Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DR Congo: M23 and Rwanda still don't see it and it is still Frances fault

Congo DRC News reports

                                                                                       Ntarugera Deo Koya

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The inescapable imperative for responsible members of the world community of nations to jointly check France’s and the UN’s erratic behavior and recurrent penchant for criminality in D.R. Congo and Rwanda.
The UN and France's criminality ? Can you explain the mass graves ? Talk about hypocrisy. 
" In Kibumba, the army discovered two mass graves, North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku told AP. The army has been ordered not to touch the graves so that they can be investigated by the government and the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Congo."

On behalf of Rufari International, I have the honor to recall to your diligent attention that the UN mission known and referred to as MONUC/MONUSCO, spanning 14 years as of now, has been a bogus force of 20 000 officers and men astutely wreaking havoc in D R Congo and Rwanda. Raping young girls in what very much looks like sex tourism enjoyed by officers and men splashing a lot of cheaply earned money. Which money is international taxpayers’ money including Congo’s and Rwanda’s hard earned foreign exchange: that is one. Two: trading Congolese mineral resources is common practice. Three and worst of all: fabricating and broadcasting terribly abrasive criminal allegations leveled against the Rwandan government to disrupt relations between the governments and peoples of Rwanda and Congo.
Point 1) That is a revolting allegation. Just this week we were reminded of the price that we the world require of the men and women serving in the UN forces and MONUSCO specifically.
According to the statement, the attacks occurred as the UN Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) supported action being carried out by Congolese Government Forces (FARDC) to protect civilians on the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis, 25 kilometres north of Goma, which the main city in the vast country's eastern region.
“The Secretary-General offers his sincere condolences and sympathy to the family of the victim, and to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania,” the statement says."
Point 2) Trading in Congolese minerals without a licence issued by the Kinshasa authorities is illegal, I have no doubt M23 would use the same justification to rationalise the rapes they have committed in the DR Congo.
Point 3) The evidence against Rwanda is comprehensive, well documented and for the record how on earth is it " worst of all " ? Rwanda is a nation run by a administration that has lied for so long it has forgotten how to tell the truth.

World leaders and strategists must seriously take note that the glaringly heinous and outrageously criminal fact of the so-called recurrent leaks of UN reports leveling baseless accusations at the Government of Rwanda every now and again, in a crystal-clear bid to antagonize Rwanda and D R Congo, has now become an intolerable mass destruction and political destabilization lever.
Despite this being in English I will translate. Rwanda has been caught lying, caught destabilising the DR Congo. Nobody believes a word Rwanda says including their close ally the US so much so the US has cancelled military contributions to the junta in Kigali.

