M23 Militia Regrouping in Uganda, Recruiting in Rwanda

By Ann Garrison

KPFA EVENING NEWS, 02.01.2014The M23 militia is regrouping again, in Uganda, and recruiting again, in Rwanda, according to the final 2013 report of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


KPFA EVENING NEWS ANCHOR: Last November, citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, especially those of its Kivu Provinces bordering Rwanda and Uganda, celebrated the Congolese army’s defeat of the M23 militia with the help of UN troops.  M23 militiamen were widely reported to have fled into Rwanda and Uganda and to have QUOTE UNQUOTE “surrendered” in Uganda, even though many years of UN Experts’ reports have identified Uganda and Rwanda as the primary aggressors in DRC.  The final 2013 UN Exports Report on DRC reported evidence that the M23 militia is regrouping and recruiting once again, in Uganda and Rwanda.  Uganda and Rwanda deny the claim, as they always do.  KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

The Telegraph used this Reuters photograph on January 20, 2009, beneath the headline Rwandan troops enter DR Congo to hunt Hutu militias. Four years later the Voice of America used the same photograph beneath the headline US Sanctions Five Nations [including Rwanda] Over Child Soldiers. KPFA/ANN GARRISON: The report that M23 militiamen had “surrendered” in Uganda was as credible as a report that Confederate soldiers had fled South and surrendered to Confederate General Robert E. Lee in 1865, at the end of the American Civil War.  Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s role as the presiding negotiator a so-called peace talks in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, was equally implausible, because sixteen years of UN Experts reports, and those of Human Rights Watch and Global Witness, have identified Uganda and Rwanda as aggressors in the DRC. However, when Russ Feingold, UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, spoke to the re-emergence of M23 and the presence of other armed groups in eastern DRC, he did not name Uganda as an aggressor, though he did name Rwanda.
FEINGOLD: No country in the region should be supporting any of these illegal armed groups. We’ve made that very clear to Rwanda because we have seen credible reporting of support for Rwanda for the M23, and we’ve made it clear all over, every opportunity we’ve had, here, when we’ve talked to them in New York, but also directly in Rwanda, that that is something that cannot be tolerated. The same goes though for any support for the FDLR, by any other group, or of a group called the ADF. So no country in the region should be supporting these armed groups and we’ve been consistent in that message to all the countries involved.

KPFA/ANN: The Pentagon has military infrastructure including bases, planes, air strips, and intelligence gathering technology in Uganda, which U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Russ Feingold did not mention that the U.S. supported Rwanda’s collaboration with the CNDP, which in 2012 became M23, to hunt Hutu militias in operations that began on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day. the U.S. established a military partnership with in 1986, by backing General Yoweri Museveni’s forces in the Ugandan Bush War.  The U.S. also backed Rwandan President Paul Kagame in his four year war to seize power in Rwanda, then forged a military partnership with Rwanda as well.

Last week 850 Rwandan troops were airlifted to the Central African Republic to support the UN Mission, where a French force of 1600 will soon be joined by 500 more troops from the European Union.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.