Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Free Ugandan journalists

Rosebell blogs

President Salva Kiir free Ugandan journalists

This is Hillary Ayesiga a Ugandan journalist. I met Hillary in 2007 when we started working for Nation TV Uganda (NTV), a part of the Aga Khan’s Nation Media Group. It was the new station in Uganda, fairly professional- more than most TV stations to the best of my judgement.
Hillary was a colleague for close to two years when i worked at NTV and he is a friend. He’s a hard working journalist. He never shies away from stories.
On Saturday, Hillary was arrested in Juba, South Sudan together with Justin Dralaze, a video journalist that has worked with Reuters for long time until recently. The two had gone to South Sudan to do stories for Feature Story News (FSN), a US-based company.

I have known Justin too for more than 7 years,we have survived riots and demonstrations in the land of Museveni where teargas is administered more regularly and with more zeal than immunisation against killer diseases.

These two journalists, well known, well respected in Uganda have been in detention at the National Security Headquarters in Juba.
They were arrested while filming along the airport road in Juba without permission.

This is the building where they are being held.

The government of South Sudan has detained them for more than 48 hours without a charge or even a statement.
On the evening news i learnt that Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs was talking to President Salva Kiir’s government but nothing much is coming out.
Tuesday morning news also reveal the Ugandan journalists were arrested together with a local journalist, Sunday David Tut working for Liberty FM radio station.
It is very easy to prove that these are journalists and if they filmed without permission necessary steps can be taken but their detention without charge further taints Kiir’s government as a government that is intolerant to the press. The journalists have not been allowed a visit from families or even Uganda Embassy officials.
Early this month, South Sudan’s parliament passed two bills to improve press freedom but journalists there continue to face arbitrary detention by the security forces.
In 2013 press freedom index compiled by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders South Sudan slipped 13 places to 124 out of 179 countries.
Hillary and Justin situation comes at time when President Salva Kiir has sacked his entire Cabinet so the president’s involvement is vital to secure this release it might be difficult to get someone responsible.
Ugandans have so far gone on twitter , put out a campaign calling on Salva Kiir to ensure release of the Ugandan journalists.

Swaziland: The Pornocracy heads " Down Under "

All Africa reports

Swaziland: Queens On U.S.$10 Million Vacation

                                                                   The Kings Jet

Several of the wives of King Mswati III who rules the impoverished kingdom of Swaziland are presently on a vacation trip to Japan and Australia that will cost an estimated US$10 million, a prodemocracy group has reported.

Visiting New Zealand's Western Island aka The Lucky Country. I am sure the Bruces and Brucettes will be delighted.

In total, about 100 people will be on the trip, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said.
The group will be travelling variously on commercial aircraft and the wives will travel on royal state aircraft.

Traveling in style will your subjects starve.

In a statement SSN, quoting 'sources within the royal family', said, 'The sole purpose of this trip is vacation. It is rumoured that the trip will cost R20 million (about US$10 million) in accommodation, travel allowances, air tickets, visas and other necessities.'

I wonder how it is covered in the Budget ?

The trip which is said to have begun on 20 July is shrouded in secrecy. No official confirmation of the trip has been made by King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, or his hand-picked government.

It is not clear how many of King Mswati's are on the trip. He is widely believed to have 13 wives in total, but this cannot be confirmed as the information is considered to be a state secret.

Nearly Reed Dance time so presumably the number of wives will increase.

A group of King Mswati's wives take expensive vacations each year. Last year (2012) they went on vacation to the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas in the United States.

On that occasion three of the wives were accompanied by an entourage of 55 people. Prodemocracy activists reported they stayed in 10 villas at the cost of US$2,400 per villa per night.

In 2010, a group of the king's wives went on what was described at the time as 'another multi-million dollar international shopping spree' to Brussels in Belgium and London, UK.

About 80 other people went on the trip to tend to the needs of the queens.

Australia   New Zealands Western Island is a very dangerous place it even has crocodiles although not one as the head of state. Guessing  100 hangers on is about right.