The UN has so often been erratic in its pursuit of its mission to ensure peace and security in the world, causing massive death and desolation across the world in general, in Rwanda and DR Congo in particular. The Carlsson Report published a decade ago clearly indicated the criminal role the UN played in the staging and the commission of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Had the UN duly assumed full responsibility, said genocide of Rwandan Tutsi folks would never had had a chance to erupt and wipe off a million Rwandan folks.
There is no doubt the UN has made mistakes, so much so it was determined not to make yet another in the Congo, the great tragedy of this is the Rwanda has learned nothing from the genocide, " Those who will not learn from history are destined to repeat it ", as the saying goes, thus it has been in the DR Congo and it is Rwanda who are responsible.
It is now high time to have the UN inveterate penchant for complacent criminality checked. The UN has most decidedly become an abiding mortal danger for the peoples of Rwanda and Congo and for global humanity at large. The realm of dangerous absurdity in international laws’ execution based on treacherous international politicking, pervasive and complacent criminal negligence alongside the sacrosanct impunity of the UN must end.
If anyone can figure out what that rant is about feel free to leave a translation in the comments, I think the guy is off his rocker.
Looking at the UN security council’s recent prescript for the UN belligerence in eastern d r Congo, against one party to a civil war, the March 23 Movement (M23), it is glaringly clear that the very essence of international law is being purposely disrupted, and norms of international relations perverted, to suit hidden agenda of France and some other treacherous members of the faceless and inattentive international community.
It takes a lot for a Kiwi to feel sorry for France but I must say I am starting to think they are getting an unjustifiably hard time. Let us remember the Intervention Brigade concept grew out of a meeting of the ICGLR ( International Conference Great Lakes Region ) and was put forward by Rwanda and Uganda under the Africa Brigade monicker. The ICGLR loved the idea and then decided that the Brigade would be more effective as part of MONUSCO much to Rwanda's horror, how fucking ironic is that. Rwanda was given enough rope and promptly hung themselves.    
 " A neutral international force will be set up to hunt down armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), regional leaders agreed yesterday.
The Heads of State and Government summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) held in Kampala from August 7-8 established a subcommittee composed of defence ministers from seven member states tasked to provide details on the operationalization of the force.
The subcommittee was mandated to propose “urgent actionable steps to ensure that fighting stops completely to allow for consolidation of peace, security and stability,” reads part of a statement issued at the end of the two-day summit."
This is from the ICGLR meeting as reported in New Times Rwanda. Did the fool who wrote this shit forget ? Rwanda can't even tell the truth about it's own role in this, mind you own goals are often embarrassing, I wonder who will get shot for this miscalculation ? 
The Congolese M23 Rebellion was lured into pulling out of Goma in November 2012 by the ICGLR, a section of the international community. They were in return offered by the UN and the international community to engage peace talks with the Kabila government in Kampala. 
While the peace talks were underway, international political and diplomatic circles started referring to M23 as a terrorist group, a negative force at par with the FDLR. International conspiracies started twisting international law, using the UN machinery, to thwart the M23 and the Kampala negotiations. They eventually came up with something that is unprecedented in the history of modern international law, namely the violation of the principle of neutrality of the United Nations Organization. The UN was granted permission to militarily engage the M23 Rebellion, while the M23 delegation was negotiating with the Congolese government. This was a major set back that has entailed untold suffering, desolation and death for thousands of eastern Congolese families, alongside gross violations of human rights.
The fools can't see their own hand in their own destruction. It would be funny if the price in ruined lives, deaths, rapes wasn't so high but even one rape one death is a price that the Congo should never have had to pay for Rwandan adventurism, Rwandan genocide and Kagame's delusions.  
On different occasions, through the last three decades, serious proposals/resolutions (unexecuted to date) were tabled and examined in high political and diplomatic forums, as to overhauling and reshaping the UN structures, extending UN Security Council permanent seats to yet another few countries, Germany, Japan, Nigeria? Egypt? South Africa?, to top up the existing ones so as to balance chances to enhance global peace and security endeavors.
Next he will be demanding that Rwanda ( who currently have an African seat on the UN Security Council ) be granted permanent membership. That a bunch of criminals like M23 dare to talk about global peace should have the ICC issuing indictments.
We therefore reckon that responsible leaders of the world concert of nations must together engage in tracking the sum of wrongdoings (omissions and commissions) of France and the UNO in the African great lakes region through decades: ONUC/MINUAR/MONUC/MONUSCO with a due sense of legal scrutiny and political wholesomeness. This must be understood as inescapable imperative.
On behalf of Rufari International, I avail this opportunity to anticipate our gratitude for your attention and diligence and reiterate to Your Excellencies, the assurance of our highest consideration.
Ntarugera Deo Koya
Political, diplomatic affairs and Communication Consultant
Director, Rufari International –Kigali office
Ntarugera Deo Koya, Just fuck off.

DR Congo: M23, Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity amongst the lies.

Congo DRC News reports, ( this is a M23 website and as such a work of fiction particularly following M23's defeat at the hands of the Congolese army FARDC ) It is translated from French by an unknown translation service and I have attempted to clean it up, all translation mistakes are mine.


                                                                                                  M23 Rebels

Sunday, October 2013 27, the rebels of the "M23" took the decision to abandon some of their positions. These are Kiwanja, Rutshuru, Rubare Rumangabo, etc.. A courageous act that was interpreted by the government, not only as a sign of weakness, but as a victory for the government forces of rebellion. And yet, it was far from this: it is in no way a sign of weakness and even less a victory for government forces. It is a withdrawal after a long period of internal consultations. We had to avoid a bloodbath in cities where the population would be the victims of violence that could be avoided. That's what M23 wanted to avoid. But what has happened ?

Whilst I have come to expect lies from M23, they have a major problem running this line. 

We had to avoid a bloodbath in cities where the population would be the victims of violence that could be avoided."

The New Zealand Herald reports.

GOMA, Congo (AP) The Congolese army took three towns in eastern Congo Sunday in fresh fighting against the M23 rebels, said the army spokesman.

The army says it has found two mass graves in Kibumba, a town it took on Saturday, according to the provincial governor.

The army on Sunday gained control of Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Buhumba towns in the Rutshuru area of North Kivu province, near Congo's border with Rwanda, army spokesman Lt. Col. Olivier Hamuli told The Associated Press.

