Congo News 153


EDITORIAL: The need for a joint dialogue


a. The joint press release issued by the Congolese and Rwandan foreign affairs ministers

b. Statements made by Rwandan president Paul Kagame

c. The letter from the Congolese foreign affairs minister to the President of the Security Council







EDITORIAL: the Need for a joint dialogue

When we analyse the final press release from the meeting on 19 June between the Congolese and Rwandan foreign affairs ministers, and the letter written by the former on the same day to the President of the UN Security Council, both concerning the situation in Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), we immediately notice a big difference between the two documents, both in form and in content. The first, for example, emphasises the need to continue the fight against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other armed groups. The second, on the other hand, prioritises the need to rapidly quell the new uprising of the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23). This statement suggests that, during bilateral meetings between the DR Congo and Rwanda, it is always the Rwandans who impose the rules of the game and never the Congolese, who must instead continue to accept the diktats forced on them by their “partner”.   However, it seems that, recently, the UN and the international community have become ever more aware of the hegemony and domination unfairly exerted by the current Rwandan regime over the DR Congo.

This seems to be confirmed by the leaking of information about the latest United Nations expert group report on the current situation in Kivu, in the east of the country. The report presents the origins, composition and dynamics of a new armed group, the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), made up of soldiers who have deserted the national army to join general Bosco Ntaganda. The expert group claims to have proof that this group is militarily, logistically and financially supported by the Rwandan regime. Distinguished politicians and important figures in the Rwandan army could be implicated in the support provided by Rwanda to the M23. What was initially believed to be a simple mutiny within the Congolese army has now turned out to be an attack by Rwanda.

The report was made public by the Security Council on 21 June, but without the appendices concerning Rwanda’s involvement because of pressure exercised by the Rwandan regime on America, a permanent member of the Council.

However, as reported by Kinshasa’s daily newspaper La Prospérité, on 26 June, in the opinion of the Congolese people, “the permanent members of the UN Security Council must bring all their influence to bear so that the United Nations report on allegations of foreign support for the M23 is published and, once the responsibilities of certain neighbouring countries have been established, sanctions are taken against them.The Congolese people no longer want to content themselves with shallow “condemnations” couched in diplomatic language; they do nothing to deter this sort of complicity which, it must be remembered, has cost hundreds of thousands of Congolese lives in the east, giving survivors no option but to constantly wander in the wilderness and live like refugees in neighbouring countries, but also like people internally displaced in their own country. It’s too much”.  Faced with a new attempt to stifle the truth, in a healthy and legitimate spirit of nationalism, the Congolese government should speak up to demand, in front of the international community, respect for its national sovereignty from the Rwandan regime. It should throw off the yoke of its submission to Kigali’s power, at the risk of being accused of complicity and treason of the homeland. A joint dialogue is necessary.

Lastly, the Congolese government must demand that the Security Council and the international community:

Publish in full the report by the UN experts on the armed groups operating in the east of the country.

– Exercise strong pressure on the Rwandan regime to accept an inclusive inter-Rwandan dialogue (government and internal and external opposition) which could contribute to the democratisation of the country and to a more authentic process of national reconciliation. The conclusions of an inclusive inter-Rwandan dialogue could thus facilitate the return of Rwandan refugees and the majority of FDLR members still present in the DRC.

– Apply to the Rwandan regime the sanctions provided for by the Security Council for violations of the weapons embargo on armed groups active in the DRC.

– Demand that Rwanda immediately and unconditionally withdraws all its countrymen who could be hiding within the M23.

Supervise more closely Rwandan mineral exportation, which includes minerals of Congolese origin, in particular cassiterite and coltan, imported without a prior certification of origin and successively exported by Rwanda as a Rwandan product. If Rwanda wishes to invest in mineral exploitation in Kivu, it can do so through bilateral trade agreements with the government in Kinshasa, in accordance with international trade standards, respecting the DR Congo’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

– Reduce significantly, or even suspend, for an indefinite period of time, all international contributions to the Rwandan state budget, which still relies heavily on foreign aid.


a. The joint press release issued by the Congolese and Rwandan foreign affairs ministers

On 19 June, on a visit to Kinshasa, the Rwandan foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo held meetings with her Congolese counterpart Raymond Tshibanda, before being received by President Joseph Kabila. The meeting brought together the foreign ministers, the General Chiefs of the Defence Staff and those in charge of the security services in the two countries.