In August 2009, five of King Mswati's wives went on a shopping trip through Europe and the Middle East that cost an estimated US$6 million.

At the time media in Swaziland were warned not to report on the trip because it would harm the king's reputation.

Media houses were told they would face sanctions, including possible closure, if word got out. But newspapers and websites across the world followed the story.

I guess the King hasn't heard of social media. 

The Times of London, for example, reported how the queens went on a shopping spree while the subjects of King Mswati went hungry. Seven in ten of King Mswati's 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty, earning less than US$2 a day.

The Australian newspaper said the king ignored the Swazi poor and the newspaper reminded readers that Swaziland relied on international aid from the European Union and the United States.

Yes.... ever wonder how that aid money ended in Australia ?

The previous year in August 2008 when a group of the king's wives went on a similar shopping spree ordinary Swazi women were so outraged that they took to the streets of Swaziland in protest.
King Mswati does not accompany his wives on these trips. However, he is known to spend lavishly on himself and his wives when he does make trips.

There must be vital business to attend to in the pornocracy, like getting ready for his next 14 year old bride.

A typical example was in April 2011 when he went to London to attend the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The cost of the plane alone to take him to the UK cost the Swazi people US$700,000.

The following year he was back in London to attend a lunch to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. He took with him his first wife Inkhosikati LaMbikiza.

She wore to the lunch shoes trimmed with jewels that cost £995 (US$1,559). It would take seven-out-of-ten Swazis at least three years to earn the price of the shoes.

The cost of the King's five-day trip to the UK for the Diamond Jubilee was estimated to be at least US$794,500.

I very much doubt William and Kate will cost anywhere near 10 million US the next time they come down under. Sort of makes you think that.

The extravagant spending came just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticised Swaziland for diverting money that should have been used on education and health to other spending.

As a result of this spending the IMF withdrew its team that was advising the government on economic recovery from Swaziland.

The King is regularly criticised in media across the globe for his extravagant lifestyle, but media in Swaziland dare not criticise him.

Right up untill they decide to cut of his head.

At the time of the visit to the Diamond Jubilee the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, featured a report about LaMbikiza's shoes, gushing that she had received 'rave reviews' from a UK newspaper for her dress sense.

It did not, however, say that the same newspaper reported, 'Guests from controversial regimes include Swaziland's King Mswati III, who has been accused of living an obscenely lavish lifestyle while many of his people starve.'

While more than half of the Swazi population rely on some form of food aid to keep them from hunger, King Mswati has 13 palaces in Swaziland, one for each of his wives; fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars and at least one Rolls Royce.

Last year, for his 44th birthday he received a private jet worth US$17 million as a gift. He refused to reveal who bought it for him, leading to speculation that it was paid for out of public funds.

Of course it was. The guy has never done a days work in his life.

Monday, July 29, 2013

DR Congo: Kinshasa dreams and Congolese die. More Batshit Crazy

Voice of America reports

Congo-Kinshasa: Govt Hopeful of M23 Rebels' Extradition

         Congo Rebels accuses the Congolese government of refusing to negotiate at recently-reconvened peace talks.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's information minister says the government in Kinshasa enjoys good relations with Rwanda in spite of the diplomatic challenges between the two neighboring countries.
Like being in a state of undeclared war.

Lambert Mende says Kigali has assured the DRC as well as the international community of cooperation after his government issued international warrants for four former leaders of the M23 rebel group believed to be in Rwanda.

Yeah and Louise Mushikiwabo has assured the world that Rwanda doesn't support M23.

"They were already wanted here in DRC when they fought against the government in North Kivu. Since we learned from a communique from the Rwanda government that they were receiving asylum, we sent a warrant of arrest that was sent by diplomatic [channels] to our Rwanda government counterpart to have the four sent back here in Congo so that they [can appear] before the court," said Mende.

I guess from Kigali's point of view it is another stick they can use to keep the four compliant with Rwanda's agenda.