There will be more discovered as the Congolese Army reasserts Congolese control over the rebel held territory.  M23 presents as a domestic Congolese organisation, they are actually Rwandan terrorists and we can be sure that more evidence of their crimes against humanity will come to light. The DR Congo doesn't often make the mainstream news in New Zealand and as a New Zealander I am saddened that it should do so for this.
CTV News ( Canada ) reports
" In Kibumba, the army discovered two mass graves, North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku told AP. The army has been ordered not to touch the graves so that they can be investigated by the government and the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Congo."

I can only hope that those responsible are identified and brought to justice.
Deployment Brigade MONUSCO Kiwanja
On 16 October 2013, the special services of M23 based Kiwanja report ten "Puma" helicopters of MONUSCO at Kiwanja Airfield.  Service agents manage to infiltrate the MONUSCO operation and see things up close. Their report is explicit: it was a contingent of about 300 Tanzania, South African and Congolese FARDC soldiers.

The most daring members of the contingent sought to establish military positions in the area known as the Kamulima (near the residence of a chieftain of the PPRD, former RCD and native Nyanzale). They were challenged by the M23 forces and returned to the MONUSCO base at Kiwanja.

This account is of course contradicted by the media reporting on the defeat of M23 and whilst one can choose who to believe it is clear to me where credibility lies and it isn't with M23. More from CTV News. 

" United Nations forces are not participating in the fighting, but are in armoured personnel carriers and jeeps with mounted machine-guns several kilometres behind the army forces."

The day began with clashes at Kibumba followed by those Mabenga Ngwenda and then the joint forces looked for M23 on the battlefield, the operations of the joint quota (undercover MONUSCO) began at night as they infiltrated Kiwanja and armed civilians. On the third day of the general government attack (the fronts of Kinyandonyi of Kahunga and Kibumba), the coalition forces were retreating everywhere. Civilians armed by the joint quota forces began to push throughout Kiwanja. Fortunately, in less than an hour, police intervention dissuaded them  from continuing.

Again this isn't backed up any way by accounts from reporters on the ground.

" The population of Kiwanja indicates that in the last hours of fighting, the M23 rebels fought in civilian clothes before retiring to 9 pm local time to Bunagana, a border post with Uganda." 

I have no doubt the " armed civilians " were M23 rebels who fearing death had removed their uniforms. Had they been armed civilians then I doubt very much there would be an M23 member alive today to make up this crap.

The following day  about ten o'clock in the morning, the defensive line of M23 at Kahunga had reached the Mabenga bridge the uniformed FARDC brigade arrived at Kiwanja with the UN Intervention Brigade, as well as hundreds of civilians armed with Kalashnikovs, who appeared in almost all the streets and avenues of Kiwanja.

Again we can discount this version of events, it however strikes me that if you are going to lie it would be wise to try and disguise the lie in a way that is at least credible to the gullible, this is something that M23's sponsor Rwanda also struggles with.   

The police could not contain the horde, however, they held them in waiting until the arrival of a group of M23 rebels came to Rutshuru to cover the retreating M23 forces, back from the Kahunga Mabenga front. They  carried out an orderly withdrawal through Kiwanja and Rutshuru, firstly, to avoid the trap of FARDC-FDLR-BRIGADE/UN coalition had set for M23 of shooting the armed civilians and being accused of massacring civilians, and, on the other hand, to retreat to the Bunagana base.

Bunagana is a border post between the DR Congo and Uganda, you can draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DR Congo: M23. It is over.

