be of a higher rank carried walkie-talkies.
A farmer told Human Rights Watch that on the evening of July 10 he was visiting a relative who lives next to the Rwanda border in Kibumba groupement when he heard the sound of vehicles, looked out the window, and saw armed men in uniform going from the border toward Kibumba. Some were on foot and others in vehicles.
A farmer who lives on the Rwandan side of the border said he saw similar movements of trucks between July 7 and 11, in the evenings, bringing soldiers to the Rwandan army military position at Njerima. The men got out of the trucks at the border and crossed into Congo on foot.
Another Rwandan civilian who lives near the border, in Rubavu sector, told Human Rights Watch that Rwandan army officers called him and other local residents to a meeting in early July. A Rwandan army captain leading the meeting told those present that the FDLR was close to the border. “Instead of letting the war come to Rwanda,” he said. “We will go to the other side.”
Four days later, the same Rwandan civilian saw hundreds of Rwandan soldiers cross the border into Congo, carrying heavy weaponry. “Some had heavy guns, the kind that break down and three men each take one section,” he said. “Others were carrying mortars. Most of the men were on foot, but they also used two trucks covered with sheeting.”
This man said he saw another large movement of Rwandan soldiers cross into Congo on July 8, a week before fighting broke out between the M23 and the Congolese army. During the following week, he saw smaller groups of soldiers cross into Congo.
A Rwandan farmer who lives near Kabuhanga village said he saw groups of several dozen Rwandan army soldiers cross into Congo between June 20 and June 30. He also saw a larger group cross on July 12, two days before fighting broke out.
Abuses by Hutu Militia with Support from Congolese Military Personnel
The M23’s control of territory weakened following the infighting between two M23 factions in March. Since then, Congolese Hutu armed groups, including the Popular Movement for Self-Defense (Mouvement populaire d’autodéfense or MPA), have carried out attacks in and around M23-controlled territory, and killed and raped several civilians. UN officials and former Hutu militia fighters told Human Rights Watch that some factions of these groups have received support from Congolese military personnel.
A 16-year-old girl told Human Rights Watch that on June 17, she, two other girls and an older woman who were coming home from their farm in Rutshuru were gang-raped by several Hutu militia fighters. In June, MPA fighters killed the local chief in Buchuzi, in Busanza groupement, as well as two M23 policemen. The fighters accused the chief of recruiting members for the M23. The attack followed a clash on June 6, when M23 fighters attacked the MPA and looted 12 houses and took dozens of goats.
Some of these Congolese Hutu groups are allied with the FDLR, which has long carried out horrific abuses against civilians in eastern Congo, including killings and rapes. Sources interviewed by the UN Group of Experts, cited in the group’s leaked interim report in June, said that Congolese army soldiers have supplied ammunition to the FDLR and that local Congolese army officers operating near M23-controlled territory and FDLR commanders “regularly meet and exchange operational information.”
Background on the M23 and Recent FightingThe M23 was formed in April 2012 after a mutiny by former members of a previous Rwanda-backed rebellion, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), whose members had integrated into the Congolese armed forces in 2009. With significant support from the Rwandan military, the M23 gained control of much of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories in Congo’s North Kivu province. In late November, the M23 seized the main eastern city of Goma, again with significant Rwandan military support. The M23 withdrew from Goma on December 1, when the Congolese government agreed to peace talks.
On February 24, 11 African countries signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region in Addis-Ababa, under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The signatories – including Congo and Rwanda – agreed not to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries; not to tolerate or provide support of any kind to armed groups; neither to harbor nor provide protection of any kind to anyone accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide or crimes of aggression, or anyone falling under the UN sanctions regime; and to cooperate with regional justice initiatives. The former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was appointed UN special envoy for the Great Lakes Region to support implementation of the Framework Agreement.
On March 18, Ntaganda, one of the M23’s leaders, surrendered to the US embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, following his defeat during infighting between two M23 factions. He was transferred to The Hague, where he is to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. Over 700 M23 fighters and political leaders loyal to Ntaganda also fled to Rwanda, including four people on UN and US sanctions lists: Innocent Zimurinda, Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege, and Jean-Marie Runiga.
Zimurinda and Ngaruye have been implicated in ethnic massacres, rape, torture, and child recruitment. They should not be shielded from justice but instead arrested and prosecuted without delay, Human Rights Watch said.
Makenga and Kayna (known as “India Queen”), who are still in Congo, are also on UN and US sanctions lists and are wanted on Congolese arrest warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Talks in Kampala, Uganda between the Congolese government and the M23 have made little progress. The Congolese government has insisted that it will not integrate into its forces or reward people implicated in serious human rights abuses, including those who are on UN sanctions lists. Providing official positions to human rights abusers can encourage future human rights violations and is an affront to victims of past abuses, Human Rights Watch said.
After the M23 withdrew from Goma in December, a ceasefire had largely held between the M23 and the Congolese army until heavy fighting broke out around Mutaho, eight kilometers northwest of Goma, on May 20 to 22.
Fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army resumed on July 14 north of Goma.
Since its internal split in March, the M23’s control over some territory has weakened, allowing the FDLR and allied Congolese Hutu groups to carry out incursions there.
A new Force Intervention Brigade , an African-led, 3,000-member force made up of troops from South Africa, Tanzania, and Malawi, is being deployed to eastern Congo. The force is part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO, and has a mandate to carry out offensive operations against armed groups operating in eastern Congo. The M23 has strongly opposed the deployment of this force.
To the Rwandan government:
- Immediately end all support for the M23;
- Cooperate with efforts to bring to justice M23 commanders allegedly responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious abuses, and ensure that any such commanders who have fled to Rwanda are not shielded from justice;
- Investigate and prosecute as appropriate Rwandan civilian and military officials who may be responsible for aiding and abetting war crimes by the M23 and other rebel forces in Congo.
