Sunday, June 30, 2013

DR Congo: Kwaheri M23

Reuters reports

Exclusive: Fearing death, Congo's 'Terminator' fled with help of family

Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda looks on during his first appearance before judges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague March 26, 2013.

(Reuters) - Facing defeat by a rival rebel and fearing death at the hands of Rwandan troops, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda quietly slipped into Rwanda on a small path with a single escort to turn himself in at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, according to a U.N. report.
Details of the March 18 surrender of Ntaganda, who evaded arrest on international war crimes charges for seven years, were contained in the confidential interim report by the U.N. Group of Experts to the Security Council's Congo sanctions committee. The report was seen by Reuters on Friday.

The reality is that M23 effectively ceased to be a player in the Eastern DR Congo due to the infighting, with the surrender of Ntaganda.  

Ntaganda, a Rwandan-born Tutsi rebel known as "the Terminator," is accused of murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers during 15 years of rebellion in resource-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was not known how Ntaganda made his way from eastern Congo to the Rwandan capital, where he had simply walked into the U.S. Embassy and asked diplomats to transfer him to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

It is said when your down to last chance make sure it is a good one, something Ntaganda clearly is unaware of. It would be interesting to know why Kilgali turned on Ntaganda from a distant perspective it seems an incredibly short sighted move. It would make far more sense to make it clear Rwandan support was contingent on the factions of M23 working cohesively as an opposition movement or alternatively abandon the entire M23 movement and gain the inevitable international kudos. Kilgali appears to have acted irrationally. I am guessing this has far more to do with personalities than it does with politics.    

The U.N. experts said his secret three-day journey followed after a violent split in the M23 rebel group weeks earlier. Ntaganda's defeat by rival M23 commander Sultani Makenga was aided by Rwandan officials and demobilized Rwandan soldiers, said the report.

Did he attempt to negotiate a deal with Kinshasa ? In situations such as this almost anything goes.

Ntaganda "clandestinely crossed the border into Rwanda using a small path in the Gasizi area with one escort," it said.
"He reached Kigali with the help of his family and arrived at the United States Embassy on 18 March where he requested to be transferred to the ICC without prior knowledge of Rwandan authorities," according to the 43-page report.

That at least was sensible on his ( Ntaganda's ) part, it would seem Kilgali was completely unaware of his intentions. What ever way one looks at this it a total Rwandan cock up.

Rwanda subsequently arrested an individual accused of helping Ntaganda escape and interrogated the warlord's wife and brother, the experts said.

Impotence can be quite entertaining particularly when it is a consequence of incompetence   

The career of Ntaganda, who has fought for rebels, militias and armies in both Rwanda and Congo in the last 20 years, reflects the tangled and shifting allegiances of a territory that has been repeatedly traumatized by genocide and violence.
Ntaganda said he was not guilty of war crimes during his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in March.

I think Ntaganda is going to spend quite some time incarcerated. Makenga on the other hand may well end up dead. I can see little point in Kilgali continuing to support a rebel group that is unable to advance Rwandan interests. The political cost of that support should Makenga decide to mix it up militarily with the UN African Brigade, regardless of the outcome of such a fight is simply put, a price Rwanda can't afford to pay.

M23 is a Tutsi-dominated group of former Congolese soldiers that has demanded political concessions from President Joseph Kabila's government.

Actually that description is now laughable M23 are a spent force although while that has been clear to most observers for some time it would seem it has yet to dawn on the leadership of M23 and their negotiators in Kampala mind you if they are reading the Economist one might forgive their mindless optimism.

" Still, it is still possible that the arrival of the UN force could reignite negotiations between the rebels, especially those from the M23 group, and the government in Kinshasa, which may feel its hand strengthened."

Not a snowballs chance in hell.

The U.N. experts report in October named Ntaganda as the leader controlling the M23 rebellion on the ground and added that he and other commanders received "direct military orders" from senior Rwandan military figures acting under instructions from Defense Minister James Kabarebe.
Rwanda vehemently denied supporting the M23, accusing the world of trying to blame it for Congo's unremitting troubles.

