The FDU-Inkingi, a Rwandan opposition party to the RPF regime, is concerned about the renewed violence in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The FDU-Inkingi remains in solidarity with the Congolese people and expresses its deep sympathy to the brother people for all the violence suffered since 1996, the date of the outbreak of the First Congo War by the AFDL and its first supporter, the Rwandan Patriotic Army, which has since become RDF (Rwandese Defense Forces).
The FDU-Inkingi notes that the reasons put forward by the Rwandan regime are false pretexts to justify an aggression, an interference and a plundering that have lasted too long to the prejudice of the Congolese people.
The FDU-Inkingi also expresses its deep gratitude to the Congolese people for their legendary hospitality, especially towards the Rwandan people during the cycles of violence that Rwanda experienced, especially in 1959 and 1994, when nearly two million Rwandan refugees poured onto Congolese soil. This hospitality of the Congolese people deserves our recognition instead of the aggression of which the Congolese are victims today.
The situation on the ground in the East of the DRC.
For several weeks, fighting has been raging between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 rebels, invigorated by a massive presence of elements of the Rwandese Defense Forces (RDF), the army of the RPF that has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist since 1994. In recent days, the M23-RDF coalition has conquered the localities of Rutshuru and Kiwanja, causing havoc among the civilian population and the Rwandan refugees that the RPF soldiers have been used to hunting down like game since the first Congo war of 1996. It should be remembered that during this war, acts of genocide were committed against these Rwandan Hutu refugees as well as the indigenous Congolese population that had taken them in, as revealed in the Mapping Exercise 2010 report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. All eyes are currently on the town of Goma, which could be the next theatre of fighting and its consequences of suffering and refugees.
The M23 is a proxy movement of the Rwandan regime, created to fight a proxy war.
The March 23 Movement (M23), created by former CNDP members of the notorious General Laurent Nkunda (who is still vacationing in Rwanda despite Kinshasa’s demands for his extradition to stand trial in Congo) was defeated in 2013, following the military pressure from the Congolese Army (FARDC) and the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) on the one hand, and the pressure from the US government on Rwanda to stop supporting the rebel group on the other, after several investigations revealed that the group had been trained and supported by Rwanda. Another General, famous for his crimes as leader of the UPC/FPLC in Ituri, Bosco Ntaganda, also a former CNDP member, has been convicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Some of his former comrades in crime still form the backbone of the M23 today.
In 2022, a new UN report confirms the links between Rwanda and the M23. US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MENDEZ said that Rwanda’s support for rebels attacking civilians, UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) and the FARDC in eastern DRC is unacceptable and called on the Bureau of African Affairs to “immediately investigate and hold accountable those responsible”.
The RPF regime, which supports the M23, can no longer hide from this, as it went to the peace talks in Luanda and Nairobi as the spokesperson for the M23 movement’s demands.
The reasons put forward by the Rwandan regime are false pretexts to justify an aggression, an interference and a plundering that have lasted too long to the detriment of the Congolese people.
What does really push the RPF regime and its army to repeatedly attack a brother country with which we share a lot and which has always been available to meet Rwanda’s security needs?
Rwanda has not been attacked. The Rwandan authorities claim the defence of the Rwandan-speaking populations of Kivu and the tracking down of the Rwandan rebels of the FDLR.
The pretext concerning the Rwandophones does not stand up when it is well analysed, because the DRC is a conglomerate of more than 500 different ethnic groups, and none of them has problems like those expressed by Rwanda with regard to the Rwandophones of Kivu. Moreover, as these populations are Congolese, why should Rwanda feel concerned by the problems of the populations of a third country?
These Rwandophone populations have representatives within the Congolese institutions and their different demands can be settled through dialogue by the Congolese authorities and government without the need for Rwandan interference.
Concerning the FDLR, several military operations (Umoja Wetu, Sokola 1&2,…) have been jointly conducted by the Congolese and Rwandan armies since 2010 and these rebels have been seriously destroyed so that the few survivors do not constitute a real danger to Rwanda’s security. On the other hand, there are reliable reports of rebels repatriated to Rwanda as a result of various agreements and military operations between the DRC and Rwanda who are recycled and sent back to the DRC by the Rwandan government to serve as justification for these endless operations of the Rwandan army. When General James Kabarebe became Chief of Staff of the DRC army in Kinshasa, he was not hunting the FDLR!
From the above, the FDU-Inkingi conclude that the reasons put forward by the Rwandan government are pretexts. Various reports by international experts have instead pinpointed the Rwandan regime’s appetite for Congolese minerals, especially those used in new technologies, of which Rwanda, which does not have any in its subsoil, has curiously become one of the main exporters.
While pursuing the objective of looting Congolese minerals, the Rwandan army takes advantage of the opportunity to assassinate Rwandan Hutu refugees who survived the previous massacres of 1996 to 2003 or the massacres committed by the subsequent rebellions. At the same time, the RPF army is targeting the Congolese population living near the mineral exploitation areas it wants to control or who are blamed for having hosted Rwandan Hutu refugees.
The FDU-Inkingi condemn the aggression of the Rwandan regime and call for a political solution through inter-Rwandan dialogue.
The FDU-Inkingi therefore calls on the international community, in particular the United Nations, the European Union, the East African Community (EAC), the Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) as well as Rwanda’s main donors (USA, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands,… ) to exert real pressure on the Rwandan regime, and even to take severe sanctions like those taken against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, until it definitively stops supporting the M23 Movement. This will lead to the pure and simple disappearance of its military branch and its violence.
The FDU-Inkingi notes that the Congolese political authorities have always been willing to engage in discussions with their nationals to resolve political problems. On the other hand, the FDU-Inkingi note that the Rwandan authorities remain obtuse and become aggressive when negotiations with their political opponents are suggested.
The Rwandan government should apply to itself the same advice it wants to give to the Congolese government, namely to discuss with its political and military opponents in order to definitively resolve the political problems that cause insecurity in the region. Indeed, the closure of the political space and the absence of democracy in Rwanda are the main causes of insecurity in the whole region.
The FDU-Inkingi demand that the protection of vulnerable populations be a priority and that justice put an end to impunity.
Finally, the FDU-Inkingi ask the Congolese government and the international community, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as MONUSCO, to pay close attention to the refugee population (which was estimated by a UNHCR report at nearly 250,000 souls) and to the internally displaced persons (IDPs), given the atrocities committed by the RPF army in the past during its various military campaigns and armed incursions into the DRC.
Finally, the FDU-Inkingi recall that the crimes committed in the past and listed in the Mapping Exercise Report of 2010 have gone unpunished and that this encourages criminals of all kinds. The FDU-Inkingi believe that it is time for this report to be followed up with appropriate legal action; that is also the request of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Denis MUKWEGE.
It is through justice and the eradication of impunity that the plundering of Congolese resources and the killing of innocent people will cease, that peace can be restored, that national and international laws will be respected and that people will be able to live and cohabit in peace and in sustainable development.
Done in Paris, on 03 November 2022
Dr MWISENEZA Emmanuel
First ViceChairman of FDU-Inkingi