To the Congolese government:
- Suspend, investigate, and prosecute as appropriate Congolese civilian and military officials who may be responsible for aiding and abetting war crimes by the FDLR and allied armed groups;
- Reject any settlement that rewards M23 leaders allegedly responsible for serious abuses, including Sultani Makenga and Innocent Kayna;
- Appropriately discipline officers and soldiers responsible for mistreating corpses, and ensure that such acts cease immediately;
- Ensure that captured combatants and civilians are treated in accordance with due process standards, including being promptly brought before a judge and charged, or released; ensure that detainees are not mistreated or held in inhumane conditions.
To the UN and US special envoys to the Great Lakes and governments providing aid to Rwanda and Congo:
- Denounce continued support to the M23 from Rwanda, and support sanctions against senior Rwandan officials responsible for supporting the M23 since 2012;
- Seek to ensure that any settlement between the Congolese government and the M23 excludes integration into the Congolese army of M23 leaders, including those on UN and US sanctions lists, implicated in war crimes and other serious abuses;
- Press for the arrest and prosecution of military commanders, including members of the M23, implicated in war crimes and other serious abuses;
- Suspend donor assistance to the Rwandan military for as long as it supports abusive armed groups in Congo, and continue to seek independent information about the use of Rwandan territory to recruit M23 members and the involvement of the Rwandan military in supporting the M23; include strong human rights benchmarks as part of other assistance programs to Rwanda.
Army: Fighting resumes in eastern Congo after lull
Army spokesman Col. Olivier Hamuli confirmed that fighting took place Monday at Kanyanja, a village 22 kilometers (14 miles) north of Goma, a strategic city on the border with Rwanda.
M23 occupied Goma last November after routing government forces, but withdrew in exchange for peace talks that have stalled. In clashes last week the army pushed the rebels back several kilometers from Goma.
A resident of Munigi village near Kanyanja, Isaac Warwanamiza, said the fighting was heavy with tanks and mortars being used. He said the rebels had started the exchange by shelling an army camp.
Rebel spokesman Vianney Kazarama denied the M23 started the fighting.
Army, M23 rebels resume fighting in eastern DR Congo
M23 rebels man the gate to the military academy in Rumangabo in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 20, 2013. Fresh fighting raged in the country's restive east for several hours as army helicopters attacked positions of the M23 rebels, who fired mortars in return. (AFP/File)
An M23 soldier sits in a confession booth during a session to teach rebel movement's values in DR Congo on July 20, 2013. The latest clashes in the central African country's mineral-rich but conflict-torn east broke four days of relative calm. (AFP/File)
The latest clashes in the central African country's mineral-rich but conflict-torn east broke four days of relative calm, further damaging a tattered truce that had lasted from late May, when UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited the region, until July 14.
"There have been clashes between our troops and the M23," a Congolese officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The M23 are firing mortars... and we've engaged helicopters to attack the enemy positions."
The M23, a group launched by Tutsi ex-soldiers who mutinied from the army in April 2012, confirmed the clashes and said army helicopters were attacking its positions around the towns of Kibati, just north of the flashpoint city of Goma, and Uvira, some 300 kilometres (200 miles) to the south.
"Since this morning the government has regularly been using helicopters... to bomb our positions in the Kibati and Uvira areas, but without success," M23 spokesman Vianney Kazarama told AFP.
He said the clashes stopped in the late afternoon, while a government officer told AFP on condition of anonymity there was a "lull" in the fighting.
There were no immediate reports of any casualties.
Kazarama renewed rebel accusations that the government is getting help from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan Hutu rebel group based in DR Congo.
The Congolese army and the M23 have both accused each other of collaborating with the FDLR, many of whose members are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, when Hutu extremists killed some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The UN has begun deploying its first-ever offensive force to the eastern DR Congo to fight the M23 and other armed groups. About two-thirds of the new 3,000-troop force is in place, and the UN said last week it was ready to send them into battle.
The M23 occupied Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, for 10 days in November before withdrawing from the city under international pressure.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/22/army-m23-rebels-resume-fighting-in-eastern-dr-congo/#ixzz2ZvTyEjNT
Flash-mobbing in the Kivus
Nonetheless, the city of Goma was hot on Thursday. With rumours flying around about Col. Mamadou being recalled to Kinshasa to be sent to Kisangani, the population of Goma went wild. There was a report from Thursday aired today on a local TV channel with an army wife screaming at the camera. It’s a real pity there seems to be no link online- the footage gave a clear example of how angry people were. Mobs in Goma seem to form in a flash. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the crowd advancing on me before my driver explained (saving me from harm for the third time that day) that I do not in fact work for the UN:
A few people I spoke to on Friday night expected fighting on Saturday but this too turned out to be a rumour (I sense a theme…) and there has been no fighting on Sunday. Goma too has calmed down. The government’s declarations on radio seem to have done the trick and prevented further protests against the UN in Goma. A motard today said it was because “we don’t work on Sundays”. With breath stinking of whiskey, it wasn’t clear he’d actually understood the question. This coming week will tell but through fairly prompt appearances in the media, the central government and the FARDC seem to be taking the (mis)information war in Goma seriously. Meanwhile, twitter is as busy as ever peddling (mis)information and websites continue to spread rumours- watch this space. Events on Thursday show that, in Goma, even imagined smoke, bouncing off enough motorbike mirrors can cause real fire.
What might we expect this coming week? Well, the troops seem to be at a standstill. Sources in the army say that they are waiting for orders from Kinshasa to attack. Of course, these could come at any moment, but Kinshasa might be waiting for the full deployment of the UN Intervention Brigade which should be complete in the coming 4-6 weeks. Or there might be a bit more to it…
“On est ensemble!”