According to a joint press release,

The two delegations exchanged information on security problems in the region and examined the concerns raised by each party in relation to the situation in the east of the DRC.

After a frank and rewarding discussion, the two delegations reaffirmed their wish to continue to work together for peace, stability and development in the sub-region. They undertook to ensure that their respective territories would not be used as a base for destabilising either country.

They also agreed to operationalise the Joint Verification Commission, which is responsible in particular for investigating suspicions of foreign support to the rebels and other opportunistic elements.   

Similarly, the two parties reaffirmed the need to seek long-term solutions to the root causes of the current insecurity.

They also renewed their determination to continue efforts to completely destroy the terrorist group FDLR and all other armed groups running amok in the sub-region.

To that end, a consultation and evaluation meeting is planned on 28 June 2012 in Goma between defence ministers from the two countries, who will be accompanied by the General Chiefs of Staff of the FARDC and the RDF (the Congolese and Rwandan armed forces).  

Additionally, the two parties expressed a wish to continue and intensify the current collaboration by reinvigorating all existing bilateral consultation mechanisms.[1]

After the meeting with Joseph Kabila, the Rwandan foreign affairs minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, told the press that she is “officially in the DRC for a meeting of diplomatic and security institutions on Rwanda’s support in resolving the crisis in the east”. On this topic, she wished that opinion would distinguish between rumour and reality:

“Over the course of the last few weeks, there have been so many rumours, we can no longer cope. We are here to lend our support as a neighbouring country to the efforts for peace and pacification in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo”, she said. Louise Mushikiwabo hinted that her stay in Kinshasa was aimed at offering support to Rwanda in the resolution of the crisis in the east, in the form of mediation between the Congolese government and the rebels.

Refusing to be drawn on Kinshasa’s accusations of her country’s support to the rebels in Kivu, Louise Mushikiwabo said that “opinions should be educated and should take into account the fact that Rwanda has worked for a long term for peace in the Great Lakes region”.

“It is certainly a difficult situation”, she said, “but one that has been well managed by Presidents Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame”. For the Rwandan minister, following efforts made by the two countries, there is thus no longer any problem that would be impossible to resolve. The Rwandan minister also claimed that Presidents Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame are in regular contact about the security situation in the Great Lakes sub-region, maintaining that Rwanda has committed itself to helping the DRC as much as possible in its efforts to stabilise the east of their country.

For the Congolese Foreign Affairs minister, Raymond Tshibanda, the important thing was to have a frank exchange on the subject. “The most important thing for the DRC was that the Rwandan government knew what was worrying us”, he said.

Beyond diplomatic embraces, Kinshasa must not allow itself to be distracted by this official ritual and must, this time, loudly speak out against its destabilisation, and demand that the support offered to it by Rwanda should consist more in recalling its elements operating within the M23 than in reconciliation with the rebels. Kinshasa must seize this opportunity to demand that, following the departure of Rwandan troops from northern Kivu, the Congolese can at last resolve their problems amongst themselves, without foreign interference.[2]

b. Statements made by Rwandan president Paul Kagame

On 19 June, during a press conference in Kigali, Rwandan president Paul Kagame maintained Rwanda’s neutrality in the crisis in northern Kivu and accused the ”international community” of having sought to oust Congolese president Joseph Kabila from power.

Paul Kagame repeated this, angrily or ironically, in a myriad of ways: “Rwanda is not the cause of the problems in the Congo”, he said,before adding: “Congolese problems must be managed by the Congolese”. “Rwanda’s problem is the FDLR [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, editor’s note] who live in the east of the DRC », he stressed. “If you don’t want us to be part of the solution”, he concluded, “then forget it!” Clearly exasperated by Kinshasa’s indirect accusations and the UN mission in the DRC, the president persistently denied any support to the rebels in the east of the DRC.

