When Lambert Mende declared to the BBC that the Hutu refugees at CAMP Bauma in Kisangani have no right to demand anything to the Government, he also suggested that they were all murderers and rapists who have outstayed their welcome on Congolese soil, adding that he did not even know how and when they got there. What Mr. Mende forgot to mention in his incendiary hate filled statement is that the majority of the refugees in all three transit camps in DRC, Kanyabayonga, Walungu and Kisangani are women and children whose sole crime is being hutus refugees in Congo and being related to former freedom fighters who laid down their weapons trusting the UN, SADC and the Governement of the DRC were sincere and serious in their promises to these freedom fighters, that these institutions will help resolve the security situation in their homeland of Rwanda in a peaceful way. Instead for the last three years both the UN and the DRC government have used all kinds of psychological and physical torture like tactics especially starvation, to force them into a country where they risk certain death.
A couple of years ago when some Congolese soldiers stormed the Kisangani transit camp and roughed up men and abused some women sexually, their taunts to these innocent victims echoed Mende’s diatribe. At the time the Congolese soldiers who were sadly doing this in front of UN so called blue helmets told these refugees, that being hutus from Rwanda meant that no one in the world cares about them, even if their were to be killed. This is exactly the sentiment Mr Mende echoed which now makes it clear to all who care to listen that all the abuses that are taking place now and those that took place before were then as now being ordered from on high. The indifference the UN has shown especially in the last two months confirms the suspicion from some observers that the UN was in on all these atrocities from the get go.
The idea that the UN would use food to lure Hutu refugees to their death is not a new one it was used in the late 1990’s when the RPF slaughtered almost half a million hutus in the jungles of Congo, a fact which is ironically documented in the same UN’s Mapping report.
It is appalling that to this day the UN and the Government of Congo are still bent on sending more hutu refugees to their deaths especially women and children just because they still believe that torturing or killing hutu refugees carries no consequence. It is imperative at this point that SADC which was the primary guarantor of the process through which these refugees ended up in the hands of the Governement of Congo takes a stand for what is right, which is to assist these refugees, especially the most vulnerable of them, women and children, and making sure that the ex freedom fighters who put their trust in a peace process that seems to have been a trap are protected from any further abuse by the both the Governement of Congo and the United Nations. Any thing short of this will lead to disastrous consequences for both the region and the continent as a whole. It is also imperative for human rights organizations to investigate any leaders in both the UN and the Government of Congo who took part in the torture of women and children for political purposes because the victims and their families deserves better and they have rights contrary to what Lambert Mende believes.