President Kabila was in Brazzaville across the river from Kinshasa in neighbouring Republic of Congo on Friday and emphasised that discussions were ongoing in Kampala while insisting that the DRC would work together to manage the situation in the East. Without knowing where the pressure comes from, or what the motivation is, it sounds like the central government wishes to seek a political solution.
Kabila is in a precarious position in Kinshasa at the moment with a process of Concertation Nationale being pressured upon the President by the opposition and also the backing of the UN Security Council. The Concertation is effectively a mechanism politically to engage the opposition and civil society groups in DRC in a national dialogue “to consolidate national cohesion, to reinforce and to extend the authority of the State over all the national territory to end the cycles of violence in the East, to enjoin against all possible attempts at destabilisation of institutions and to accelerate the development of the country in peace and harmony” (my translation of this). The dialogue has been called for by the opposition following the disputed re-election of Kabila in 2011. Anti-Kabila feeling also bubbled over in Goma in the last week. The recent Brazzaville trip might be seen as heavy politicking to garner much needed popular support by playing the international head of state card.
What if the M23 attack this week? And why haven’t they over the weekend? Estimates of the number of M23 fighters puts them between 1,500 and 2,500 soldiers and the FARDC are better organised and the units currently deployed are better trained than those that lost Goma in November (see the studious commando below…). It may be that they feel that they are in a weaker position militarily. While the battle lines are still drawn where they are – only around 10 km north of the airport in Goma -, the M23 might imagine they’re in a better position to negotiate in Kampala.
The population in Goma is behind the idea of all out war. Militarily, the M23 seem to have been put on the back foot after Wednesday’s heavy fighting. So why would Kabila not take a populist move that seems militarily viable? Why have the guns gone quiet on Goma’s North-Western front? This week may be more about battles of wits in Kampala.
For a very good round up of what has been happening in the last week, see this report-
This motorbike taxi-man was ready for battle…
Protests against MONUSCO in Goma took place later in the afternoon. I drove through the protest but didn’t stop as the situation was too tense.
While rumours were spreading, around midday up near the front line, as Col. Mamadou received news of the rumours and worked to quell the population’s anxiety…
Getting the hang of this…
Here are some photos from near the front line as the fighting continued on Monday:
Congo-Kinshasa: Rumour Has It - the Importance of Gossip in the Battle for GomaBy Joseph Kay, 19 July 2013
The conflict between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese army (FARDC) near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the country's troubled east, has intensified since 14 July.
The struggle is being fought on two battlefields: with heavy weaponry around the deserted town of Kanyarucina, 14 km north of Goma, and in North Kivu's rumour mills. The heavy fire of the FARDC in the former is troubling the M23, whilst barbed words and unsubstantiated claims are putting the UN Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in the firing line.
Yesterday, Thursday 18 July, protests in Goma against MONUSCO led police to use tear gas and fire warning shots. Foreign NGOs advised their staff to stay inside their compounds and MONUSCO's Pakistani contingent prepared to increase patrols or even intervene.
Colonel Ndala Mamadou, the operational commander of the FARDC's latest campaign, paraded through Goma as a hero on Thursday morning. Passers-by and motorbike taxi drivers (so called motards) escorted his camouflaged Land Cruiser pick-up with mounted machine gun through the centre of the town. Crowds cheered Mamadou's name as he inspected a lorry being filled with fuel for the troops at the front and visited the Command Centre of the 802nd Infantry Regiment in Goma.
Four days into the renewed fighting, in which over 100 rebels have reportedly been killed, Mamadou is clearly adored by the citizens of Goma. Friendly, with a big toothy smile, he is a likeable character and on Thursday he was elevated to quasi-sainthood in the popular imagination of this lava-covered city. His popularity was explained by a woman in the crowd making menacing throat cutting gestures. The Colonel, she thinks, is the man to cut the M23's throat.
Support for Mamadou only appears to be matched by deep hostility towards MONUSCO. When following the Colonel around town for an interview, this was made clear.
First, outside a hospital, the aggression towards MONUSCO hit me on the leg in the form of a stone thrown by a soldier's wife. Then, my ears were buffeted with insults in Swahili and Lingala - two of DRC's four national languages.
My motorbike driver, in Swahili, and I, in poor Lingala, were forced to protest to an advancing mass of angry women and children that I was not from MONUSCO. Eventually, the woman who threw the stone smiled at me apologetically and the hatred was converted into a desire to help my reporting.
Back on the trail of the Colonel, following him out of town on the road to the airport, we discovered what the rumour of the day was: The colonel had been called to Kinshasa and was to be redeployed to Kisangani.
Rumours are rife in the DRC. In 2010, Kinshasa Chegues (street kids) proudly mocked my smartphone and explained that radio trottoire (the pavement radio that spreads gossip and rumour by word of mouth) was "faster than the internet".
In Goma, eager-eyed adolescents recounted Elvis-style rumours about Michael Jackson's death, implicating the CIA and claiming that the King of Pop was living in Lubumbashi and about to release a new single. Recent rumours, however, have had more serious implications.
As this new rumour spread, chants of "don't go!" and "he won't go!" wafted through billowing clouds of dust as the Land Cruiser and its cavalcade sped along the unfinished road towards the airport...and then continued past it. Rumours are that easily disproven. Mamadou wasn't off to Kinshasa and that should have been the end of it.
But it wasn't. The very idea that the central government might block FARDC's victory under Mamadou was enough to sustain anger - one banner read "Mamadou reste et Kabila part. RIP Kabila" (Mamadou stays [in Goma] and Kabila leaves. RIP Kabila). The chanting continued and became a carnival protest as the motards could no longer follow Mamadou as he sped through police barriers towards the front line.