Kagame and his administration are a bunch of bloody clowns. I am almost at the point of thinking they have started to believe their own propaganda.  
The latest experts report found "continuous - but limited - support to M23 from within Rwanda" and cooperation between elements of the Congolese military and a Rwandan Hutu rebel group against the M23 rebels.
Ntaganda had a network of contacts within Rwanda that he used to support his M23 faction against Makenga after the pair had disagreed over the management of M23, the experts said.
"To halt Ntaganda's activities, Rwandan authorities arrested some of the individuals who were part of this network," the experts said.
"Some Rwandan officers also provided limited material support to Makenga as he sought to defeat Ntaganda," found the report. "While some Rwandan officers had ensured Ntaganda of their assistance, in reality they had decide to support Makenga.
"Rwandan officers also fed disinformation to Ntaganda which precipitated his defeat. Former M23 soldiers who fought alongside Ntaganda reported that soldiers of the (Rwandan Defense Force) special forces that were deployed along the border provided Ntaganda with ammunition at the outset of fighting, which made him believe that he enjoyed RDF support."

If we are to believe this and there seems to be no reason not to then at best Rwanda has managed to out maneuver itself whilst standing still. 
 “I was confided to your loyalty and accepted by your treason; you offer my death to those to whom you had promised my life. Do you know who it is you are destroying here? It is yourself.” 
Victor Hugo

As his troops began to run low on ammunition after two weeks of fighting, Ntaganda fled into Rwanda, where he feared Rwandan soldiers deployed on the border would kill him. The U.N. experts said that Makenga had also ordered his troops kill Ntaganda.
Perhaps Ntaganda is one of the only people reading the situation correctly
“Sometimes the best offense was avoiding self-destruction.”   
Brandon Mull 

It was estimated that about 200 rebels from both sides were killed during the M23 split, the report said. Almost 800 rebels loyal to Ntaganda also fled into Rwanda after their defeat. The experts said Makenga was left with some 1,500 fighters spread across a 270 square mile area (700 sq km).

It is hard if not impossible to see M23 recovering from this.

"Moreover M23 has lost the support of leaders and communities which had supported Ntaganda in northern Rwanda and stopped benefiting from the recruitment and financial networks he had established," the report said.
"The movement is unable to control its entire territory and suffers from poor morale and scores of desertions," it said.

Kwaheri M23

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Uganda: No winners here.

New Vision ( Uganda ) reports

Over 4000 Rwandans to lose refugee status

Over 4000 Rwandans refugees will lose their refugee status in Uganda on Sunday as the cessation clause affecting Rwandans who fled tumultuous events that blighted their country between 1959 and December 1998   comes into effect. 

Refugees to be affected are those that fled atrocities such as the fighting that saw the ouster of the monarch in 1958, the 1973 coup that saw the ouster of Gregoire  Kayibanda, the 1994 genocide  and the 1997 grisly incursions by interahamwe militias. 

The cessation was disclosed by the minister for disaster preparedness, relief and refugees, Hillary Onek on Wednesday during a symposium themed "finding a comprehensive and durable solution for Rwandan refugees in Uganda," at Grand Imperial hotel Kampala.

On the surface this looks to be a reasonably sensible idea but there have been some very serious allegations related to this, ( unfortunately for me in French ) . 

" The latest revelations Rwandan students who have sought and obtained political asylum in Uganda to escape the harassment of the Rwandan authorities forcing them to join the ranks of the M23, lay bare the policy Kigali in demography export more 'living souls possible in DR Congo, so they get killed or remain, if they survive. "

It sounds too batshit crazy to be true, but supporting this is a story from earlier this month run by ABC News. 

The 14 men and two women say they fled Rwanda on June 3, ending weeks of what they say was harassment by officials who targeted them for dodging a "political awareness program" in Butare, a town 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the capital.

Two of the fleeing students said in interviews that they resisted going there because most of their friends who went there never came back. They said their classmates were forced to cross the border and fight alongside M23, one of many rebel groups operating in Congo's troubled North Kivu province.

"We told them that we are too young to join M23 but they did not listen," said Moses Mugisha, 21. "They threatened us. We can't go back to Rwanda. We are very scared."

The 16 who refused to go to the "Ingando" program say their high school examination results were withheld by authorities as a result. Under Ingando, thousands of Rwandan students take part each year in what the government calls solidarity camps, locations across the country where they are lectured on what it means to be Rwandan.

That sounds to me like a bloody good reason to jump the Rwandan ship so to speak. From the same ABC story we have the official Rwandan position as put by the Rwandan ambassador to Uganda.
Frank Mugambage, Rwanda's ambassador to Uganda, said he had nothing to say on this matter. He was quoted in Rwandan state-owned media as saying the students' results were confiscated because they cheated on an exam and that it was "unfortunate for young people to resort to blackmail."

