Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DR Congo: Rwanda's Kagame orchestrates a human tragedy.

Last week Alex Engwete blogged on the fate of the " Congolese refugees "  returning to the North Kivu province. 

 (Rwandans deported from Tanzania crossing into Rwanda with their cattle on Sunday, September 8, 2013. Photo Alex Engwete).

Thousands of people claiming to be Congolese refugees poured from Rwanda into North-Kivu Province in massive successive waves that started September 28.

The bulk of these "illegal refugees" are squatting at derelict leprosy hospital facilities in the hamlet of Chengerero, in the M23-controlled Rutshuru territory.

Hundreds of other "returnee families" coming from Rwanda have settled in neighboring hamlet of Kibumba in the neighboring administrative territory of Nyiragongo.

At his weekly presser of Wednesday, October 2, DRC Communications Minister Lambert Mende denounced this strange repatriation of "refugees" without prior notification to the Congolese government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

New claims have again arisen this week suggesting these " Congolese refugees " are actually those " illegal immigrants " deported from Tanzania and forcibly repatriated to Rwanda it almost seems to batshit crazy to be true but we are of course talking about Rwanda and nothing is too bat shit crazy. Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa blogs.

" For several weeks, there has been a steady movement of Congolese refugees into the Kibumba area north of Goma, the southern edge of M23 territory. According to several UN sources, there may be up to 3,000 such returnees in this area, mostly Congolese Tutsi who fled the country, some as long ago as 1994, and were living in refugee camps in Rwanda.

Another group of around 100-200 families then arrived on 30 September further north, in Jomba. According to some sources, these families may be Rwandans who were expelled from Tanzania weeks ago."

Then we have the following eyewitness account. ( translated by Google )

"According to information we received from the natives, are Rwandan refugees who came from Tanzania and settled in the camp Chengerero leper ," said he, an activist for the rights of Man who went up on Monday. " We were afraid to be identified because the military M23 were all around the camp " and prevented contact with these families has he added , under the guise of anonymity.

Now remember that all this is happening while the Kampala peace talks farce plays out in Uganda between the Congolese government and M23. Should this be confirmed and I have no doubt it will be, then once again we have Rwanda playing a duplicitous game. 

Whilst I have great sympathy for the displaced of Tanzania and think this behaviour on the part of the Tanzanian Government should be met with international condemnation and possible sanctions aimed at the  Tanzanian leadership for what it is clearly a human rights violation I am astounded yet again by the cynicism of the Kagame regime. By doing this Rwanda has provided M23 with a human shield of sorts and at the same time sent innocent people into what will quite probably soon be a war zone. For this Kagame should be held to account at the ICC. 

The people who have been forced to settle in the North Kivu region over the past few weeks should be relocated  to a place of safety quickly. MONUSCO and the International ( African ) Brigade should engage M23 decisively as soon as practically possible and smart weapon technology should be made available to them. 

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