The BBC reports

DR Congo M23 rebels 'all but finished', says UN

                                                            Government forces celebrate the capture of Rumangabo

Martin Kobler said the M23 had abandoned most military positions in the east and was confined to a small triangle close to the Rwandan border.
A fifth rebel-held area in a week fell to government forces on Monday.
On a personal note this was a huge relief, yesterday I saw Charly Kasereka's Facebook post of an article by Radio Okapi ( I have no idea if he authored it or not as it isn't bylined )  having read the translated article I concluded M23 were finished and went looking for something to support my conclusion, there was nothing other than re-reporting of the Radio Okapi report and other Congo watchers were either asleep or biding their time. What the hell to do ?
I blogged it and predicted the military end of M23 had arrived. I have been suggesting that this was inevitable on this blog for some time but making the call was one of the most difficult blogging decisions I have had to make. Later in the evening and again on Facebook Chantal Faida Mulenga-byuma another Gomatrician  like Charly made a status update.
" DRC, the war is over. The victory returns to the Congolese population that has endured all these sufferings. Long was the night, the day eventually get up. PEACE "
The translation by Bing leaves a lot to be desired but Chantal's meaning is obvious. My confidence in my prediction grew accordingly.
The rebels say that their withdrawals are temporary.
" So the important thing in a military operation is victory, not persistence."
Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu wrote that some 2500 years ago and I would suggest it is as relevant today as it was when he wrote. It is something I hope the Rwandan military think about as well. 
Mr Kobler told the UN Security Council by video-link: "It is practically the military end of the M23."
He said the rebels had abandoned a key position on Mount Hehu near the Rwandan border.
About a week back I branded M23 " The Comedians of the Congo " it was largely brought about by the unceasing upbeat press releases that were appearing on what I have been reliably informed is a M23 website, Congo DRC News . In the British WW I comedy Blackadder goes forth they joke about the mindless optimism card, it is almost as though M23 were following that script. Today the website is morbid which is appropriate and the companion Facebook page is if anything worse. It is at this level.
" Axelle was forced to have sex with a dog which she did -"
After the UN meeting, French ambassador Gerard Araud said he hoped there would now be talks between the rebels and the government.
He said: "Mr Kobler has briefed us and basically he told us that we are witnessing the military end of the M23.
"So I think it's a positive development of course and there was a general agreement that now we should go back to the table of negotiation in Kampala."
Actually no. There is nothing to negotiate other than the formal surrender. The Government of DR Congo must above all keep faith with their citizens in the eastern DR Congo, they have borne the brunt of the depredations inflicted by M23. They have a right to justice, it would however be better if that justice was delivered by the international community at the Hague.   
Peace talks between the government and M23, hosted by neighbouring Uganda, broke down last week.
There had previously been about two months of relative calm in eastern DR Congo.
There are many other armed groups and it would be better that the M23 situation is dealt with fast, hence my preference for the ICC. FARDC and the Intervention Brigade and for that matter the government need to focus on the future and making that future a prosperous one with economic development and security, the other armed groups be they FDLR, ADF or Mai Mai need neutralising.  
'Retreating rebels'
Cheering crowds reportedly welcomed government troops on Monday as they entered Rumangabo town, where the latest M23 base to fall was located.
The government is re-establishing its rule there, said North Kivu province governor Julien Palukui.
"We have just held two meetings in order to discuss how to uplift the population... and we are announcing the restoration of the civil service within the next 24 hours,'' he added.
Rumangabo - about 50km (30 miles) north of Goma, the main city in eastern DR Congo - had one of the three biggest military bases in DR Congo before it fell to the rebels last year.
There is no doubt that the government forces have achieved huge victories over the rebels, says the BBC's Maud Jullien in the capital, Kinshasa.
The UN has deployed a new intervention brigade to eastern DR Congo with a stronger mandate to confront armed groups.
On Sunday, the UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco, said a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed during fighting with the M23 in the town of Kiwanja.
"The soldier died while protecting the people of Kiwanja," Monusco said in a statement.
That man died for us, he died bring the justice of the world to the people of the DR Congo, we owe him and his colleagues who have died a debt we can never repay, if the world gets this right then we will at least go a small way to honour his sacrifice.  
The military success in Rumangabo followed the capture of four other areas - Kiwanja, Rutshuru, Buhumba and Kibumba - since the weekend, the army said.
M23 officials in Uganda said their fighters had retreated because government and UN forces had launched a joint assault, reports the BBC's Ignatius Bahizi from Uganda's capital, Kampala.
Rebel forces were outnumbered, they said.
M23 fighters planned to regroup before making their next move, the officials added.
There will be no next move. It is over.
At least 800,000 people have fled their homes in DR Congo since the M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, the UN humanitarian agency, Ocha, says.
The rebels briefly occupied eastern DR Congo's main town, Goma, in November 2012 before pulling out under international pressure.
The M23 are mainly ethnic Tutsis, like most of Rwanda's leaders.
Thinking of this in terms of ethnicity is probably the biggest problem, the discrimination Tutsi and those of Tutsi decent face is an issue that needs to be sorted by the DR Congo government.
Rwanda and Uganda deny persistent Congolese and UN allegations that the neighbours are backing the rebel forces.
Eastern DR Congo has been wracked by conflict since 1994, when Hutu militias fled across the border from Rwanda after carrying out a genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
It is time to stop the killing. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DR Congo: M23 is it over ?