Several times, the Rwandan president reaffirmed that the rebellion taking place in northern Kivu, the border region with Rwanda, was nothing to do with his country. Just as the arrest of Jean Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese general and former rebel chief wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), did not fall within his remit.

The Rwandan president also took a shot at MONUSCO (UN Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo), describing it as “expensive and useless”, as well as the “so-called international community”, accusing it of hypocrisy towards Congolese president Joseph Kabila.

Before the Congolese presidential elections last November, the international community “looked for a way to get rid of him, either with the election or by other means“, he claimed, suggesting that he had been questioned on the subject. “In the end, he was elected and, whatever the conditions of that election, they realised that they had to deal with it”.

“Then, they [the international community, editor’s note] came to see me to tell me that they wanted to arrest Ntganda but that they did not want to do it without Rwanda’s consent […] And now they hold us responsible for this situation !” Asked about the identity of these actors in the “international community”, he refused to be drawn on his accusations. “I have taken it as far as I can”, he said simply.[3]

c. The letter from the Congolese foreign affairs minister to the President of the Security Council

On 19 June, the Congolese government turned to the United Nations Security Council to clearly denounce Kigali’s involvement in the instability in northern Kivu. In a letter dated 14 June and sent to Mr Li Baodong, President of the United Nations Security Council, DRC Foreign Affairs minister, Raymond Tshibanda, revealed that “the consensus from various sources is that Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebels and that combatants are being recruited  in this neighbouring country”.

According to Minister Raymond Tshibanda, the conclusions of the joint investigations and mechanisms allow us to claim the following:

“1. Amongst the rebels are some 200 to 300 elements recruited on Rwandan territory by an active network in this neighbouring country;

2. several combatants recruited in this way are Rwandan nationals, who have  infiltrated the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They underwent brief training before being deployed on the front line against the FARDC;

3. amongst them are minors and people who are very young;

4. although the rebels had abandoned all their weapons (some 38 tonnes) when they fled, and these were recovered by the FARDC, we have seen a tenfold increase in their firepower since their arrival in the Runyonyi-Tshianzu-Mbuzi triangle on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

5. unnatural alliances have been formed. By way of example, the FDLR, some of whom had been repatriated to Rwanda by MONUSCO, rejoined rebel ranks, as evidenced by their capture on the front line.

Of what preceded this, it emerges that Rwandan territory was used to prepare for and carry out a conspiracy that, having started as a mere rebellion,  is evolving dangerously into a breach of the peace between two countries in the Great Lakes Region, undermining the progress made in this area since 2009″.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo also insistently demanded that the Security Council:

 “1) Condemn the new attempt at rebellion led by ex-elements of the CNDP, now renamed as the M23;

2) reaffirm the intangibility of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo;

3) condemn the atrocities and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including displacement, suffered by the Congolese population of the Kivu provinces and hold elements of the M23 accountable for them;

4) condemn the foreign support received by the M23 and hold those who provide it jointly responsible for all the reprehensible acts committed by this movement;

5) remind Rwanda of its international obligations and demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of members of its armed forces hiding in rebel ranks;

6) fulfil its responsibilities with regards to relevant measures in the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions, to put a stop to all foreign support to the rebels;

7) take all suitable measures to put a stop to the activity of all negative forces, including the FDLR, the CNDP and the M23”.[4]

On 21 June, asked what drove the Congolese government to refer the issue of Rwandan support for the new M23 uprising to the Security Council, while it had signed, in Kinshasa on the same day, a joint press release with the Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister, Lambert Mende,  a spokesman replied: “During the press conference hosted in Kigali on 19 June by Rwandan president Paul Kagame, things were said which were not always in keeping with his Foreign Affairs minister’s conclusions of the visit to Kinshasa. This contributed to a certain confusion which justified the Congolese government calling upon the Security Council to seek to re-establish peace and security in that part of the country”.