That is of course stupidity but stupidity is something I have come to expect from Rwanda.

"The reason behind the revocation of refugee status for this category of refugees is that events that led to their displacement no longer exist. Both government of Uganda and Rwanda have conducted sensitization campaigns aimed at encouraging this group of persons to return home.  However, Rwandan refugees who trickled into Uganda between 1999 to-date will not be affected by the policy shift," clarified Commissioner of refugees, Apollo Kazungu, who clarified that government is not simply shutting doors to new refugee applications from Rwanda. 

"We shall consider such applications on a case-by-case basis," Kazungu said, revealing that 10,000 Rwandan refugees have thus far been voluntarily repatriated. 

Remember the headline " Over 4000 Rwandans to lose refugee status " I have a degree of difficulty reconciling  with the voluntary assertions made here.

In 2003, Kampala and Kigali, together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) signed a tripartite agreement tailored to ensuring voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees without flouting international conventions on refugee protection. 

Since then, the two governments in tandem with UNHRC have organized series of 'go see come and tell' visits where select refugees have visited Rwanda in order to encourage voluntary repatriation among their peers. 

I have issues here as well. Relief Web reports.

" Those returnees included two among those who were part of the delegation that visited Rwanda earlier last April through “Come and See, Go and tell” program. After realizing that the country is safe and they had been told lies, they returned in the camp in Burundi with conviction to sensitize their fellow refugees to return home."

Why am I so skeptical ?

Since the “Come and See, Go and tell” visit conducted from April 23-28, 2013, 36 refugees from Burundi have voluntarily returned.
The UNCHR delegates who accompanied returnees admitted that about 220 Rwandan refugees remain in Butare camp, the only Rwandan refugees’ settlement in Burundi. They furthermore revealed that more are committed to return before the coming into effect of the Cessation Clause on June 30, 2013.
That might be why.

However, aware that many Rwandan refugees have developed deep roots in Uganda on account of being born here and getting married to Ugandans, the invocation of the cessation clause will also open avenues for local integration or alternative legal status like acquiring resident permits. 

 "...deep roots in Uganda on account of being born here... "  One might well argue that is fairly much conclusive evidence of Ugandan citizenship. 

UNHCR country representative Mohammed Abdi though lauding Uganda for "giving quality asylum" to Rwandan refugees concurred with Prof. George Kanyeihamba's call to grant Ugandan citizenship to Rwandan refugees who have been in this country for more than 20 years. 

Although the Immigration Act bars any refugee from acquiring Ugandan citizenship, the constitution provides for anyone (without exception) who has been in Uganda for more than 20 years to acquire citizenship on registration. 

"Bring me any refugee who has been here for 20 years and has been denied citizenship and I will cause an interpretation of the constitution over this matter," Kanyeihamba said in response to submissions about the ambiguities on the legal regime on refugees in Uganda. 

Uganda has in the past done some fairly impressive work to date in the the field of refugee resettlement and it is pleasing to note that is a  will to find solutions for long term refugees however 20 years is ridicules. No one can be expected to put their life on hold for 20 years yet that is the reality that refugees face.      

According to Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, Rwanda has already established three transit points for returnees where they will be given packages to last them three months. 

Mugambage also said Kigali is open to issuing Identity Cards and passports to Rwandese refugees who are reluctant to go back home.

According to Kazungu, Uganda is hosting over 200,000 refugees in its eight refugee camps with 14,811 being Rwandese. 

In all of this debate it should be remembered that Uganda deals with hundreds of thousands of refugees, the world has a huge obligation to assist Uganda and we are failing totally Uganda. My own country New Zealand is a bloody disgrace, on any measure you care to name we are one of the richest nations on earth, yet we manage 700 refugees a year. My concerns about Uganda fade into insignificance when I look at my own nation. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Burundi : Joining the Batshit Crazy Club

Radio Neatherlands Worldwide reports

Burundi's new media law keeps Dutch ambassador vigilant

Dutch ambassador to Burundi Jolke Oppewal, a former journalist
Burundi’s new media law continues to cause unrest among the international community. It certainly doesn’t please the Dutch ambassador to Burundi, Jolke Oppewal. Once a journalist himself and someone who remains passionate about his past profession, Oppewal recently spoke with principal Burundian newspaper IWACU.