Radio Okapi reports  ( Translated from French by some translation service and cleaned up by me, all mistakes are mine )

North Kivu: after Kibumba FARDC recover locality Kiwanja

After Kibumba, the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) retook on Sunday 27 October, the town of Kiwanja, located 70 km north of Goma (North Kivu). The governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku Kahongya delivered information.
According to sources on the ground, people have welcomed the FARDC with joy and prepared festivities immediately, after about a year of rebel occupation.
Having watched the Congo DRC News website over the last few days, a M23 site that has been reporting on the military successes of M23 with a regularity that would be impressive if it wasn't all fiction, I would have to say that surely after this defeat M23 must be finished. 
The population of Kiwanja indicates that in the last hours of fighting, the M23 rebels fought in civilian clothes before retiring to 9 pm local time to Bunagana, a border post with Uganda.
Switching to civilian clothes is a fairly good indicator that things are going badly and retreating across an international border is also a last resort tactic. Interestingly Congo DRC News has an explanation for the happenings in Kiwanja. It is in French, translation is by Google Translate.
" Criminal organizations around the governor Julien PALUKU distributed weapons to civilians without training, which explains several shootings littered with automatic weapons ....

Go therefore understand that the weapons fell into the hands of large segments of the civilian population, which may include undisciplined groups , bandits or individuals with an uncertain sanity.

Faced with this cacophony two questions come to mind :

1 - how to differentiate between these bandits ( armed civilian clothes ) and peaceful civilians ? ?

2 - How to effectively launch an offensive in the strict observance of international humanitarian law? ? ?

Note: To prevent an avalanche of murders of ethnic and thus stop the wave of civil unrest caused by these agents of death an option was exercised by the President of the M23 . .

The M23 has withdrawn from kiwanja

Jean Kasereka M23 "

I haven't bothered to clean this up its meaning is clear. 

The governor of North Kivu confirmed the recovery Kiwanja and indicated that regular forces are endeavoring to clean up the area to ensure that there are no rebels hidden among the population.
The population is still awaiting the end of the search operation before the real celebrations begin, say several sources in the region.
As well they might. It should be remembered that M23 have used the areas they occupied as a feudal territory extorting massive " taxes " from the local population along with the other far more serious crimes they inflicted, such as murder and rape.   
The fighting between the FARDC and the M23 resumed  on Friday early in the morning at Kibumba. These are the most violent clashes since last August. The fighting took place while the Kampala talks between the Congolese government and the rebels were suspended.
As I blogged a couple of days ago this was the outcome I think Kampala wanted and if my take on this is correct the peace talks are over as M23 seems to have been defeated in the field. It may be that this Rwandan inspired insurrection in the DR Congo has come to an end.
For his part, at the head office of MONUSCO North Kivu, Ray Torres, warned the M23 rebels to show the utmost restraint and especially not to target civilians fleeing the fighting from Kibumba because incidents like this will not be tolerated.
It is very important that the M23 knows that it is obligated to respect human life this applies at all times especially in battles, "said Ray Torres. He added that MONUSCO trucks are currently evacuating people in areas near the front line.
If M23 have crossed into Uganda at Bunagana then it is over ( yes that is a very big call...) and I can see no reason for them to retreat there other than to seek safety in Uganda. Given the hundreds of thousands of civilians that the M23 depredations have forced to seek shelter in Uganda there is an irony to this. I hope Uganda disarms them and hands the leaders over to the ICC.

Hat Tip: Charly Kasereka 

Uganda: Museveni was right, the Red Pepper shouldn't be allowed to publish

Red Pepper ( Uganda ) reports

War Looms As Rwanda Threatens To Strike DRC

By: Alex Masereka
Rwanda says it is ready to launch a surgical strike inside the Democratic Republic of Congo if there is a new cross-border shelling, raising the prospect of another war in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

A trailer carrying a tank leaves the Rwandan capital of Kigali en route to the border town of Gisenyi, August 30, 2013. Rwanda has deployed troops on the Congolese border.

On Friday, rebels from Congo’s March 23 movement (M23) clashed with Congolese troops, and Rwanda accused the Congolese army, the FARDC, of cross-border shelling and shooting.
General Joseph Nzabamwita, the Rwandan army’s spokesman, said troops across the border had “fired three bombs and small arms fire” at a village in Rubavu district, close to the border towns of Gisenyi in Rwanda and Goma in the DR Congo.
Old news I know but stay with me on this. I am not blogging about a Rwanda / DR Congo war, although that remains a possibility if Kigali decides that batshit crazy is a sensible response, something I wouldn't bet against.   
The Congolese army “targeted innocent civilians in Rwanda, and fleeing Congolese refugees,” he said, saying a 58-year-old refugee was wounded. 
I have argued in previous posts that I am in no way convinced it was the Congolese Army ( FARDC ) responsible for the shelling and shooting, that observation is based on historical precedent, the last time Rwanda made such an allegation it turned out it was M23 not FARDC doing the shelling, presumably on Kigali's orders. Rwanda appear to be looking for any pretext to invade and if creating one is necessary so be it.     
The M23 rebels defected from the FARDC in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the army.