On the same occasion, Lambert Mende confirmed the existence of “a recruitment process for negative forces that destabilise Kivu from Rwanda” and repeated that “Rwanda should be held responsible for this recruitment process on its territory”.[5]

On 22 June, during a press conference held in Kinshasa, the Coordination of Civil Society in northern Kivu called on the government to keep a close eye on national unity and to avoid, by all means necessary, sanctioning the balkanisation of the DRC. This citizenship institution also asked the international community to “suspend all aid to Rwanda to force it to contribute to the stability of the sub-region and to choose a policy of good neighbourliness.

The Coordination of Civil Society in northern Kivu recommended that the government avoid tribalising the current armed conflict which is raging in this province, of which, in its opinion, “the causes are Rwandan”. At the same time, it recommended that the DRC seek and maintain good relations “through effective diplomacy” with Rwanda.

One of the recommendations is directed at national MPs, called on to constantly question the government about the security situation in Kivu. The Civil Society also asked the Congolese government to deal with soldiers fighting on the front line, and to accelerate reform of the army, police and security services. It also lambasted the impunity of certain people at the root of the instability in the east of the country.[6]


The organisation Human Rights Watch has accused Washington of blocking the publication of a UN report on the uprising of the M23, led by Bosco Ntaganda.

In the course of their investigation, the United Nations experts collected proof of Rwanda’s support to the rebels in the east of the DR Congo. The report also covers the non-respect of the UN embargo on supplying arms to the rebels. According to sources close to the expert group, the report contains detailed information on the delivery of arms to rebels from Rwanda. It would appear that General Ntaganda and his close collaborators come and go between the two countries, in violation of the sanctions imposed by the UN.

Human Rights Watch has accused Washington of having used its influence to prevent the publication of the report. “America and the other members of the Security Council”, claims HRW, “should do everything in its power to shine a light on the violations of sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not try to hide them”. For its part America denies blocking publication of the report.[7]

The DR Congo also, through its ambassador to the UN, Ileka Atoki, accused America of seeking to prevent publication of the UN report to protect Rwanda. This report contains an appendix of the accounts of Rwandan officials detailing their country’s support for certain armed groups (including the CNDP) and for the M23 rebels in both northern and southern Kivu. According to several sources, America sought, if not to block, then at least to delay this publication to protect Rwanda.[8]

Several observers question why, in New York, America opposes full publication of the report relating to Rwanda’s involvement in the current insecurity in the east of the DRC:

According to the deputy spokesman for the American mission at the UN, “America is not blocking the expert group report on the DRC. America asked lots of questions on this subject” during a meeting of the UN sanctions committee. “With the other members of the commission, we are carefully studying these conclusions and we will continue to discuss their implications once the report has been made public. America is carefully studying the information put forward by the experts, keeping in mind the council discussions on 26 June”, Payton Knopf hastened to explain in a press conference.[9]

This report is not expected to suffer the fate of the “Mapping Report” drawn up in 2010 by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which was full of proof of the pillaging of Congolese mineral resources and serious human rights infringements perpetrated by elements of the Rwandan army and rebel movements exploited by Rwanda. While Rwanda should be strongly condemned for having planned an authentic mining and human genocide on Congolese territory, the United Nations had to tone down the passages most damning to the regime in Kigali so as not to lose the benefit of the participation of Rwandan troops in the peacekeeping force in Darfur.  Should we give in to new blackmail on Kigali’s part?[10]

This opposition conveys the collusion between Washington and Kigali in the project of balkanisation of the DRC. The close relationship is easy to see, and it would not be an exaggeration to claim that it exposes those responsible and co-responsible for millions of Congolese deaths and displacements with the aim of breaking up the Congo and taking over several natural resources.

That Washington is now choosing to block the publication of a similar report makes us think that it might not be an outsider in the project of balkanisation of the Congo undertaken by the current regime in Kigali.

In the name of fighting the genocidal Hutu regime on the run in Congolese territory, driven by the international community, Kigali thinks it has the power to make incursions on Congolese territory and to behave as though the DRC were a conquered country.

After investigation and analysis, the reports ordered by the United Nations led to only one conclusion: the war in the east of the DRC is predatory in nature. Anglo-Saxon multinationals are specifically identified in these reports and have not been punished by their governments. The moment of truth has arrived for those really responsible for the humanitarian tragedy in the east of the DRC.[11]


According to notes taken during a meeting behind closed doors of the UN sanctions committee, seen by Reuters, the United Nations experts have proof that the Rwandan Defence Minister and two Rwandan officers are supporting the rebels of the M23 movement.

