GOMA, Congo (AP) — Ibrahim Nsanzimana says he can no longer return to his home in Rwanda for fear of death. The 28-year-old recounted the tortured history of his Rwandan family’s entanglement with neighboring Congo, and his latest recruitment by Rwanda to fight in eastern Congo.
When the bitter memories and bleak prospects for his future confronted him, his eyes glazed and a tear ran down his cheek.
“They’ll kill me,” he said bluntly, referring to Rwandan officials and their vigorous denials that he is among many men trained in Rwanda and brought to Congo to fight alongside the M23 rebel movement. Out of work and desperate to make a living, he said he agreed to join the Rwandan army in early July.
“Our area chief called a youth meeting, I think it was July 1, and there were about 300 of us young men at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali (Rwanda’s capital). Military police in red berets told us we were all going to become soldiers, and they promised us a salary” equivalent to $60 a month, he said.
They were crowded into five Rwandan Defense Forces trucks and driven at night to Gaviro military camp, home to Rwanda’s School of Infantry near the border with Uganda, where they spent a week learning how to shoot with AK-47 assault rifles.
“Only then did they tell us that we had come here to fight to take North Kivu province (of eastern Congo) and to make it part of Rwanda,” Nsanzimana said. He said the announcement came from Rwandan army Capt. Francois Mugabo. Read more