The UN and Kinshasa have repeatedly accused Rwanda of helping the rebels in Congo. Rwanda has always denied the charges that it is backing the M23, but Kigali has never publicly condemned the militia, which is strengthening its grip over the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu in the eastern Congo.
This is actually the point of this post. That last paragraph is unbelievable, that it was written by I assume a professional journalist is breathtaking. It is not only bollocks it is infact even worse. I could forgive a journalism student screwing up like that if they came from butt fuck Arizona, but really Uganda ?
M23 have been steadily losing their grip over the Kivus. Note to Alex Masereka, M23 were at the height of their " grip " in November 2012 since then it has been down hill.
GOMA, Congo -- Rebels widely believed to be backed by Rwanda and Uganda held their positions in this key eastern Congolese city that they seized last week, letting a midnight deadline for their withdrawal expire in the early hours of Tuesday."
That was from this blog last November, this on the other hand is from a few days ago.
" KANYARUCHINYA, 14 October 2013 (IRIN) - The frontline of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is only 6km away, yet most of the inhabitants of Kanyaruchinya, in North Kivu, have returned home, determined to resume their lives." 
I think a journalist might be aware of the geography of the region particularly if they are reporting on the area or if not might take the time to familiarise themselves. When Museveni closed down the Red Pepper earlier this year there was outrage and I myself was appalled by his actions. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that his decision was probably the right one just his reasoning was wrong.
                           Rwandan UN Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana said Rwanda is ready to act and it will hurt.
Congo’s adventurous neighbor is reportedly planning to launch a military offensive against a country with which it fought two wars in the past two decades.
“If they are not ready to stop this, we will immediately act and it will hurt,” Rwandan UN Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana said on Friday after the UN Security Council held talks on the heightened tensions in the volatile region.
Eugene Gasana may well come to regret that statement, being laughed out of diplomatic circles for being a bloody idiot is not unheard of for Rwandan diplomats in fact it would seem to be a regular occurrence, but for a nation that currently holds a seat on the UN Security Council misleading that august body. 
“We will do it with laser precision, we know where it is coming from,” said Gasana, whose country is a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
He went on to say that Rwanda had conveyed a tough message to the other 14 Security Council members.
“We are asking them to get along … and to take their fight far from our border. We already warned the government of Kinshasa,” Gasana added.
Rwanda has deployed troops on the Congolese border, the envoy revealed.
What a fool. The world has been aware for some time of Rwandas deployments on the DR Congo / Rwanda border, what the idiot forgot is that the world is well aware of Rwandas behaviour in the eastern DR Congo and should Rwanda do something as stupid as invade they will be held to account. As a diplomat he should know the writing is on the wall, written in 6 foot high letters that spell words like " Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and acronyms like ICC ".
“If they dare to continue, it will hurt. We don’t need to increase anything. We have sufficient strength and we know how to deal with it.”
I suspect that you have yet to realise the world knows how to deal with you. I would have thought that Rwanda might have understood the message sent a few days ago by the Obama administration. However let me clarify it; Shut The Fuck Up, Stop Fucking Lying.  
The M23 rebels and several other armed groups are active in the eastern Congo and are fighting for control of the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including cell phones.
Since early May 2012, nearly three million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but about 500,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
Oh and lets not forget the millions who have died and continue to die, Rwanda will be held to account for this.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DR Congo: A target rich environment for the International Brigade

UN News Centre reports

DR Congo: UN mission chief deplores atrocities committed by armed group in eastern province

Special Representative and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) Martin Kobler. Photo MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani

26 October 2013 – Strongly condemning the “unimaginable atrocities” committed by the Mayi-Mayi Cheka armed group during a spate of recent attacks in which some 34 civilian were brutally killed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the top United Nations official in the country today warned against impunity for such acts and urged the group to immediately lay down its weapons.
That is a total waste of time. They will not lay down weapons and thus should now be added to the list of groups that will receive a bit of attention from the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade, although in all fairness to MONUSCO they probably already have been added. I guess their date with the Brigade death is now a scheduling issue.  
"These atrocities are unimaginable and are contradicting the values of humanity. This must have consequences. There cannot be impunity for such atrocious acts,” declared Martin Kobler, head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO.
The key to taking out these guys will be intelligence and that capability is going to be enhanced soon with the arrival of the first in a fleet of aerial surveillance drones. 