During the meeting of the UN sanctions committee on 13 June in New York, the UN investigators were said to have proof that Rwandan soldiers had infiltrated Congolese territory to reinforce the positions of the rebels, to whom they had provided logistic support, and had allowed rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda and his forces to return safely to Rwandan territory.

According to notes taken during this meeting, “the experts cited several high-ranking Rwandan leaders who are directly involved”. The Rwandans cited are Defence Minister James Kaberebe, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Charles Kayonga and General Jacques Nziza, military adviser to Paul Kagame. According to these notes, James Kaberebe is in “permanent contact with the M23”.[12]

The DR Congo is the victim of a new attack whose real sponsors are in Kigali, very possibly with the direct involvement of President Paul Kagame. The conclusions of the tripartite Kinshasa-Kigali-MONUSCO[13] report and that of the UN experts deployed in the east of the DR Congo and the west of Rwanda leave no room for doubt.

It all kicked off again on 1st April 2012 when Col Saddam and a handful of ex-CNDP fighters integrated within the FARDC following the March 2009 agreements defected. These first defections coincided with others in Goma, Beni, Rutshuru and Kiwanja in northern Kivu, as well as in Fizi, Kalehe and Uvira in southern Kivu. Oddly, these events are far from isolated. Their strange simultaneity drove the General Chief of Staff of the FARDC and the Congolese services to suspect the existence not only of a single, coordinated movement but also, and above all, a malign influence. The details strengthen this suspicion. The modus operandi is unique: defection followed by a mutiny. The actors are the same: ex-CNDP soldiers. Their leaders mostly come from the same community: Tutsi.

The insurgents act entirely on the orders of General Bosco Ntaganda! Since General Amuli, the commander of military operations in both northern and southern Kivu, stepped down following a plane accident, Ntanganda, his second-in-command, was left in sole charge. He took control of the troops, logistics and military administration. Since the ICC renewed its international arrest warrant, to which he has been subjected since August 2006, he has been able to organise the movement of a considerable stock of weapons around his farm and other places in the south. Simultaneously, Ntaganda organises secret meetings in Goma during which he asks for support and protection from his latest group of followers. It was on his instructions that the mutiny was launched on several fronts.

But Ntaganda was not alone! He has his superiors! There are numerous and powerful foreign supporters!

The Congolese military authorities claim to have proof of the purchase in Rwanda, and the transportation to the front line, in Kivu, of medicine by members of Ntaganda´s biological family. They are also in a position to prove that Colonel Ruzangiza, alias Sultani Makenga, and his 60 companions were helped by the Rwandan navy to cross the Ruzizi River at Bukavu and to reach Cyangungu. According to the testimony of three sources close to Ruzangisa, captured in Jomba by the FARDC, the authorities in Kigali gave them RDF uniforms, which they put on before returning to the DR Congo via the border at Kigali.

The Congolese military authorities also report the testimonies of the adjutant of the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF in English) Etienne Ntakirutimana who, according to his own statement some hours after his capture in Mbuzi, arrived in Runyonyi at the start of May to “prepare for the arrival of the rebels”. Ntakirutimana said that his group, initially made up of 80 men, received a reinforcement of 150 RDF soldiers on 9 June, claiming that these men came from the 305th Brigade of the RDF commanded by General Gashahiza. The latter sent a battalion led by ex-FAR Modeste on a special assignment to DR Congo.

From them on, the DR Congo asked for three strong signals from the international community: the publication of the report by the UN experts on the uprising and all its appendices, a strong public condemnation of Kagame and exemplary sanctions against Rwanda.[14]

According to the UN experts, it was General James Kabarebe personally who supervised the operations of the amorphous group known as M23 in the eastern part of the country, with the collaboration of the General Chief of the Defence Staff of the Rwandan army, Charles Kayonga, and General Jacques Nziza, military adviser to President Paul Kagame.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is thus facing not an uprising, as it seemed until now, but in fact an attack from Rwanda, led by Rwandan officers and soldiers with the approval of General Bosco Ntanganda´s CNDP, a Rwandan group already exposed as such by the International Criminal Court.

