Sunday, September 2, 2012

DR Congo Rwanda achieves objective and withdraws

"Rwanda pulls troops from DRC

By William Wallis in Kabuhanga

They emerged near dusk from behind a glade of eucalyptus trees high on the slopes between two volcanoes on the Congo Rwanda border: line after line of elite Rwandan forces.
Their deployment inside the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo was kept largely under wraps until now."

Kept quite because I suspect there was very little cooperation. 
"It is a mark of growing strains between the Kinshasa and Kigali governments, and of deteriorating conditions in eastern Congo, that Rwanda ordered their withdrawal on Friday, ending joint operations that began in 2010.

Rwandan Special Forces – 357 of the best trained and motivated troops in Africa – had been supporting the ragtag Congolese army in curtailing activity by ethnic Hutu rebels, including remnants of the militia that carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide."

I am struggling to believe this. Is this a propaganda drive by Rwanda ?

The soldiers marched 100 miles home across mountains and plains in a single day. It showed on their faces.

Is it just me or does this sound a little far fetched ?

“The withdrawal has happened because conditions have changed,” said General Charles Kayonga, chief of staff of the Rwandan Defence Force from makeshift headquarters pitched on the border. “The area they were operating in has been over-run by M23 rebels. We could not stay in that environment,” he told the Financial Times."

                                                                General Kayonga

Well that might explain why M23 rebels were able to over run the area and that in of itself gives the General a rational to depart ie. he already controls the area through proxies the territory

Rwanda was accused in a UN report last month of supporting the M23, a rebellion led by fellow ethnic Tutsis that emerged from a split earlier this year in the Congolese army.
The bonhomie of an earlier hillside meeting between Gen Kayonga and a brace of Congolese generals Рin the presence of a US defence attaché Рbelied how fast a three-year-old entente between the two countries appears to be unravelling.

Raymond Tshibanda, Congo’s foreign minister on Saturday called on the UN Security Council to initiate sanctions against three top Rwandan officers, including Gen Kayonga, for their alleged role in supporting the rebellion in Congo’s east. The same M23 rebellion has over-run the area where Rwandan special forces were operating.

Starting to get closer to the truth. 

"The Rwandan government denied the accusations, rebutting the UN report detailing its alleged support for the revolt. Instead, Kigali blames the breakdown in relations with Kinshasa on a combination of blundering western diplomacy and Congolese hubris. Despite years of UN backing, Congo’s army has yet to become a fighting force capable of asserting state authority. After vowing to crush the M23 rebellion, it has instead struggled to contain it."

The evidence is available and compelling. I and many others have blogged about it  in addition to major news organisations.

"Mingling with returnees on the mountainside, another senior officer said western powers had pressured Joseph Kabila, Congo’s president, to arrest Bosco Ntaganda, then a general in the Congolese army, as a way of rehabilitating the Congolese leader’s image after flawed elections last year."

Gen Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes. His mooted arrest together with attempts by the Congolese high command to redeploy soldiers loyal to him sparked a mutiny that led to the M23 rebellion. The ensuing fighting has displaced nearly half a million Congolese.
Rwandan officers now accuse Congo of rearming the very Hutu rebels they were fighting together."

Yet have produced no evidence.

“They (the Hutu rebels) are taking advantage of the conflict to regroup and access new resources,” General Kayonga said. So, after a promising glimpse of what peace might look like, the situation is quickly reverting to where it was three years ago when Congo and Rwanda, who fought on opposing sides during Congo’s 1998-2005 war, supported proxies in a string of residual conflicts that wrought devastation on civilians."

This situation can't  be allowed to get any worse.

Mr Kabila is backing the creation of a “neutral” African force to police the border. But it is unclear which African countries would be willing to fight – or pay for – his fight.
The Rwandans, meanwhile, seem quietly confident that as conflict spreads, both Kinshasa and the international community will be back at their door in search of a solution.
Asked, as he strolled down the hill back to Congo, what the consequences of Rwanda’s withdrawal would be, Colonel Jean Claude Yav, who has headed joint operations from the Congo side, shrugged. “We have a big problem on our hands,” he said.

Give the UN a decent mandate and rules of engagement then beef up the peacekeeping forces. 

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