The M23 leaders wanted for extradition include M23 Jean-Marie Runiga and military commanders Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege and Innocent Zimurinda. Kinshasa has accused them of committing crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and other offenses.

Relations between the Central African neighbors have been strained by DRC accusations that Kigali has been supporting the rebels. Rwanda denies the charge.

Rwanda's cynicism knows no bounds.

Some analysts say Kigali might not enforce the DRC arrest warrants due to the diplomatic spat between the two countries. Mende acknowledged the tensions, but said Rwanda will extradite the M23 rebels due to a recently signed agreement between countries of the Great Lakes region - including Rwanda and the DRC -- in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The signatories swore to eradicate rebel groups in North Kivu province.

Well as the Chinese say " even a blind cat can stumble over a dead rat ". Mende is bloody dreaming. Handing them over would be an admission of defeat.

"We received [a] statement from the Rwanda government [saying] they are going to cooperate," said Mende. "We also have a judiciary agreement with Rwanda. We have not yet received any response from them, but we are waiting with [heightened] interest ... . because [it] reiterates its commitment to cooperate with the provision of the agreement. And we have no reason to doubt that they will act accordingly."

                                                                Wishful Thinking ?

Mende denies accusations that soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) attacked unarmed civilians following the latest clashes with the M23 rebels.

More Kinshasa dreams one has to wonder if they will ever see reality.

"Not a single bullet from FARDC targeted civilians in Rumangabo," said Mende. "We targeted the headquarters of M23, where [rebel] elements were meeting with the Rwandese Defense Forces to plan and to launch an attack against our troops, and we destroyed their depot of ammunitions. While escaping from Rumangabo barracks, these M23 and Rwanda alliance fired on civilians."

From  helicopters. Interesting to see the term Rwanda Alliance though.

DR Congo / Uganda : A building crisis.

The Sudan Tribune reports at All Africa

Uganda: Govt Alarmed by Influx of Congolese Refugees

                                                                 Congolese Refugees

Kampala — The Ugandan government on Thursday expressed alarm at the influx of Congolese refugees in its territory, saying it had increased vulnerability of border communities and disrupted basic services in the country.

It is hard to see how Uganda can cope with this with out significant assistance from the West. Uganda is doing a phenomenal job but this situation is now unsustainable.

"The government of Uganda is alarmed by the extraordinary influx of refugees fleeing to Uganda following the attack launched by the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) on the border town of Kamango in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the morning of 12 July 2013", the country's foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the never ending insanity that is the status Que for the Eastern DR Congo the ADF are Ugandan Rebels backed by Sudan, although I admit I haven't got a clue if that is the situation since the secession of South Sudan. It would seem to be unlikely 

In the aftermath of the ADF attacks on Kamango, in the eastern Congo, the Ugandan Red Cross put the number of Congolese refugees that had fled into Uganda's western district of Bundibugyo at 66,000. This number has since risen.

Fresh fighting has also broken out in DRC's volatile North Kivu region which has led to more Congolese refugees fleeing to the Kisoro district, in western Uganda.

"So far, 67,000 refugees have fled into Bundigugyo. A new emergency situation is unfolding in the western district of Kisoro where to date over 1,800 refugees have sought sanctuary and more [are] expected to arrive due to renewed fighting between the Congolese Armed Forces (FAEDC) and M23 in North Kivu", the statement from the Ugandan government said.

We can thank Rwanda for this human rights crisis and its ongoing imperial ambitions with regard to the Eastern DR Congo. I what must be one of the more ironic news stories British MP Andrew Mitchell is in Rwanda discussing aid.

"British Member of Parliament Andrew Mitchell has advised African countries to address conflicts and ensure proper accountability as benchmarks for donor aid."

That addressing conflicts advise will be a total waste of time. It would be good to see the Commonwealth apply a bit of pressure on Rwanda.

Uganda says that conflict in eastern Congo is escalating the security situation across the Great Lakes region.

"The Ugandan government expresses deep concern over the attack by ADF on civilians and MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo], which is further escalating the insecurity and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC. This poses a serious threat to peace, security, stability and development in the entire Great Lakes region", the statement said.