What is happening in northern Kivu is a response to the planned destabilisation of the institutions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the balkanisation of its territory. The mastermind of this Machiavellian plot is none other than neighbouring Rwanda.

The M23 (Movement of 23 March 2009) is a simple diversion by General Bosco Ntaganda, who makes people believe there is a new rebel movement in northern Kivu whilst, in reality, we are dealing with one and the same armed group that comes under the CNDP; in other words, the command of the aforementioned general himself, instructed by radio by his masters hidden in Kigali.

Previously, it was the RCD (Rally for Congolese Democracy) army who acted as an umbrella group for the Rwandan soldiers who had infiltrated the FARDC since the time of the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo). Now, this role is held by the CNDP (National Congress for the Defence of the People). Although we cite defections within the loyalist troops based in northern Kivu and even in southern Kivu, what is really happening is the return of Rwandan soldiers, who were posing as Congolese, to their own country.

The M23 label was invented to allow the infiltrated Rwandans, previously integrated within the FARDC and having been able to immediately follow Ntaganda in his flight towards Virunga Park, to justify their true-false defections and to provide cover, indirectly, for the reinforcements of men, weapons, munitions and money coming from Rwanda. In short, the CNDP and the M23 are six of one and half a dozen of the other.

What we can reveal, and what constitutes an extremely serious fact, is the discovery of the true identity of the man who was integrated within the national army under the identity of Sultani Makenga. This man, who pretended to be Congolese and who was, for a long time, a senior FARDC officer in southern Kivu, is a Rwandan national known under the identity of Ruzangiza. We have already noted that, throughout his stay in Bukavu, he was always closely surrounded by an estimated 60 strong guards, all Rwandan. Ruzangiza has now become Makenga, a name whose origins could make one think of a Katangan or a Kasai. Having remained in constant contact with Bosco Ntaganda, he left with his 60 guards for the “front” in northern Kivu, extracted on board a craft sent from Rwanda.

We also learn that the Rwandan soldiers captured by the FARDC and who claimed to have been recruited in Rwanda by a keeper of cows named Sibomana were in fact elements destined for the Rwandan general Gashahiza´s brigade, whose troops are particularly visible on the “front” at Runyoni.

After having been chased from Bosco Ntaganda´s farm in Mushaki by the FARDC and headed in the direction of Virunga Park, the Rwandan combatants who were with him had had to reach out to the FDLR commander, a certain Mandefu, who led them through tracks, mountains and valleys to allow them to flee to Rwanda, since they did not know the way back.  Mandefu is known as Bosco Ntaganda´s main mineral supplier (diamonds, gold, coltan, cassiterite) and is paid in cash but also weapons and munitions. Drawing on the FARDC’s stocks of weapons to satisfy the demands of the FDLR military chief was child’s play for this rebel general, since, at the time, he had full powers in his capacity as the number two of the “Amani leo” programme in northern Kivu. Paul Kagame and his lieutenants, who transformed the FDLR into a business, should explain to the Congolese how their soldiers, hunted by the FARDC, to save their skins, spoke to the commander of this armed group considered a constant threat to their region and their country.

We have also learned that the Rwandan authorities arranged to return to the DRC, either under the label of the FDLR or that of the CNDP (ex-Interhamwe militiamen demobilised and repatriated by the MONUC or MONUSCO). The targeted objective was to get rid of them, free of charge, by sending them back to Kivu, either to die on the “front”, to do dirty work in the DR Congo or to come to the aid of the mini-rebellions that occur at regular intervals. Thus, Rwanda’s attack on the DRC has just shown that the Rwandan rebel movement assumed to be anti-Kagame, the FDLR, is led with authority by James Kabarebe, the Rwandan defence minister.

The Congolese must, now more than ever, be vigilant to save the Congo, currently in grave danger of being destabilised by Rwanda.[15]


On 21 June, the UN experts presented their report on the situation in the DR Congo. As predicted, the part concerning foreign support for the M23 uprising was not made public, but the document abounds in information and details.

