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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
FARDC advanced to attack us (...) we must defend ourselves,” M23
military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Vianney Kazarama, told AFP
He said the rebels would counter-attack “in self-defence”.
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
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”.
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.
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to 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:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library