Uganda said it views the fighting in eastern Congo and the influx of Congolese refugees in its territory as a matter of urgency and called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the international community to double peace and security efforts in the Great Lakes region.

Wouldn't it be good if these reports weren't routinely ignored by the western media. Uganda needs our help now. This problem could quickly escalate into a major humanitarian crisis.

Before the influx of Congolese refugees, Uganda already had 210,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers, according to UNCHR, with more than 60% from the DRC and the rest from neighbouring countries such as South Sudan.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Three shells fell on Goma. A blog by Charly Kasereka

Charly Carolüs Kasereka blogs at The ACTU OF Kivu. 

( I have used Google Translate to translate this from the French original and have attempted to then clean it up, any mistakes are mine not Charly's )

I will make one observation and that is the amount of time spent at the security council on two mortars that landed in Rwanda fired from the DR Congo and the batshit crazy Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo attempts to justify ongoing Rwandan aggression in the DR Congo because of this, yet no mention has been made of this. Indeed the world would not know about this Rwandan violation of the DR Congo's territory without Charly. 

Three shells fell on Goma. Who is behind this ?

Specific reports indicate shells fell in the town of Goma. Witnesses who were in the vicinity of the Goma airport confirmed that the trajectory of the last bomb came from Rwanda.

The most dangerous bomb fell at North Mabanga in a residential property, Fortunately the kids were playing a bit further away from home. The other landed in a toilet and a little later the MONUSCO  minesweeper team arrived to the scene. 

In the house in question only a cabinet and the wall of the living room as well as some sheets were affected when the shell hit the house. 

The Governor of the province and senior officers of MONUSCO arrived on site on Tuesday at the North Mabanga neighborhood of Constanter. 
" We should not speculate on the origin of the munitions, it must await the analysis of experts later to properly determine its origin'' said Julien Paluku Kahongya governor North Kivu. 

Another bomb fell in Majengo near the station commonly known as "mom Olive Station" a position of FARDC and possibly targeting them. 

According to an official of the city of Goma, this is the result of an angry response to failures of enemy troops that were pushed up to three antennas landmark on the road to Kibumba. 

FARDC ( The Congolese army ) want to push back M23 ( Congolese Rebels ) further to avoid any pressure on their forward positions. 

Clashes this Monday, July 22, 2013 were confirmed by M23 sources. One of them described the resulting clash: "Early this morning, at around 2am the 10th and 4th battalions of the FDLR ( Rwandan rebels ) and FARDC attacked the positions of the M23 through Virunga National Park, in order to conduct an offensive against the M23 from there rear via Kibumba. 

These battalions were the artillery reinforcement  FARDC. Subsequently, FARDC attacked the forces of M23 from Rusayo ... " 

Another source, the director of Radio VBR Goma Kubuya Thomas stated that FARDC recovered Monday at 14:30 a strategic position of the M23 on the side of Nyiragongo at Kilimanyoka and have recovered two heavy weapons were positioned there. M23 soldiers who had also placed another heavy weapon on the hill to Nyundo Buhumba (28km from Goma) retrieve it later. 

according to one of our sources Kibumba Makenga General and Colonel Kazarama held a quick meeting at the Nuru Kibumba primary school. After the meeting, they left the area to head Kibumba (vegetable market) intending to move towards Rutshuru. 

Ongoing clashes were reported through to Tuesday 23 July up to 20 kilometers from Goma, the likely and the official death toll of the attacks was not known today Tuesday because of opposition clashes on the road from Goma to Kiwanja.

Posted by CHARLY Kasereka at The ACTU OF Kivu. The photos are Charlys as well

DR Congo: The lies of Louise Mushikiwabo, Foreign Minister Rwanda

Chimp Report ( Uganda ) reports

Rwanda Warns UN On DRC-FDLR Alliance

“It’s time for the practical action that will bring peace to the Eastern DRC,” Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the UN Security Council Thursday evening.