" KINSHASA - The first in a fleet of United Nations drones will begin monitoring rebel activity on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo next month, a UN commander said mid-this week.

General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, commander with the UN peacekeeping brigade in the country, said the unarmed drone would be airborne by the last week of November.

"The initial base to operate the aerial vehicle will be in Goma, and for five months we are going to increase the equipment," he said.
The brigade hopes to have surveillance 24 hours a day by "March or April", he added."

Hopefully there will have been a resolution to the M23 issue by the end of November.

In a press release issued this morning, the Mission and its chief strongly condemned multiple attacks over the past few weeks perpetrated by elements of the Mayi-Mayi Cheka armed group, in some instances jointly with Raïa Mutomboki combatants, in several villages of the territory of Masisi in the restive eastern Congolese province of North-Kivu.
According to MONUSCO, at least 34 civilians, including 20 children, were brutally killed by the Mayi-Mayi Cheka elements in the different attacks in the eastern region.
The Mai Mai Cheka's elimination along with other Mai Mai groups will send a message that Kinshasa is taking the security of the population of the Kivus region seriously, I am firmly of the opinion that along with the high tech drones smart weapons should also be made available to deal with armed groups operating in the eastern DR Congo. 
“I urge the Mayi-Mayi Cheka to immediately abandon weapons and to stop manipulating different ethnic groups for personal interest", said Mr. Kobler.
The Mission says that its investigations have helped to confirm extra-judicial mass executions of civilians, particularly children aged between 6 months and 17 years, “as well as other gross human rights violations which may constitute crimes under international law, including crimes against humanity, committed during these different attacks.”
Extrajudicial killings can of course cut both ways, when you commit atrocities on this scale I think that is a point worth remembering.  
In one example, MONUSCO notes that on 27 September, Mayi-Mayi Cheka elements, in collaboration with Raïa Mutomboki combatants, attacked Lwibo village, killing at least 16 people, including 14 children, and burning and destroying 185 houses.

DR Congo: M23 A vainglorious end?