The atmosphere and language used by people in Goma is of battle and all out victory. For many, it is MONUSCO that stands in the way. One young man protesting told Think Africa Press that "If Colonel Mamdaou leaves, we will attack all MONUSCO property". Other angry protesters insisted that their man could defeat the M23 but MONUSCO won't let him.
The motard's party at the barrier was broken up by the need to get back to earning a living and the calming words of National Police Commander of the District of Nyragonga, Jean-Marie Malosa.
Having successfully cooled the motards off and shifted them from his patch, he said that he was pleased to see that "the population is behind the army". An obvious lesson from this episode is precisely that: the population supports the army and morale is high. As I bumped around in the back of a military truck on its way to the front line through the eerily silent town of Kanyaruchina to meet the Colonel, the motards were busy on another patch.
News of the protests had reached the forward base where soldiers were taking a rest from front line duties and eating. The population's reaction to the rumours seemed to flatter the Colonel.
With a smile, he told Think Africa Press that they were not true. His mobile phone rang incessantly and between negotiating with the representatives of a private company in Goma to supply rations and water to troops, he gave orders to spread the word that he had not been called to Kinshasa.
Over-paid, over-sexed and over here
There are many frustrations with the UN in Goma. In November 2012, MONUSCO did not protect the city from the M23 who went on to hold it for ten days. Residents remember MONUSCO soldiers standing by as the M23 rolled into the provincial capital and then looted government offices and a hospital.
Not only do locals feel MONUSCO does not protect them, but there is a perception that members of MONUSCO are over-paid, over-sexed and over here. Whilst controversy in the past has led to tougher rules to reduce sex scandals, MONUSCO staff are still widely considered to be over-paid.
Speaking to motards over the last week, the perception is that Goma is awash with money. Not just from international humanitarian aid agencies, UN staff salaries and the service economy that springs up around these, but also in the supply of goods and services by local businesses to the charity sector. However, residents believe that this money fails to trickle down to them. "Expats are here to make money and take it back home", said one street vendor.
The UN hopes this mistrust will decrease once the newly formed Intervention Brigade comes to full strength next month. Formed by South Africans, Malawians, and Tanzanians, the Brigade - which is explicitly mandated to use force in combating destabilising militia - is currently deployed in Sake in North Kivu. Logistics equipment arrived in Goma on Monday and proceeded to Sake overnight.
Winning the street round
Rumours spread like wildfire and Goma is a tinderbox. Once a rumour takes hold it is hard to shake it off. The dispersed motards, despite Colonel Mamadou heading towards the front and not to the airport, still clung to the idea that their saviour was being sent away. And somehow MONUSCO was to blame.
On Thursday afternoon, Mamadou together with Lambert Mende, the government's spokesperson in Kinshasa, and Colonel Amuli, FARDC's spokesperson in Goma, called for calm and a stop to the protests against the MONUSCO on Radio Okapi. All three claimed that the rumours are a tactic by the M23 to destabilise the city.
However, the battle to dominate the discourse is not only taking place through radio trottoire. There are constant skirmishes occurring online too. From twitter to blogs, information and misinformation is playing an important role in manipulating perceptions of the state of play in North Kivu.
Blatant inventions on Twitter abound from the various accounts peddling false reports of the position of M23 fighters which have appeared every day since Monday alongside other rumours. With the situation so volatile and unreliable information so prevalent, perhaps it is a blessing that so few people have access to the internet in DRC.
Even when the Intervention Brigade arrive and alleviate some of the hatred towards MONUSCO, the motards will not be entirely satisfied. They will still have their own particular gripe because UN staff and aid workers are not allowed to use their service on security grounds. In the future, winning over the influential radio trottoire will remain as tough a challenge, as taking on the M23.
Joseph Kay is a consultant with StandProud. Currently based in DRC, he tweets and blogs in his own capacity at @joseph__kay and http://josephkayblog.wordpress.com
Congo protesters decry UN concern over army abuseNICK LONG July 19, 2013
GOMA, Congo (AP) — About 200 demonstrators marched toward a United Nations base in eastern Congo on Friday to protest a statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing concern over alleged rights abuses committed by the military.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 10:52 AM
Subject: [wanabidii] It is Time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
The history of DRC, metaphorically and literally, encompasses the history of the African continent as we know it. After 400 years of Portuguese domination, in the late 19th century King Leopold II of Belgium established it as his private colony. And at the historic Conference of Berlin -- we all know about the start of "scramble for Africa" -- the European powers acknowledged his claim to the Congo Basin. Pressured by the international abolitionist movement, Leopold ceded control of the Congo Free State to the state of -- to the Belgian nation, and in 1960 Congo got its independence.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 8:56 AM
Subject: RE: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
Subject: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
The Independent (Kampala)
East Africa: How Did Ivory Seized in Kenya Worth Sh4 billion Enter From Uganda?19 July 2013
There was nothing of the usual quickly assembled briefings to journalists over an incident that has obviously put the country on the spot. Instead Tourism Minister Maria Mutagamba and the Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director Andrew Seguya have, according to inside sources, opted to conduct a quiet internal investigation.
Among the lines being investigated is the assertion by Kenyan authorities that the ivory was from the so-called 'big elephants', which points to the Democratic Republic of Congo as the origin.
If the DR Congo was indeed the origin of the illicit cache, how did it clear through Uganda and end up in the Kenya port of Mombasa? Which officers, if any, on the Ugandan side were complicit in the smuggling racket?
There have been a series of ivory seizure in Kenya but the July 9 cache was the largest. The consignment was of some 770 pieces, hacked out of elephants.