Being a good diplomat, Oppewal begins by talking about the good relations between his country and Burundi.

“We have an engagement, a partnership, with Burundi. We are funding projects to help the country develop and become more stable. Our partnership has already produced good results in terms of security and economic development,” he explains.

The adoption of the new media law doesn’t call into question his country’s engagement, he says. But the Dutch have a reputation for being direct and, addressing the media law, the ambassador is frank.

Burundi’s new media law forces journalists to reveal sources and forbids stories deemed to undermine national security. The law bans the media from publishing stories about national defence, public safety, state security and the local currency. Those who break the law face fines between 1,500 and 4,500 euros.

“The Netherlands regrets this law. It’s obvious. Burundi needs open platforms. Reporters should have the freedom to express themselves regarding what’s happening in the country,” he says.

Oppewal notes that the law has “several vague articles”, which he also finds regrettable.

“Because of this vagueness, it’s very difficult for Burundian journalists to know when they are violating the law,” he says

Journalists not perfect
The diplomat also emphasizes that journalists are not perfect.

“They have to continue to improve, to train to become high-quality journalists,” Oppewal says.

Burundi’s media law is now in effect, but he believes that legal redress is still possible.

“If an appeal is made, the constitutional court will have to rule whether the law is constitutional,” he points out.

Meanwhile, according to the diplomat: “The Netherlands will remain vigilant as to how it is enforced.”
The ambassador’s advice to journalists is simple: work professionally, according to journalistic ethics. And if the democratic space closes as a result of this law?

Oppewal thinks for a moment and then responds in a soft but firm voice: “The Netherlands has had an excellent partnership with Burundi for the past few years. If this law leads to a closure of the democratic space, the nature of our partnership could change.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

DR Congo: Kambale Mayani Zechariah Goma's Zuckerberg

Chantal Faida blogs

( I have run this through Google Translate and made small alterations apologies to Chantal if I have made any mistakes )

A Congolese Mark Zuckerberg Kambale Mayani Zechariah

Who said that Africa had no inventions to its credit?

A young Congolese from Goma has developed on equity, a social network to create a culture of research and invention to assist reaching  African goals.

Design Kongo connect you can see the shadow of several people in the form of the DRC that are interconnected first (orange lines) and with others outside of the Congo (blue lines).

( Launched / Conceived ?) November 30, 2012,  in Goma, the capital of Nord-Kivu/RDC a social network called Kongoconnect whose mode of use, the registration of members and other parameters are similar to the famous social network Facebook.
Aged 25, the author of this subtle invention, known by the nickname Gates, a young man from Goma, inspired by his training in computer science and management at the Higher Institute of Informatics and Management ISIG / Goma, imagined a site dedicated to promoting new works Congolese artists; at baseline and after a dating site and now scientific research. To date, it has more than 1,500 enrolled.

Kambale Mayani Zechariah  

Label in Congolese excellence Kongoconnect

An African invention in the field of New Technologies of Information and Communication (NTIC Editor's note) is possible.

"By creating this site, I was responding to the concern nagging my mind how to build Congolese and African pride? "Says Gates, surfing the internet via his IPhone.

Fight against the ignorance of Africans in general and Congolese especially in this age of technological revolution.

Gates states that ". Kongoconnect is not only a social but also a tool of microfinance, education and promotion"

The most active on the site are rewarded by Kongoconnect.

"The novelty of Kongoconnect is the most dynamic users are rewarded." Thus says Gates. While showing various applications of the site on his laptop, he says: The more you post photos, ideas, articles and videos, you automatically earn points that in the future be converted into electronic cash for the acquisition of certain paid services. "free download videos, books and other songs."

Why does the letter K to denote Kongoconnect? "Use the authenticity, the Kongo kingdom, our capital Kinshasa and to differentiate The Democratic Republic of Congo from Brazzaville Congo." he informs.

Unexpected innovations

A first in the DRC. A social network out of the ordinary that joins daily Congolese ...

Kongoconnect resembles Facebook Mark Zuckerberg.

In addition to the chat, the user Kongoconnect, at its option kongothèque the option where he can find articles and books free local writers. Kongo Connect, inspire and be inspired!

Once logged into the site, you can follow the news of all other users of the site. No need to have friends to share and comment on the news. Solitude is banned on the social network.

Create an account from his mobile phone is part of the sites innovations.

"I ask our government to support local charities by subsidizing its citizens for a global reach." Board there.