Reuters reports

Rebels and Congo army clash; Rwanda says it was shelled

                                            FARDC soldier watches a MONUSCO helicopter taking off from Walikale

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo  | Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:55pm EDT
(Reuters) - Congo's M23 rebels clashed with government troops for the first time in nearly two months on Friday, and neighboring Rwanda said Congolese army shells had landed on its territory, raising tensions in the volatile region.
dealt with the issue of shells landing in Rwanda in my last blog, I would be loathed to ascribe blame to any party at this stage, the bottom line is that it would be counter productive for the Congolese Army FARDC to have done it but strong reasons exist for both M23 and the FDLR to have engaged in this gamesmanship. 
The fighting came after peace talks broke down in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Monday. It sent some 5,000 civilians fleeing across the border into Rwanda, a U.N. peacekeeping spokesman said. 
This was inevitable in my opinion regardless of what was happening in Kampala with the peace talks. It was never in the best interests of the DR Congo government to have a peace agreement with M23, success for the Kinshasa was always about no agreement being reached and the failure of the talks.   
General Sultani Makenga, M23's military commander, said the rebels came under attack at 4 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) at Kanyamohoro, around 15 km (10 miles) north of Goma, the largest city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We are going to defend our positions," Makenga told Reuters by telephone.
It is hard to take Makenga seriously from a military perspective, he is the clown who split M23 and caused Bosco Ntaganda to flee into the embrace of the ICC ( which was not a bad result from everyone's perspective excluding M23 ) and weakened the rebel movement to the point that it is now facing extinction. This guy does not strike me as a military genius and his decision to defend his positions may well be the final vainglorious act of his life. That is no great loss but it is very likely that M23 has many  "members "  who are involved through coercion allegedly including child soldiers.
Congolese army General Lucien Bahuma said M23 fighters had attacked first and fierce combat was continuing. The Congolese army was seeking to overrun rebel positions in Kibumba, just south of Kanyamohoro, officers said.
It is probably impossible to know who started this fight but if I was going to place a wager I would be betting it was the Congolese Army FARDC. That said the outcome may well not be as inevitable as I assume, Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa opines:
" The danger, as always, is that a unraveling of the talks could lead to another escalation on the ground. This time, if reports from within the UN peacekeeping mission are accurate, the Intervention Brigade may be willing to push further north against the M23, using military pressure to push the M23 and its allies toward a peace deal. Of course, that’s a risky gamble, as a failed offensive could humiliate the UN and embolden the M23 at the negotiation table." 
Voice of America reported today that the Intervention ( African ) Brigade has not at this stage had any involvement.
" Troops with the U.N. mission, known as MONUSCO, are reported to be standing by, ready to intervene if necessary. U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky says MONUSCO has carried out aerial reconnaissance of the area."
Intervene means supporting FARDC inline with UN Security Council Resolution 2098, that they have not felt any requirement to do so as yet suggests that FARDC have the situation in hand.
" The Security Council today approved the creation of its first-ever “offensive” combat force, intended to carry out targeted operations to “neutralize and disarm” the notorious 23 March Movement (M23), as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in strife-riven eastern Democratic Republic of Congo."
M23 and General Sultani Makenga of course have gone out of their way to piss the MONUSCO troops off   recently with some rather batshit crazy ideas like shooting at unarmed UN helicopters, I have few doubts as to is benefitting from the MONUSCO aerial reconnaissance efforts.
A Reuters reporter in Goma said fighting was intense and continuous on Friday as Congolese army troops bombarded rebel positions with heavy artillery and machinegun fire.
This blog has argued that the only sane option available to M23 is an unconditional surrender, with this development and the collapse of the Kampala talks Makenga's only honorable option is to pick up the phone and preserve the lives of his combatants. Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa has a more optimistic viewpoint on the future of the peace negotiations, one which I disagree with but I wouldn't bet against him being right. ( Incidently in which case you have wasted your time reading this as it will clearly  have become a load of bollocks ).  
" There is still hope for a deal, although the Congolese main negotiators will be in Kinshasa for some time now, with only a skeleton crew left in Kampala. The next step will probably be for regional powers to discuss the M23 at a joint ICGLR/SADC summit, to take place in South Africa in early November. "
Rwandan army spokesman Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita said Congo's army fired three shells and small arms into Rubavu district, just over the border near the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. Border security had been tightened.
As I have blogged previously this is very much still up in the air with regard to responsibility for the shelling and small arms fire.
"There are many Congolese crossing into Rwanda," Nzabamwita said, adding that a 58-year-old Congolese woman had been evacuated after being struck by a bullet.
Rwanda's U.N. Ambassador warned the 15-nation council on Friday during a closed-door meeting that Rwanda would not tolerate shelling of its territory and was in a position to respond militarily, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said.
I hope that should evidence come to light that FARDC is not responsible for the shelling via the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism that it is noted by the Security Council and appropriate military sanctions are imposed on Rwanda should it be proved once again to be the actions of M23.
" The accusations by the DRC government minister support claims from the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) officials that the Rwandan backed M23 Congolese rebels have fired rockets into Rwanda on Thursday August 22, 2013 ".
In late August, Rwanda accused Congolese troops of shelling its territory and the tensions between the two neighbors raised fears of a regional conflict.
South African and Tanzanian troops, part of a new 3,000-strong U.N. Intervention Brigade with a tough mandate to crush armed groups in eastern Congo, were present near the frontline but did not join the combat.
The United Nations mission in Congo (MONUSCO) asked a committee of military experts from the International Conference of the Great Lakes region - an 11-nation regional bloc - to investigate the reports of a shell landing in Kageyo in Rwanda.
"MONUSCO is on high alert and is closely monitoring the situation," Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for the U.N. secretary general, said in New York.
After the breakdown of the Kampala talks this week, the Congolese government said it had rejected the demands of the rebel movement for an amnesty for its leaders and its reintegration into the army.
M23 says it has no desire to rejoin the Congolese forces but is seeking an amnesty for its leadership.
In an address to congress on Wednesday, Congolese President Joseph Kabila threatened military force.
"The government will not continue to expose the lives of our compatriots to blind bombings and abuses of all kinds," he said. "(M23) is caught between the force of the army and a narrow political escape route."
It is the second time in three months that peace talks have faltered and combat has broken out.
In late August, government troops with the support of the U.N. Intervention Brigade forced M23 from positions just north of Goma.
M23 began as a mutiny by Congolese soldiers in early 2012. The rebels demand that the government fully implement the terms of a 2009 peace deal signed after a previous rebellion which was backed by Rwanda.

U.N. investigators have accused Rwanda of supporting M23, a charge that Kigali strenuously denies.
I think the best result that we can hope for is a M23 surrender and an end to the senseless bloodshed. I doubt M23 are viable going forward and that should be something Rwanda is taking into consideration.