Export documents showed that the ivory had come by vehicle from Uganda on 12 June.
The vehicle was then "parked" at a petrol station in Mombasa, until the consignment was brought into the port.
"The ivory was stashed in 69 bundles of several pieces and had been disguised as sun-dried fish," said Paul Utodo, the Communications Manager of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
"Some bags had worked polished pieces of ivory, while others had raw ivory," he added. Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Mbugua said the 3,287 kilogrammes of ivory were hidden in a shipment of groundnuts in Mombasa.
Some tusks were so big they weighed almost 60 Kgs which shows they were from really mature animals.
According to Mbugua, preliminary investigations by Kenya police point to the ivory being "packaged locally" in Kenya.
Earlier in July, another cache of ivory, weighing about 1,500kgs, was netted by Kenya police. It was hidden underneath dried fish to put the port sniffer dogs of the spoor. Both shipments were destined for Malaysia.
In January, KWS officials said that 3.8 tonnes of ivory were seized, also at Mombasa, apparently on transit from Tanzania to Indonesia. Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
On July 12, a court in Arusha, Tanzania, charged a businessman with smuggling more than 1000 elephant ivory tusks.
SelemaniIsanzu Chasema, in his 50s, is believed to have exported 781 tusks through Malawi in May according to the prosecution. He denied the charges.
Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years. Besides targeting rhinos, whole herds of elephants have been massacred for their ivory.
The illegal ivory trade, estimated to be worth between US$7 billion and US$10 billion a year, is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments.
The value of the ivory seized on July 9 has not yet been determined, Udoto said, but the two tonnes of ivory seized in January were estimated to be worth US$1 million.
On his recent three-nation visit to Africa in June ending July, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order launching a US$10 million bid to cut wildlife trafficking in Africa, with US$3 million in assistance earmarked for Kenya.
Akankwasah Barirega, the Prinicipal Wildlife Officer and acting spokesperson of the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, the government is still investigating the origin of the ivory seized in Kenya.
He says the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) together with the Nairobi-based Lusaka Agreement Taskforce--a regional group charged with controlling and eliminating the illegal trade in wildlife products are spearheading the investigation.
"We haven't got conclusive evidence but we suspect the ivory came from Congo [Democratic Republic]," Akankwasah told The Independent on July 13. Although, the intercepted ivory's origin is said to be Uganda, Akankwasah said, it cannot be from Ugandan elephants because the sheer volume confiscated would mean that Uganda remained without any elephants.
"We have about 4000 elephants in Uganda," he said, "We are quite sure this ivory is not from our elephants." However, he said the government is doing everything possible to stop Uganda's territory acting as a transit route for the illicit trade in wildlife products.
Akankwasah said that beside the recent establishment of an intelligence and investigation department at UWA, they have also beefed up their surveillance at the border points by working closely with the Uganda Revenue Authority.
He added that an amended Uganda Wildlife Act which is aimed at making the penalty of trading in wildlife products more punitive will soon be tabled before Parliament to tackle the problem which has re-emerged across the continent.
He said the recent interception of the two containers of ivory in Kenya is part of a wider continental syndicate that stretches from Nigeria, through the Central African Republic, Congo, way up to South Africa.
Akankwasah noted that although most African countries had contained the problem about 10-20 years ago, the vice had made a come-back mainly because of the proliferation of wars in Congo.
"Congo is the biggest driver of illicit trade in endangered species products like ivory," he said.
Late last year, game rangers in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo alleged they had spotted a Ugandan military helicopter flying very low over the park, on an alleged unauthorised flight in an area where poachers had killed 22 elephants and carried off their treasured tusks.
In the most quoted report of the incident, from the U.S. newspaper The New York Times, the UPDF was portrayed with suspicion.
African Parks, the South Africa-based conservation organisation that manages Garamba, said it had photographs of the Ugandan military transport helicopter.
Then-Army and UPDF Spokesman, Col. Felix Kulayigye, told The Independent there was no evidence to prove the game rangers allegation.
He said it was not unusual for a UPDF chopper to fly over Garamba because that is the route the aircrafts of the Uganda army to Nzara and Obbo, where they are hunting the internationally wanted criminal warlord, Joseph Kony.
At the time, Ugandan media was awash with stories on the plight of elephants after the Uganda Wildlife Authority confirmed the September 2012 slaying by poachers of two elephants, including Baraka, a 40 year old male elephant believed to have been the oldest and most peaceful in Semliki wildlife reserve in western Uganda.
At the time, minister Mutagamba said a 2010 UWA large mammal census had revealed that the elephant numbers for Queen Elizabeth National Park had increased from 400 in 1988 to 2,959 in 2010. The minister praised the UPDF for supporting the Uganda Tourism Police to combat poaching.
In June 2012, 36 tusks were seized at the Entebbe airport in Uganda. Eighteen of the 22 elephants killed in Garamba in March were adults that had their ivory hacked out, which would usually mean 36 tusks.
Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, the Islamic rebel militia al-Shabab and Darfur's Janjaweed, are all accused of hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem.
Organised crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, said a New York Times story that quoted law enforcement officials.
In 2011, the New York Times story said, poaching levels in Africa were at their highest since international monitors began keeping detailed records in 2002. It said worldwide, 38.8 tons (equaling the tusks from more than 4000 dead elephants), had been seized.
Uganda lost 25 elephants in 2011 and an investigations report by the Auditor General's Office described the killings as the "worst ever reported scenario in a single conservation area, considering that Uganda was previously losing only 3 elephants annually."
The smugglers are "Africa-based, Asian-run crime syndicates," said Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System, an international ivory monitoring project, and "highly adaptive to law enforcement interventions, constantly changing trade routes and modus operandi."