Stripped of its appendix concerning foreign aid to the M23 rebels, the controversial United Nations experts´ report concerning the situation in the DR Congo was made public that same day, 21st June. There is therefore no trace of preuves dont disposeraient les experts de l’ONU sur the alleged support of three of the highest-ranking Rwandan defence ministers for the uprising . The origins and composition of the M23 and the consequences of the uprising are, however, detailed in the report.

What are the origins of the uprising?

Tutsi general Bosco Ntaganda´s fear of imminent arrest, like those of several ex-CNDP commanders, and of “losing the privileges attached to his roles and deployments”, are the main driving forces behind the uprising, the report explains. Taking advantage of the international pressure surrounding Ntaganda´s case, Kinshasa wanted to “weaken the parallel chains of command held within the FARDC by ex-CNDP soldiers since the 2009 agreement […] and put an end to the preferential treatment of former CNDP officers in Kivu”, the document adds. A series of reforms and redeployments was envisaged and was explained to officers during a seminar organised in March. This comes after the exposé of the envisaged reforms sparked by the first uprising in southern Kivu by Bosco Ntaganda.

The report claims that if Colonel Makenga “played a more discreet role at the start of the uprising, […]”, he quickly rejoined General Ntaganda before May and the creation of the M23. According to the FARDC and former CNDP officers, “as well as assuming command of the uprising in southern Kivu, Colonel Makenga had also come to the aid of the rebels in northern Kivu”.

And to clarify the overlapping of the two uprisings: “According to former CNDP officers, Colonel Makenga, while seeking to clearly differentiate it from the problems linked to the arrest warrant for General Ntaganda, had orchestrated the uprising to force the government to give up on the redeployment of CNDP officers to other provinces and to keep them in command posts in the army. Colonel Makenga was worried about the transfer of power within the CNDP if General Ntaganda was isolated, and he was afraid that the government would install Colonel Gahizi as the head of the former armed group”.

What support and funding have been provided for the uprising?

The report cites contacts between the M23 and the former CNDP commander, General Laurent Nkunda, currently under house arrest in Kigali. “Political leaders in northern Kivu and former CNDP officers said that General Ntaganda had encouraged the leaders of the CNDP in Kivu to abandon their posts and rejoin the M23″, the report says.

The rebels had financed their operations with the pay of several units and other sums allocated to the army, by robbing several banks and by taxing civilians and merchandise.

Has the M23 been accused of enrolling child soldiers?

“The group confirms that the commanders of the M23 in northern Kivu recruited numerous children as messengers and combatants in April and May 2012″. The report cites several testimonies of young people forcefully enrolled by the rebels.

What are the consequences of the uprising for the FDLR?

According to the UN report, “due to the suspension of operations directed against them”, the FDLR has taken advantage of the uprising to retake certain positions “cleared by the FARDC”, which they had lost at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, following actions taken jointly by MONUSCO and the Congolese army.[16]

On 25 June, Rwanda formally denied in front of the UN the DRC´s accusations, according to which Kigali is supporting the rebels in the east of the country. The Rwandan foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo spoke of a “war of words” designed to make Rwanda the scapegoat for the problems in the DRC.

The Rwandan foreign affairs minister came to the UN to denounce a campaign of misinformation. Rwanda, she says, is not supporting any armed group in the east of the DRC and denies the presence of Rwandan soldiers alongside the M23 rebels.

Louise Mushikiwabo claims: “On both sides of the border, it is impossible to tell who is Rwandan and who is not.There are people who speak the same language. Finding people who speak the language of Rwanda in this part of the Congo is completely normal”. A war of words, says Louise Mushikiwabo, which leads to acts of violence: “Certain media organisations close to the Congolese government talk about hunting Rwandans and killing Tutsis.This reminds us of the rhetoric of 1994 before the genocide and Rwanda is keeping a very close eye on these kinds of statements”.