No it's not just the sound of boot floor. Grandiose things are possible if peace is guaranteed throughout the country.

It's a crazy ambition yes but in this world only fools invent and innovate. "If you want something you've never had, you should want to do something you've never done. "- Thomas Jefferson.

Because ( Contacting ) your friends, your brothers, your colleagues, your parents are expensive Kongo Connect offers you a chance to open up in the intricacies of social interaction. Just one click to navigate to other horizons. Discover all applications that offers Kongo Connect by going or

South Africa: Biko's Legacy ?

Voice Of America reports

New Political Party Launched in South Africa

                                                  Mamphela Ramphele (2013 photo)

A political battle is in the air in South Africa as the 2014 presidential election gets closer. A new party was officially launched Saturday named Agang, which means "to build" in the Sotho language. The party plans to challenge Nelson Mandela's historical party, the African National Congress or ANC.

I think Mandela would be happy to see this development. The arrogance of the ANC is mind numbing.

She steps on the stage with her arm raised and her fist clenched above her head. Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of Agang, wants to make it clear : she is here to start the political fight against the ANC, which has been ruling South Africa since 1994 and the end of apartheid.

According to Ramphele, who is an academic and a former partner of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, the ANC hasn't done enough to transform the country and the life of South Africans.

A name that rings through out the history of the apartheid years and a hero of mine.

"I say that 20 years is too long to wait for jobs. 20 years is too long to wait for quality education. This is not the legacy our great leaders had in mind. This is not the country dreamed of by of our beloved Madiba ((Mandela)), by Steve Biko or Lillian Ngoyi," Ramphele said.

Ramphele articulates her program around reducing poverty, improving the education system, and also tackles corruption which, she says, has been one of the main causes of the dysfunction in the country.

The Democratic Alliance has largly failed to capture the black vote this could be a political ally on the left.

"Corruption and a culture of impunity have spread throughout government and society stealing textbooks from classrooms, stealing drugs from those living with HIV and stealing thousands of jobs and billions of rands of investment," Ramphele said.

A few hundred people, mostly young, attended the party launch event Saturday. Some of them were brought by bus from the neigboring province, where Ramphele is from. She announced her intention to create her own political party only four months ago and many Agang supporters are disaffected ANC voters, like Coleen Loyd.

"At the moment, they (the ANC) are not satisfying our youth. We are here for our youth," Lloyd said.

Despite recent scandals, the ANC remains very popular among South Africans, largely due to the role it played to end the white minority rule known as apartheid, back in the early 1990s. The party has been ruling the country ever since, winning each election.

Not a good sign in any democracy.

Patrick Mphaphuli says he does not expect Agang to beat the ANC, but he hopes that the new competition can shake the ANC and force them to do change.

"What I'm looking for is just to reduce the number for the ANC. And I think reducing the number will make these guys wake up to think that maybe, we must start taking the people serious," Mphaphuli said.

The party certainly has a long way to go to beat the ANC, but Ramphele can already count on the support of South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who praised Ramphele for entering the South African political arena and challenging the ruling party.

Another great man.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

DR Congo: M23 tries batshit crazy.

M23 rebel group defends right to hold criminal trials despite UN concerns

GOMA, Congo — A rebel group in eastern Congo on Friday defended its right to organize criminal trials despite concerns from the country’s United Nations mission, which has said that the proposed prosecution of 11 young men on weapons charges could not meet international standards.

The irony is palpable however that aside by any definition M23 are not a sovereign power.

Sovereignty is the quality of having independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make laws that rests on a political fact for which no pure legal definition can be provided.

A key element of sovereignty in a legalistic sense is that of exclusivity of jurisdiction. Specifically, the degree to which decisions made by a sovereign entity might be contradicted by another authority. Along these lines, the German sociologist Max Weber proposed that sovereignty is a community's monopoly on the legitimate use of force; and thus any group claiming the same right must either be brought under the yoke of the sovereign, proven illegitimate, or otherwise contested and defeated for sovereignty to be genuine

The M23 rebel group routed the government army and swept past U.N. peacekeepers last November to occupy the city of Goma, one of the country’s biggest. The rebels are currently in peace talks with the government, though negotiations have been rocky.

Well FARDC as per standard FARDC proceedure opted not to fight and instead concentrated on robbery rape and murder in Goma. The UN forces stood aside again as per their standard operating procedure.  As for the peace talks they are a figment of the M23 leaderships imagination.