                                                                                               Louise Mushikiwabo

Addressing a UN Security Council debate chaired US Secretary of State John Kerry, Minister Mushikiwabo reiterated Rwanda’s backing for the UN peace process designed to end decades of conflict and instability.

“The Framework of Hope, along with regional peace efforts, offer a realistic path to lasting peace and security. There has been more than enough grandstanding by unaccountable actors who seek profit and publicity from the region’s misery,” Minister Mushikiwabo said.

I can't believe I am reading this shit. Rwanda seems to regard the world as stupid and that is a very stupid thing to do. Human Rights Watch details the evidence it has amassed against Rwanda in a report this week that I have blogged here with specific eye witness accounts in part two here.  
The accounts and evidence presented are more than convincing. Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo is a fool to try and lie her and Rwanda's way out of this but as you can see is doing just that.

Mushikiwabo said on the recent FDLR-FARDC collusion, Rwanda remains “seriously concerned.”

There is evidence to back this allegation by Mushikiwabo and it is convincing. The problem is that there is no evidence so far that this was an action of Kinshasa rather than that of regional FARDC officers acting foolishly. The greater problem for Rwanda is that there is a huge amount of evidence that Rwanda has backed and is backing M23 to a huge extent on the direct say so of Kigali. Mushikiwabo cynicism is astonishing. 

“The Security Council received a letter (document S/2013/402) from my Government with details, so I will not repeat the specifics today. Nevertheless, Rwanda requests concerned parties to halt any further threats to its territory and its population such as the recent bombing into Rubavu district from the DRC territory,” she warned.

Again it would seem that two mortars did hit Rwandan territory but just who fired them is a complete unknown as far as I can see. It could have been FDLR rebels or for that matter M23 rebels.

“Nor can the peace process withstand destructive military alliances.

I guess Rwanda views its alliance with M23 as constructive. 

" 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:

I saw a [M23] soldier. I started running, but I tripped on a piece of sugar cane and fell. The soldier caught up with me and said he would kill me because I tried to flee. I stopped then because I was very scared. Then he raped me. I cried out, but he closed my mouth.

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:"

These are just two of the many abuses inflicted by M23 on the people of the Eastern DR Congo as listed by Human Rights Watch.

Bombs from areas controlled by Congolese troops, FARDC, and MONUSCO recently hit Rwanda.

It is very hard to know just who controls what areas and who is co-operating with who. There is however compelling evidence M23 were operating in the MONUSCO controlled area. 

This morning, after a few hours of fighting and then CRA ( M23 ) was going to pursue the attackers but they were dispersed by the contingent of the UN Mission to the DRC (MONUSCO). An act which Bertrand Bisimwa, president of M23, welcomed with a public statement.

It also emerged that DRC was heavily arming FDLR militia, a group of extremists that draws its militants and leaders from perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) responded by warning DRC that it would not tolerate more bombings in the future.

“While Rwanda views any alliance between the FDLR and FARDC as a threat to regional security, we will not allow these disturbing developments to derail our commitment to peace,” said Mushikiwabo. 

Again it would seem that there is some truth to the charge that FARDC has been supporting the FDLR a policy, if it is endorsed by Kinshasa, of madness. It would seem to me to be more likely to be the actions of regional FARDC commanders acting out of frustration at the massive support Rwanda is giving M23. 

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 Darfur.
The evidence of Human Rights Watch is overwhelming yet we have this insane attempt by Louise Mushikiwabo to deflect Rwandas action pointing to some isolated indiscretions by FARDC whilst pretending the systematic actions of the Rwandans never happened. The woman is mad.
While endorsing Secretary Kerry’s Presidential Statement on the Great Lakes Regional Framework, Mushikiwabo said Rwanda would have liked to see more support of regional initiatives such as the peace talks at Kampala sponsored by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The talks collapsed months ago. This is a total red herring. 

Rwanda’s future prospects are inextricably tied to the outcomes of the peace process, Mushikiwabo told international diplomats and senior government officials who converged on the UN’s New York headquarters for Secretary Kerry’s inaugural appearance as Security Council President.