Conservationists say the mass kill-offs taking place across Africa may be as bad as, or worse than, those in the 1980s, when poachers killed more than half of Africa's elephants before an international ban on the commercial ivory trade was put in place.
"We're experiencing what is likely to be the greatest percentage loss of elephants in history," said Richard G Ruggiero, an official with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Some experts say the survival of the species is at stake, especially when many members of the African security services entrusted with protecting the animals are currently killing them.
Additional reporting by Ronald Musoke
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 2:25 AM
Subject: Re: [Mabadiliko] Re: [wanabidii] Re: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
Subject: [Mabadiliko] Re: [wanabidii] Re: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their Rebel Groups out of Congo
I remember she did the same for Odinga during the election, strange way of disseminating hatred.
Have a good day,
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Tanzania.
From: Maurice Oduor <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2013 09:03:42
Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [wanabidii] Re: It is time Kagame and Museveni take back their
Rebel Groups out of Congo
You're really intense about this Rwanda-Congo-Uganda thing. Do you have a personal stake in Kabila staying in power? If Kabila's presence in power is inspiring all these wars, then maybe it's time we looked at the possibility of Kabila leaving and the AU sponsoring a fresh round of elections, real elections this time. What do you think?
On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM, Judy Miriga <email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The UN led invasion on the Rebel groups in Congo did well to start bombarding the Tutsi-led M23 which were advancing to re-capture Goma because of the failed talks in Uganda.
There is no more waiting to negotiate at the expense of Human Rights violation, crime and abuse with destructions of livelihood and survival of the Congolese except, to drive these Rebel groups back to their Country from where they belong into Uganda and Rwanda. Kabila also must stand his ground to add pressure to save his country from these extreme terrorism which emanates from instigations with engineered conspiracies by Kagame and Museveni to protect these groups for their profit. Kagame is a man and he must remain so........
Problems can only be solved by tackling and fixing the root-cause of it. The root cause of problem of Congo people is Rwanda and Uganda private marcinaries lodged inside DRC Congo but controled from Rwanda and Uganda; forming a foreign Government inside Congo. No one can accept this kind of behavior. Kagame and Museveni must behave or else, they are both headed to a much more bigger trouble they have never seen before in their life time. They are not bigger than the world.........they will not cause us heartache and disturb our peace and we sit pretty..........They are the aggressors and instigators and they will not get away with it.......It is because Civil Rights Justice must take precedence against them instantaniously..........
We must not ignore such butchery that has taken in Congo for over twenty years. This butchering started with the elimination and brutal death of Patrice Lumumba. Since then Congo has not seen peace. The Congo people have paid enough price with their blood, it is time things must be done differently.
Obscurity seems to confer immunity in high places where, strong men are judged only by their readiness to kill and take away Human Rights as they wish. Quoted in St. Augustine's ''City of God,'' how lawless armies dismembered the Roman Empire. If there be no "JUSTICE" there remain Kingdoms of selfish and greedy gangs of criminals left to control ways of life?
These Rebel/Mercenaries are gang groups of men formed under the command of a unscrupulous business community who work alongside bad leaders of the world in a compact of association to do business without paying taxes to the people's Government, where with the control power, they plunder public wealth and resources for their selfish greedy gains and divide the loot according to an agreed Treaty they form amongst their network. This is how they establish their base, captures cities and subdues people for slavery by the attainment of impunity.
Shall we sit pretty and watch when Human Rights is abused??? Is this not a problem for the world??? Dont we need to stand our ground together under Civil Rights Justice Movement to protect Peoples Equal Justice and Liberty with pursuit for happiness for all without discrimination for the sake of Peace ???
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
VOICE OF AMERICA
News / Africa
In Eastern Congo, M23 Rebels Battle for Hearts, Minds
In Eastern Congo, M23 Rebels Battle for Hearts, Minds
At a church in eastern Congo, the faithful pack the pews in what looks like a regular prayer service. But this is not about religion. It’s a lesson in rebellion taught at the M23 rebel group's military academy.
The people here, gathered from nearby towns, are being taught the ideology of this group of disaffected soldiers that has controlled territory in eastern Congo since breaking away from the army last year.
M23 rebels are trying to cement control over this area, which they say has been neglected for too long by the government in Kinshasa.
Outside the academy walls, though, the rebels have been losing ground to the Congolese army in a week of fighting a few kilometers from the economic hub of Goma, which was held by the rebels for 10 days last year.
Meantime, continuing peace talks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, have shown little progress.
M23 spokesman Vianney Kazarama said that with weapons they took from their raid on Goma, his group has no problem continuing the military campaign, but they would rather see a political solution.
“We don’t have the intention to continue the war. There is no benefit to war, for solving the problems of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Kazarama.
In the M23 stronghold of Rutshuru, residents have long paid the cost of conflict since the rebellions of the 1990s.
Civilians pay the price
People here want nothing to do with war and politics.
That includes Valerie Baoukahe, who heads an association for victims of sexual violence. “We want to get peace. Whoever wins can win, whoever loses can lose. For us, all we want is peace,” she said.
Other residents complain of looting, abductions and murders being committed in the area, with no one ever brought to justice.
Ntamu Gashamba, a history professor at Rutshuru Institute, said businesses also have been hurt by the insecurity brought by the M23 rebels.
“If the army could return it would be better, because the sellers would be able to sell their merchandise without any problems, it would be a good situation,” said Gashamba.
Back at the church, M23 still hopes to win the hearts and minds of the population.
With pressure on the battlefield, and growing discontent in towns, though, the future of the rebels is far from certain.
News / Africa
Uganda Opposition to Petition Court to Impeach President Museveni
If the Constitutional Court gives the go-ahead, then the parties and civil society groups could ask Parliament to impeach.