As it does very well, Rwanda is today seeking to convince the United Nations Security Council of its innocence all the crimes it has committed and continues to commit in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It hopes to settle the dispute by deploying its favourite argument; that of genocide which, since 1994, is used every time anyone denounces its crimes in the DR Congo.[17]

On 27 June, in a press release, the Rwandan foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo claimed that it is “deeply regrettable” that the “media frenzy” about Rwanda’s alleged involvement in the uprising occurring in the east of the DRC has led to the publication of a United Nations interim report on the subject. “It is a partial, preliminary document, based on partial conclusions and it has yet to be verified”, she added.

We intend to supply factual evidence that the accusations against Rwanda are false”, the minister said, expressing hope that the Rwandan denials will appear in the final UN report, expected by November.[18]


On 25 June, the European Union (EU) Council of Foreign Affairs met in Luxembourg and adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The EU is following with concern the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The EU condemns the uprising and the resumption of fighting in the province of northern Kivu. It calls on all countries in the region to actively cooperate with the Congolese authorities with the aim of demobilising the M23 and all other armed groups. The Union is worried by recent information on foreign support to rebels in contravention of the sanctions regime of the United Nations Security Council. It calls for a detailed investigation based on credible evidence.

2. The EU orders partners in the region, particularly the DRC and Rwanda, to continue with dialogue in order to put an end as quickly as possible to the violence and to establish a long-term political solution”.[19]

On 25 June, commenting on the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, said: “The government in the United Kingdom is increasingly concerned by the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly by the allegations of foreign support to the M23 rebels. The United Kingdom therefore affirms, loud and clear, that no foreign government should support the M23 or any other armed group”.[20]

On 26 June, the Congolese foreign affairs minister, Raymond Tshibanda, met the Belgian foreign affairs minister, Didier Reynders, in Brussels. Talking about Rwandan support for the M23 uprising, the Belgian minister was said to have sent “vey clear messages” to Kigali on the fact that the rebels should not benefit from any external help and that Rwanda should be “part of the solution and not the problem”. Because, he continues, “Rwanda needs to prioritise dialogue with Kinshasa and demonstrate with proof that it does not support the rebels”. Dider Reynders wants this desire for dialogue to prevail between the DR Congo and Rwanda in order to permanently solve the problems of the uprising in northern Kivu.[21]

[2] Cf La Référence Plus – Kinshasa, 20.06.’12; Le Phare – Kinshasa, 20.06.’12

[3] Cf Pierre Boisselet, Jeune Afrique – Kigali, 19.06.12 ; RFI, 20.06.’12; and also Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 21.06.’12 : Paul Kagame´s support for armed groups rebelling against the regime in Kinshasa, which has long been covered up or suppressed, has finally been exposed. Abandoned by the international community because of his confirmed support for rebel groups that sow insecurity in the east of the RDC, Paul Kagame refuses to give up. The strongman of Kigali would like to continue his hegemonic adventure solo. And in order to do so, he denies everything outright and goes on a charm offensive in Kinshasa, stating that the international community tried in 2011 to oust Joseph Kabila from power.

[5] Cf Radio Okapi, 22.06.’12

[6] Cf Radio Okapi, 23.06.’12

[9] Cf Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 25.06.’12

[10] Cf Kimp – Le Phare – Kinshasa, 26.06.’12

[11] Cf Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 25.06.’12

[13] The three parties wrote and approved the report on 9 June. But the Rwandan delegation curiously skipped the signing ceremony planned for 10 June at MONUSCO´s headquarters in Goma. In a mundane phone call from Gisenyi, the Rwandans intimated that they had received orders to return to Kigali. MONUSCO´s delegates and those from Kinshasa did, however, take care to sign a statement of deficiency –by fax- which they sent to the Security Council in New York, with the attendance list drawn up and signed on 9 June by the three parties.

[17] Cf Karim LebhourRFI – New York, 26.06.’12; Le Potentiel – Kinshasa, 27.06.’12

[18] Cf AFP – Kigali, 27.06.’12

[21] Cf Forum des As – Kinshasa, 28.06.’12


This English article has been translated by Kelly Wood for the initiative PerMondo. PerMondo offers NGOs to help to diffuse their message through free translation of documents, articles, flyers, websites and so on. Project managed by the translation agency Mondo Agit.