“Let me put it in the clearest possible terms: in order to secure long-term peace and prosperity for Rwanda into the future, we need a peaceful and prosperous DRC. As long as conditions persist that allow more than thirty rebel groups to roam with Eastern DRC with impunity -- or as long as men and boys see nothing in their futures beyond crime, violence and conflict -- such a transformation will remain beyond reach.”

The statement followed a disputed report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that Rwanda was supporting M23 rebels.

The problem is that the Human Rights Watch report reeks of credibility, unlike the position of the Rwandan Government. The only disputers it would seem are the Rwandans who lack any credibility.


Minister Mushikiwabo outlined ways Rwanda has begun implementing recommendations contained in the Peace and Security Framework conceived by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and overseen by Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson.

These included the disarmament of M23 fighters who have crossed into Rwanda as a result of infighting in March this year, as well as reporting sanctioned high ranking officers; Cooperation with UN agencies to accommodate roughly 70,000 Congolese nationals who have sought refuge in Rwanda as a result of instability in the Kivus; and support to the deployment of the Intervention Brigade to allow MONUSCO to carry out its Protection of Civilians responsibility.

Yes well the disarming of the M23 fighters that crossed into Rwanda makes a lot of sense given that Rwanda had armed and supported the other faction of M23 which had defeated them. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the killers of Kigali how much of an own goal this was though, they are that bloody insane but I guess you take whatever breaks you can get from the Congolese perspective.

Supporting the Intervention Brigade ( Africa Brigade ) is yet another demonstrable lie however.

“Those who think that Rwanda today should sit down at the negotiating table with FDLR simply don’t know what they are talking about,” she said adding that it is unfortunate that the rebel group has sympathisers in the region, including President Kikwete himself, should he not retract his comments.

President Kikwete has very legitimate reasons for wanting negotiations Tanzania is leading MONUSCO's Africa brigade. This is to become the offensive arm of the MONUSCO deployment anything that limits the potential casualties that may be inflicted on the Africa brigade should be considered and if that means talking to the FDLR however distasteful that may be, it should be done.

Mushikiwabo told the French broadcaster that she did not expect President Kikwete to suggest that Rwanda negotiate with known terrorists since he has served as a foreign affairs minister for his country and knows the FDLR background.

Which shows Mushikiwabo's geopolitical failings and unsuitability for her role.

The reality is that Kigali has done everything possible to disrupt and delay the deployment of the Intervention Brigade ( Africa Brigade ). The Brigades deployment will end Rwanda's economic imperialism in the Easter DR Congo and they know it.
Others include efforts to boost regional cooperation through enhanced economic integration and tackling the exploitation of natural resources, including the seizure of 8.4 tons of smuggled minerals which are being to DRC authorities

“We continue to see good performance in the mining industry in the first half of 2011 where export volumes increased by 5.4 percent in value reaching $72.5 million,” said Gatete told members of the media Tuesday.
But, according to critics, Rwanda barely has a mining sector to talk of and especially as an economic pillar for the country to lean on.
“Which mines does BNR say have the minerals that can fetch over $70 million worth of exports, those are from mineral reserves that James Kabarebe and company stole from Congo in the late 1990s,” an insider source revealed to this newspaper.
President Kagame using Kabarebe is said to have stolen gold in thousands of tonnes among other minerals when Rwandan forces operated in Congo in late 1990s. These minerals make part of the resources that the UN accused Rwanda of plundering in Congo, an accusation Rwanda has overwhelmingly denied over the years.

Minister Mushikiwabo urged all parties to adhere to the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework, saying that after nearly two decades of armed conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, there is now an historic opportunity for peace and prosperity.

She further said when M23 leader General Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on March 18th, Rwandan authorities offered facilitation for his transfer to The Hague.

Yes an opportunity that Ntaganda declined to take given Rwanda had supported the opposing faction an sensibly handed himself in to the Americans. He would be a corpse had he done otherwise and his date with the International Criminal Court must be causing more than a few sleepless nights in Kigali. I am looking forward to his evidence.  