Kabasha Amani, a civilian spokesman for the group, said Friday that the rebels could not ignore criminals in the areas they control.

I assume that failure to join M23 is now a criminal offence ?

“We are fighting criminality in the zone we control, and suspects must be put on trial,” Amani said. “If the U.N. thinks we should stop trying to administer our territory and should ignore criminals, we don’t think that would be a good thing. We have been holding trials and now we have trained some criminal investigators.”

Comedy gold.

Roger Meece, the head of the country’s U.N. mission, expressed concern over M23’s plans to organize a trial of 11 young men accused of illegally possessing weapons.

On the other hand what a precedent to hoist M23 by their own petard.

In a statement Wednesday, Meece said such proceedings “could not, in current circumstances, conform to international human rights standards nor would the accused have all the guarantees of a fair trial.”

He also called for “the immediate and unconditional dismantling of the M23’s illegitimate parallel administration.”

I think that the African Brigade makes that fairly likely.

The rebels are under increasing pressure, facing a heavy buildup of government forces and the prospect that they might have to fight a new U.N. intervention brigade with an offensive mandate. They have been accused of rights abuses and have been widely blamed for the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Not to mention the problems of training criminal investigators.

Although Amani defended the group’s efforts to crack down on criminality, M23 military spokesman Vianney Kazarama declined to say whether the trial would go ahead.

Kazarama said the decision of whether to go through with the trial was “purely a political question.”

Correct but also a hypothetical question.

DR Congo: The end of M23 ?

All Africa reports

DR Congo Deploys On M23 Frontiers

FARDC Tanks Not. FARDC forces do night fight when there is the remotest possibility someone else will do it for them. The Rapists of FARDC are again not actually really in the picture. ( My words HIA )

The Democratic Republic of Congo government Wednesday deployed hundreds of soldiers and tanks along its frontier with M23 rebels territory creating up new tensions in the war-torn country.
The M23 Spokesperson Rene Abandi told New Vision Thursday that the DR Congo Army has stationed their forces on several fronts in Mabenga and Butembo and opened more fronts in Tongo and Giseguro in the North Kivu province which is a clear sign that they want to attack the M23 positions.

This has been evident for quite some time although perhaps not to M23 who up until as recently as the 9th June were expecting peace talks to resume in Kampala.

The reports comes hours after the DR Congo army spokesman Colonel Olivier Amuli told Radio France where he said that the government Army, Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) has already finalized plans and strategies to fight the M23 rebels.
"We are only waiting for an order from President Joseph Kabila to flush out these rebels out and stabilize the region"Col Amuli told Radio France International on Tuesday.

I am guessing that the major strategy that the worse than worse than useless FARDC have come up with is to wait for the Africa Brigade to form up so that FARDC can get on with robbing and raping leaving the Africa Brigade do the job they are meant to.

Colonel Amuli recently said that President Kabila is more inclined to the Military option than seeking a political solution to the crisis in the Eastern part of the country that has led to thousands of people to live in refugee camps in Uganda and Rwanda while others are languishing in internal refugee camps near Goma city.

Kabila is a worm. He is partial to the least risky option to his power and if that means letting the Eastern Congolese die so be it.

On Monday June 17th South Africa deployed troops in Goma city to reinforce the Tanzanian contingent that will form the United Nations Intervention Brigade (UNIB) expected to combat M23 rebels.

Funny how brave this has made FARDC.

However the M23 rebels have said that they are well prepared for any attack on their positions and will not be threatened in any way.
Sources close to the M23 military command near Goma confided to New Vision that the rebel movement has in the recent months intensified military training of their men including new recruitment of fighters and intelligence gathering.

I think that this is the end of the road for M23. They cannot stand against the Africa Brigade. There  has been no accommodation made by the DR Congo government who have given up paying the usual lip service and going through the motions of the Kampala peace talks. 

In May, several youth from the districts of Kiruhura, Masaka, Ssembabule and Mayuge were arrested by Uganda authorities after they were suspected to be recruits destined to join the M23 ranks in Goma.

That seemed to be more of a comic aside than a serious attempt by M23 to recruit. 

The M23 chairman Bertrand Bisiimwa has in the past threatened that his rebel outfit will not hesitate to recapture the strategic provincial town of Goma like they did in November 2012 should the Kinshasa government forces continue with plans to attack their positions.

