Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

RWANDA-DRC:DR Congo’s rebels in Rwandan army uniforms killed in clashes

Reported first in The Guardian
THE degree of Rwanda’s involvement in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DR Congo) current crisis raises more questions Thursday as six rebels wearing Kigali’s army uniforms died in clashes between the M23 rebel group and Kinshasa’s government troops in the country’s war-torn east.
Fighting between the two broke out early yesterday near the eastern city of Goma, in what a rebel statement said was a breach of an already shaky ceasefire.
DR Congo government forces (FARDC) found “six bodies of the attackers who were wearing Rwandan army uniforms at the scene”, government spokesman, Lambert Mende, told the media.
The actual toll could not be immediately confirmed by military officials or rebel sources, Agence France Presse (AFP) stated.
The UN has accused neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda of backing the rebels, but both countries deny this.
The world body said Wednesday that armed groups in DR Congo’s east slaughtered more than 200 people, including scores of children between April and September, hacking some to death and burning others alive.
Meanwhile, over 750,000 people are faced with food insecurity in Equateur Province of the DR Congo, Xinhua quoted Medard Lobota who is in charge of associate humanitarian affairs at the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.
Lobota, who released the latest statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), spoke in Kinshasa on Wednesday during the weekly media conference of the UN Mission for Stabilisation of Congo (MONUSCO).
“Equateur province has always been confronted with chronic food insecurity because of being enclosed and absence of social infrastructures,” Lobota said while also adding that the situation has been worsened by the problem of repatriation of the Congolese and the presence of refugees from the Central African Republic.
Lobota said that based on analysis across the national territory, over six million people have been identified to be living in a food crisis situation.
“FAO’s analysis is based on the indicators of food security which include consumption of food by households, the development of living conditions, the nutritional state of children aged between 5 to 59 months and mortality rate,” he said.
Meanwhile, following a United Nations’ (UN) report, the European Union (EU) had suspended new aid to Rwanda following allegations that the country is backing rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The report by experts of the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee alleged Rwandan support for M23 rebels, who launched an uprising in April. The DR Congo government also accuses its neighbour of involvement.
However, a rebel statement yesterday said that the DR Congo army launched several offensives against M23 positions in the Rugari area, about 30 kilometres from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, not far from the Rwandan border.
“The FARDC advanced to attack us (...) we must defend ourselves,” M23 military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Vianney Kazarama, told AFP yesterday morning.
He said the rebels would counter-attack “in self-defence”.
The M23 statement on the outbreak of fresh clashes reached AFP early yesterday but in a later statement in the early afternoon, the rebels said that the clashes began at 7:00 am (0500 GMT). The army said they started at 8:00 am.
“We did not attack them,” the army’s spokesman for North Kivu, Lieutenant Colonel Olivier Hamuli, told AFP. “We know that they have been reinforcing their positions for more than two weeks.”
Hamuli said fighting stopped in the afternoon but that the army was keeping up a search in the area. However, the M 23 spokesman insisted that “the enemy continues to bomb our positions”.
Hamuli said “a small group attacked us from Rwanda” as the Congolese army was involved in a separate push targeting rebels between Rugari and Kibumba which borders Rwanda.
Asked whether he could identify the small group he said: “How are we supposed to know who’s who if the M 23 and the Rwandan army are wearing the same uniform?”.
The M23, which has dubbed its armed wing the Congolese Revolutionary Army, was launched by former fighters in an ethnic Tutsi rebel group that was integrated into the military under a 2009 peace deal whose terms the mutineers claim were never fully implemented.
Rights groups accuse the M23 of human rights abuses and of unleashing a fresh cycle of violence by the region’s complex web of armed groups.

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