“We can all agree that the economic components of the Framework must be implemented alongside its political and security aspects. To that end, Rwanda is working to boost regional cooperation through enhanced economic integration and close collaboration in cross-border trade,” said Mushikiwabo, adding, “Just last month, Rwanda mining authorities seized 8.4 metric tons of smuggled minerals and are in the process of returning them to DRC authorities, as has been our practice in the past.”

Mushikiwabo is batshit crazy. Unfortunately for her and Rwanda the world isn't.


Coltan is short for Columbite-tantalite - a black tar-like mineral found in major quantities in the Congo. The Congo possesses 64 percent of the world's coltan. When coltan is refined it becomes a heat resistant powder that can hold a high electric charge. The properties of refined coltan is a vital element in creating devices that store energy or capacitors, which are used in a vast array of small electronic devices, especially in mobile phones, laptop computers, pagers, and other electronic devices.

Who are the primary exploiters of Coltan in the Congo?
Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and their proxy militias are the primary exploiters of coltan in the Congo. In an 18 month period Rwanda made $250 million as a result of exploitation of coltan in the Congo. Although Rwanda and Uganda possess little or no coltan, during the period of the war in the Congo, their exports escalated exponentially. For example, Rwanda's coltan export went from less than 50 tons in 1995 to almost 250 tons in 1998. Zero cassiterite was transported from the Congo to Uganda in 1998, however by 2000 151 drums were transported.

Friday, July 26, 2013

DR Congo : HRW nails Rwanda ( part 2 )

Human Rights Watch reports. I made my comments on this situation in Part 1 of this blog the following accounts are horrific. That should not stop you from reading them. 

DR Congo: M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians

Summary Executions and Other Attacks by the M23

Human 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 M23

Human 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:

I saw a [M23] soldier. I started running, but I tripped on a piece of sugar cane and fell. The soldier caught up with me and said he would kill me because I tried to flee. I stopped then because I was very scared. Then he raped me. I cried out, but he closed my mouth.

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:

The M23 fighter came into my house and asked me where my husband was. He then put a knife to my chest and said he was going to kill me, and that I should give him money. I told him I didn’t have any money, that my husband took it with him on patrol. I was sitting on the bed with my child. The soldier fought with me on the bed. He was stronger than me and he had a gun. Then he raped me.

A 35-year-old Hutu woman who was raped by an M23 fighter near Bunagana in June told Human Rights Watch:

When he finished, he left me in the forest. I was shaking and turned toward the ground, crying.… The one who raped me was an M23 fighter whom I know. I recognized him, but what can I do to him?

Forced Recruitment, Including of Children, and Abductions by the M23

Human 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:

I saw the M23 come and surround me. They asked me if I was an FDLR, and I said no. After that, they started whipping and beating me. They tied me up and took me to Rumangabo, where they locked me in a cell. After two days, they untied me, but left me in the cell for a week. After, they told me I would become a soldier. They then started the military training. There were 80 of us being trained. There were 10 officers from Rwanda who led the training. They told us we had to become soldiers so we could fight to liberate Goma and then continue on to South Kivu.

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 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:

Rwandans are favored. They’re given uniforms immediately, they’re given blankets, and they get boots. They’re spoiled. When they talk, they talk like they are the owners of the movement. I felt this threat. [They] called me a loser. They said, “You are worth nothing in your country.” They insulted me with things that you can’t say out loud. They said, “You Congolese, you may have studied a lot, but you’ve never been to the front.”

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.

Human Rights Watch also received reports of increased movements of armed men from Rwanda into Congo in the days leading up to the fighting that broke out on July 14.

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.
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.”
Abuses by Hutu Militia with Support from Congolese Military Personnel

The 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.

DR Congo : HRW nails Rwanda ( part 1 )

Human Rights Watch reports

DR Congo: M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians

New Evidence of Rwandan Support for M23

M23 rebels take position near the town of Mutaho, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on May 27, 2013.