I don't think that they can prevail at this time against the forces that are gathering against them. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

DR Congo: The Street Kids of Goma

Charly Carolüs Kasereka blogs at L'ACTU DU KIVU

I have run the original French text through Google Translate and have also tried to iron out the kinks that inevitably occur. I apologise to Charly if I have stuffed up his emphasis or meaning by doing so.


More than 5000 children living outside the family home in my city. This phenomenon arises from 1994 with the massive influx of refugees fleeing the Rwandan genocide.
The situation is exacerbated following multiple wars caused by various armed groups operating in the eastern DRC.

Other causes

The poverty of parents who can no longer meet the needs of their offspring and the lack of jobs is one of the causes.
Several other reasons lead these children mostly under 17 years to be on the street. Some are there because their parents are separated, the death of a parent where orphans are assigned to a family member who already has his own burden to him, but also a bad education, parents living in very difficult conditions are often absent and away from home to educate their offspring.

                                       Young boys who draw water

A life on the streets

Children from broken families commonly called'' May'' or'' BOBO'' Shégué live by begging, stealing, and others are hard at work (emptying public trash cans, drawing water for restaurants from a distance of 7 km to the Lake Kivu) to survive.

Girls and teenage girls engage them in prostitution for a few Congolese francs:'' I stay in front of this stationery. I am from SAKE (27 km west of Goma) it is because of the war my parents died in 2008. Today I am 14 years old and it's been 5 years  I have been on the street.''  said Yvette.

Reintegration sometimes futile.

To support the Congolese Government to supervise these children of family breakups, several learning business and rehabilitation centers have been opened here in Goma.
In this center youth need training from 6 months to a year, depending on the support needs which vary from one youngster to another.

                                     boys from broken families in the street in Goma enthusiastic for hemp and alcohol.

Uganda: The pressure increases.

The Saturday Monitor ( Uganda ) reports

Two shot in city chaos as Besigye is arrested

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago being supported by Kampala Metropolitan Police commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi (R) and other officers after a tear gas canister was hurled into his car in Mengo. Mr Lukwago was set to appear before a tribunal at Metropole Hotel but was taken to Case Medical Centre in Kampala. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE 

KAMPALA- At least two civilians were shot, one of them in the back, as chaos erupted around the city’s central business district midmorning yesterday.
A combined military and police operation to contain former FDC president Kizza Besigye around the Kisekka Market hotbed appeared to get out of control with security personnel firing indiscriminately at crowds of unarmed and fleeing civilians.
High pressure bursts of coloured water were also unleashed from water cannon as riot police let loose, simultaneously firing canisters of teargas at will all over the downtown scene of the action.
Downtown Kampala was soon shrouded in clouds of teargas and the sound of gunfire in scenes reminiscent of the police and security clampdown during the 2011 walk-to-work protests against rising fuel and commodity prices.
Business at the market came to a standstill as traders locked their shops and police maintained a full day’s deployment at Kisekka Market and surrounding areas.
An hour after the chaos, the Daily Monitor witnessed police washing away blood of one of shot victims from the tarmac adjoining Kyaggwe Road.
One of the victims was an unidentified pedestrian. 
He bled profusely from his wounds in the back as traders first carried him into the middle of the road before he was rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital.The other victim was reportedly shot in the leg and also taken to Mulago.
But police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba could only confirm one person shot yesterday.
“I only know one person who was shot in the back by a rubber bullet. He is currently being taken to the theatre but we have been informed that he is able to talk. The situation is now calm and at least there have been no deaths,” Ms Nabakooba said.

Besigye arrested
Dr Kizza Besigye, the former president of Forum for Democratic Change, was arrested in Kikuubo trading area on Namirembe Road, while heading to Kisekka Market in his car.
Dr Besigye had just returned to the country on Wednesday from one of his routine trips to the US.
Before being picked up, he had been waving at traders in the busy hub hence attracting police attention.
By press time, he had been transferred from the Central Police Station in Kampala to Kira Police Station in Wakiso District. 
Politicians, journalists and other members of the public were denied access to the opposition leader.
The force had deployed at his home early morning but the retired colonel somehow slipped past the cordon and drove into town with his driver and aides, Sam Mugumya and Francis Mwijukye.
His driver, Fred Kato, and Mr Mugumya were also arrested.
Kampala Central Division Police commander James Ruhweza told journalists that Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Dr Besigye had planned to hold a rally in Kisekka Market.

Hat Tip: Rosebell Idaltu Kagumire on Facebook.