“I will certainly back whoever thinks President Museveni should be impeached for abrogating the constitution, because this level of impunity must be rejected with all the disgrace it deserve,” said Gerald Karuhanga, a member of Uganda’s parliament.
The groups accuse Mr. Museveni of flouting the constitution after he installed General Aronda Nyakairima as Internal Affairs Minister over the weekend. Nyakairima is still a top official of the national army, the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF).
Article 208(2) of Uganda’s constitution bars serving army officers from participating in partisan politics.
A cabinet minister’s position is seen as political whereas military officers are mandated to remain neutral.
Karuhanga says the president refused to abide by the constitution in spite of repeated warnings from some members of parliament.
“At first we thought it was a joke that a military general can become a cabinet official in a multiparty system of government. It was pushed on and pursued by President Museveni until the general became a cabinet minister,” said Karuhanga.
But, last week, Nyakairima was approved by the Appointments Committee of parliament. Karuhanga said he disagreed with the decision.
“It was very disturbing that the Appointment’s Committee actually approved him because we had made it so clear to them and informed them and we thought they would reason it out legally,” said Karuhanga. “Unfortunately, political influence overwhelmed them.”
The government has rejected criticisms that President Museveni contravened the constitution.
“There is no legal instrument for General Aronda to resign or retire from the army before he can be appointed minister. That section of the UPDF Act is not applicable in this case because ministers are appointed,” Attorney General Peter Nyombiu was quoted as telling Ugandan media. “The appointment of General Aronda should be effected without requiring him to resign from the army or requiring taking leave.”
Political commentators in Uganda say it is unlikely that the legislators or civil groups will succeed in their efforts to impeach Museveni since his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) enjoys a comfortable parliamentary majority. They contend that the NRM will block any of the opposition’s legislative maneuvers to impeach Museveni.
Clottey interview with Gerald Karuhanga, a member of Uganda’s parliament
Congo-Kinshasa: Stalled Kampala Talks Linked to Congo Clashes
By Mark Caldwell, 16 July 2013
The Congolese army is battling two militias in eastern DRC, the M23 rebel group, comprising mostly ethnic Tutsi militia, and the ADF, a Ugandan Muslim armed force. The UN has a new intervention force.
The Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday (15.07.2013) it had killed 120 fighters belonging to the M23 rebel movement to the north of Goma.
The insurgents deny these claims. The fighting comes after Uganda's Red Cross Society confirmed 66,000 Congolese refugees had crossed into the east African country.
They were fleeing another battle zone in which the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) was attacking Kamangu, a town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN has deployed a new 3,000-strong Intervention brigade with a tough mandate to fight armed groups in eastern Congo.
DW's Mark Caldwell spoke to Thierry Vircouloun, Project Director for Central Africa with the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Why has this fighting flared up on two fronts?
I think it's mainly a coincidence. There is no link between them. It's clear that the fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army is a direct result of the dead end of the Kampala negotiations. The talks in Kampala have dragged on since December last year without any meaningful results.
Therefore it's very clear for all the stakeholders that there won't be a diplomatic settlement to the problem between the M23 and the Congolese government. Therefore the only way to change the situation is actually through the military way.
I would say that in the northern part of Kivu, the ADF is not involved in the same kind of fighting with the Congolese army.
It's small clashes that have happened and the ADF has withdrawn to remote areas after temporarily taking some villages and taking some hostages. The main fighting is happening between M23 and the Congolese army and the M23 remains the main target of the Congolese army.
The UN has its largest peacekeeping mission in the world in the DRC, including a new intervention brigade. What have they done so far to stop the fighting?
So far the UN has not done anything to stop the fighting.
They have called on the Congolese army and other parties to calm down, but it's clear that there is a window of opportunity for military action as seen from Kinshasa, firstly because the Kampala negotiations are not moving forward and secondly because fighting the M23 is very popular in Congo unlike negotiating with them.
Thirdly, it seems like the M23 itself was very weakened by the internal fighting that happened at the beginning of the year
So what are the M23's objectives at the moment?
I think at the moment the objective of the M23 is to resist the Congolese army and try to keep its position close to Goma.
What can you tell us about the UN's new intervention brigade, what is its current status?
The brigade is not fully operational, the Tanzanian and South African components of the brigade have arrived in Goma, north Kivu, but the contingent from Malawi is not yet here. I also understand that the brigade has not received all its equipment.
However the MONUSCO commander has sent a very strong warning saying all civilians with a gun won't be considered as civilians. It's not clear at this stage what is going to be the first target of that intervention brigade.
As far as I understand, no operation by this brigade had been planned before this coming September. Howeve, given the development on the ground, the UN may be forced to intervene faster than they wanted to.
Thierry Vircoulon is the Project Director for Central Africa with the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Congo-Kinshasa: UN Blue Helmets On 'High Alert' As M23 Rebels Advance Towards Goma
15 July 2013
United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are on high alert today and stand ready to use force to protect civilians in Goma from an advancing rebellion by the March 23 movement (M23), the top UN official in the country said, urging all parties to exercise restraint.
The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) expressed "deep concern" about the latest bout of fighting which broke out after a significant group of the M23 attacked the national forces (FARDC) on 14 July in Mutaho, eight kilometres northwest of Goma, in eastern DRC. According to the Mission, heavy artillery and a battle tank were used in the attack.
"Any attempt by the M23 to advance toward Goma will be considered a direct threat to civilians," the Mission warned. It also noted that the UN blue helmets stand ready to take any necessary measures, including the use of lethal force, in order to protect civilians.
The acting Special Representative of the Secretary General in the country, Moustapha Soumaré, urged restraint to avoid a further escalation of the situation.
