General Stanislas Nzeyimana aka General Deogratias Bigaruka Izabayo was abducted by Rwandan Department of Military Intelligence (DMI) operatives in the middle of last week.
He was captured in Kigoma, Tanzania on his way back to Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He had been in Tanzania since late February 2013.
A Guest of the military leaders of the Republic of Tanzania.
General Stanislas Nizeyimana travelled to Tanzania in late February 2013 at the invitation of the commission of the Tanzanian Military in charge of deploying the United Nations Special Brigade to the Eastern DRC. The deployement of the brigade to be mainly composed by troops from the Southern African Development Community countries (SADC) has been in preparation since late 2012. The deployment was requested by the countries of the Region in Addis Ababa on February 24, 2013 under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region, known as “PSC Framework.”(see our article: UN Special Envoy in Great Lake: Will Rwandan President Kagame Seize the Opportunity of March 7, 2013) The Intervention Brigade, to operate under MONUSCO, was formally approved by the United Nations Security Council on March 28, 2013. According to the UN Security Resolution, the Intervention Brigade has the mission to combat Rwandan Government supported M23 Congolese rebels, Rwandan rebels of the FDLR-FOCA, and Congolese Mai-Mai groups. Contrary to the UN Resolution, the Southern African Development Community leaders, especially Tanzanian, South African, and Zimbabwean military want to focus solely on M23 Rebels, supported, funded and armed by the Rwandan government.
Hence, before the deployment, the Tanzania military invited the FDLR-FOCA leadership to Dar-Es-Salaam to discuss how the military operations against M23 rebels by the Intervention Brigade could be conducted without a confrontation with FDLR-FOCA.
Initially FDLR-FOCA hesitated about sending a top Commander, but with the assurances from the Tanzanian military, General Nzeyimana, who had strong connections with Tanzanian military leaders when he was an FDLR liaison officer in Kigoma in early 2000s, volunteered. The meeting between General Nzeyimana and the Tanzanian Military officers in Dar-es-Salaam ended on February 28, 2013.
Western Europe Non-Government Organizations (NGO) in the mix
When Western NGOs that have been working on Eastern DRC and are close to FDLR-FOCA learned of the trip of General Nzeyimana to Tanzania, they also organized to meet with him while in Dar-Es-Salaam. The meeting between General Nzeyimana and the NGOs was held on March 1, 2013. Among the discussions were how dependents of FDLR-FOCA, especially children and elderly, could be removed from the combat zones to cities or other identified safe zones, where NGOs could care for them. An agreement between the NGOs and the FDLR-FOCA was signed. After the meeting, the NGOs and General Nzeyimana separated. NGOs staff returned to the West and General Nzeyimana planned to return to Eastern DRC via Kigoma. That is where the drama started.
Tanzanian Security Services hold General Nizeyimana in a Safe House
Before returning to Eastern DRC, General Nzeyimana paid visits to friend among Rwandan refugees based in Dar-es-Salaam. On March 3, 2013, while leaving Dar-es-Salaam to Kigoma, General Nzeyimana was arrested by Tanzania Security Services operatives. According to sources close to Tanzanian Security Services, the operatives were acting on a tip, independently from the Tanzanian Military. They believed that General Nzeyimana, then using the war name of General Bigaruka Izabayo , was actually General Mudacumura, the FDLR-FOCA Commander who is sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and whose arrest would generate a $5 million dollars windfall promised by the United States Government. The operatives held General Nzeyimana in a safe house and contacted the FDLR-FOCA High Command in DRC. They ordered FDLR-FOCA to pay $4 million dollars to have General Nzeyimana released. According to the sources close to the Tanzania Security Forces, FDLR-FOCA High Command said they cannot afford that kind of money and instead contacted the Tanzanian Military to complain. The Tanzanian Military contacted the Tanzanian Security Services, telling them the person held in the safe house was not General Mudacumura. Upon verification, the Tanzanian Security Services confirmed that it was General Nzeyimana, who instead is on the list of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee and United States Travel Ban, and hence not allowed to travel across states. The Tanzania Security Services asked that the FDLR-FOCA pay a fine of US $1 million to the Tanzanian Security Services. The FDLR-FOCA High Command once again refused to pay the money.
Rwandan Department of Military Intelligence buy General Nzeyimana.
When FDLR refused to pay $1 million dollars, the Tanzania Security Services contacted the Rwandan military attache at the Rwandan Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, Lt Colonel Tinka, and asked them to pay $3 million dollars in exchange of General Nzeyimana. Whether the Rwandan Military attache paid the three million dollars remains unknown. What is known is that last week, after a month in the safe house General Nizeyimana was told by the Tanzanian Security Services that he was free of movement and let go. He left Dar-es-Salaam and arrived in Kigoma the same day. As soon as he arrived in Kogoma and was ready to cross the border into DRC, he was surrounded by both Lt Colonel Tinka and Rwandan operatives who were awaiting for him there and led to an unknown destination. He has not been seen since.
FDLR-FOCA put on a brave face
Sources within FDLR-FOCA have acknowledged the situation to AfroAmerica Network and confirmed the accounts from AfroAmerica Network’s other surces. Asked where General Nzeyimana may be, FDLR-FOCA sources said that probably in a torture house in Rwanda and probably will be killed. Asked why he may be killed instead of imprisoned, the FDLR-FOCA sources said that because General Nzeyimana had travelled to Tanzania with the invitation from the Tanzanian Military, he could not be held in Rwandan official prisons, unless there is “a strange” explanation how he ended up there.
Asked about the impact of General Nzeyimana’s capture on FDLR-FOCA, the sources said that it is a severe, but not a fatal blow.
“Look, our struggle rests on a cause, not on individuals. We survived the defection of General Rwarakabije, the assassination of General Mugaragu and Colonel Sadiki. We will survive this and more. At the end we believe in our cause and the cause, not the individuals, will win.”