"I call on all to abide by the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement and to allow the political process towards peace to move forward," Mr. Soumaré said, referring to the UN-brokered accord adopted in February with the support of 11 nations and four international organizations (11+4), with the aim of ending the cycles of conflict and crisis in the eastern DRC and to build peace in the long-troubled Great Lakes region.
"I urge all signatories of the PSC Framework to exercise their influence in order to avoid an escalation of the situation," he added.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mary Robinson, the UN Special Envoy for Africa's Great Lakes Region, along with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, visited the DRC in May to bolster support for the PSC Framework which Ms. Robinson dubbed a "framework for hope."
Last month, there was talk of a possible resumption of peace talks between the Government of the DRC and the M23. At that time, Mrs. Robinson had urged both sides to engage in earnest discussion under the auspices of the Chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Mr. Robinson was convened in Burundi last week a conference to help develop a road map for women's engagement in efforts to bring peace to Africa's long-trouble Great Lakes countries.
Since March, tensions in the region have been heightened, leading to the Security Council to authorize in March the deployment of an intervention brigade within MONUSCO to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without FARDC, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.
Uganda: DRC-Based Ugandan Rebel Group 'Recruiting, Training'
11 July 2013
Kampala - The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) (sponsored by Salim Saleh Museveni's brother Mercenary/Rebel group which installed Museveni and Kagame to power and who moved from Uganda to Rwanda into Congo-----where Museveni conspired for them to occupy land in Congo), a Ugandan rebel movement based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is recruiting, training and reorganizing to carry out fresh attacks on Uganda, officials say.
"The threat is real. ADF is recruiting, training and opening new camps in eastern DRC. We are alert and very prepared to deal with any attack on our side of the border," said Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF). "We are sharing intelligence information with the DRC government [and] FARDC [DRC's national army] about their activities. We hope FARDC will be able to deal with the group."
According to media reports in DRC, early on Thursday morning the group clashed with FARDC in Kamango, a town in North Kivu Province close to the Ugandan border, briefly ousting the army before withdrawing. Uganda's NTV tweeted that thousands of Congolese had fled across the border to the western Ugandan town of Bundibugyo.
The ADF was formed in the mid-1990s in the Rwenzori mountain range in western Uganda, close to the country's border with DRC. The group killed hundreds in several attacks in the capital, Kampala, and in parts of western Uganda, and caused the displacement of tens of thousands. The rebellion was largely contained in Uganda by 2000, with reportedly just about 100 fighters finding refuge in eastern North Kivu. From the mid-1990s till 2007, ADF was allied to another Ugandan rebel group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda; together, becoming ADF-NALU.
The ADF's leader, Jamil Mukulu, a former Catholic, converted to Islam in the 1990s, and the Ugandan government has long claimed the group is linked with Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda and the Somali militant group Al-Shabab. The US placed the ADF on its list of terrorist organizations in 2001.
UPDF's Ankunda said: "There is no doubt; ADF has a linkage with Al-Shabab. They collaborate. They have trained ADF on the use of improvised explosive devices."
According to Ankunda, the ADF - now thought to have up to 1,200 fighters - has tried to increase its troop numbers through kidnapping and recruitment in North Kivu Province and in Uganda.
"What is worrying us is that the ADF has been carrying out a series of abductions, recruitment and attacks in DRC without much resistance from FARDC," Ankunda told IRIN. "We are critically following up their recruitment in Uganda. We have made some arrests."
According to a December 2012 report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), the ADF is "more of a politically convenient threat for both the FARDC and the Ugandan government than an Islamist threat lurking at the heart of Central Africa".
"They are still isolated, and actions against their logistic and financial chains have been quite successful," Marc-Andre Lagrange, DRC senior analyst at ICG, told IRIN. "As in 2011, ADF are now engaged in providing military support to other armed groups to sustain their movement. This demonstrates that ADF, as such, is now a limited threat despite the fact they remain extremely violent."
According to experts in Uganda, the continued presence of armed groups like ADF is a major concern for peace and stability in DRC, Uganda and the wider Great Lakes region.
"The allegations that ADF is regrouping are not new and should not come as a surprise. What should worry us as a country is the apparent collective amnesia of treating our own exported armed insurgencies as other people's problems," Stephen Oola, a transitional justice and governance analyst at Uganda's Makerere University's Refugee Law Project, told IRIN. "The LRA [Lord's Resistance Army] and ADF are Uganda's problems and will remain so, no matter where they are located at a particular time, until we seek a comprehensive solution to conflicts in this country."
Neutralizing the threat
At the moment, Uganda has no mandate to pursue the rebels within DRC. Ankunda said he hoped the new UN Intervention Brigade - tasked with defeating "negative forces" in eastern DRC and due to be fully operational at the end of July - will step in to curb the group's efforts to destabilize the two countries.
The ICG's report warned that it would be important to neutralize the ADF's cross-border economic and logistical networks; the group allegedly receives money transfers from Kenya, the UK and Uganda, which are collected by Congolese intermediaries in the North Kivu cities of Beni and Butembo. It also derives funding from car and motorcycle taxis in North Kivu and profits from gold and timber exports to Uganda.
"It would be wise to separate fiction from fact and instead pursue a course of weakening its socio-economic base, while at the same time offering a demobilization and reintegration programme to its combatants," the report's authors stated, adding that "Congolese and Ugandan military personnel colluding with these networks should be dealt with appropriately by the authorities of their country".
According to Makerere's Oola, Uganda needs to do some soul-searching if it is to defeat the rebellions that continue to destabilize the country: "We must sit down as country in judgment of oursel[ves], through truth-seeking and national dialogue, to ask the right questions. Why are they fighting? What should be done to end their rebellion? How do we address the impact of the cycle of violence that has bedevilled this country from independence?"
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. ]