Congo News n. 167


Editorial: A minimum of cooperation would suffice.

1. Renewed fighting between the FARDC and M23 rebels

a. Renewed hostilities

b. The fall of the city of Goma

2. Statements from the international community

3. International conference on the Great Lakes Region

4. The full UN report

5. Civil Society proposals


EDITORIAL: Minimal cooperation would suffice


An outcome with no surprises.


The capital of North Kivu, Goma, a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has fallen into the hands of the March 23 Movement (M23), which is supported by the armed forces of its two neighbouring countries, Rwanda and Uganda. This bitterly concludes a series of infiltrations, internal collaborations and betrayals. In addition, and more importantly, it is the result of an international policy beholden to the economic interests of a western system based on ruthless capitalism. In a time of deep recession it tries to survive on the corpses of a population whose land is rich in the minerals essential for current technologies.

The fall of Goma is no surprise. For 16 years, since the start of the AFDL war in 1996, Kivu has been subjected to Rwandan and Ugandan influence and intervention, to such an extent that it regularly came under attack and invasion leading to millions of deaths, displaced persons, refugees, looting and rape.



Like three monkeys


The international community has always been indifferent and passive to the suffering of the Congolese people, more concerned with funding the construction of luxury hotels and lavish buildings in Kigali, Rwanda and protecting offices to export looted minerals to Kivu and market them to Kigali as genuine products. Kigali has become a platform for an international mafia-type business in Kivu of the minerals cassiterite, colton and gold extract. The west has given Kigali the dirty job of procuring minerals from Kivu at the most hideous price, after tax evasion at the Congolese border. This is why, although the west is aware of the crimes committed by the Rwandan regime in the east of the Congo, they pretend to know nothing, see nothing and hear nothing.

This is what has happened at the UN Security Council. Maintaining that they have no clear and definitive evidence of Rwanda’s involvement in the Kivu conflict, the United States refused to include the names of Rwandan officers on the list of people targeted by the sanctions, as recommended by the UN ‘s DRC experts.



Let no-one say “ I didn’t know”

However, the final report by UN experts, adopted by the Security Council and officially published on the 21st November, has confirmed allegations relating to Rwanda’s role in the armed conflict in the east of the DRC: direct military support of M23 rebels, recruitment assistance, FARDC desertion assistance, provision of arms and ammunition, information and policy advice. The chain of includes Bosco Ntaganda and dates back to the Rwandan Defence minister, General James Kararebe.

The international community cannot allow itself to put this report to one side or be discarded as has happened with previous UN and international human rights organisations’ reports. It cannot continue to act as if this report was non-existent and say, “We didn’t know”. Now it knows that the much-vaunted economic development of Kigali, Singapore and Africa is based on contraband minerals from Kivu, at the shameful cost of many innocent Congolese victims.


Urgent commitment

The international community must therefore review its policy regarding Rwanda as a matter of urgency. It cannot tolerate collaboration with a criminal and murderous regime. The publication last June of the first part of this report lead to several countries in the international community taking some tentative steps regarding Rwanda. Now however, these measures can no longer be just isolated symbolic gestures. The current situation needs firmer action against those countries, in particular Rwanda, which contribute to the instability in the DRC. Eurac, the European network of charities for central Africa, is therefore requesting the UN and the African Union to:

• Strongly condemn Rwandan and Ugandan support of the M23 and demand that these two countries condemn and end all support for this rebellion.

• End EU financial aid for Rwanda, and thus respect the Cotonou agreement relating to the criteria for respect for human rights and democracy as the conditions necessary for budgetary aid to be allocated.

• Encourage member states to cease military cooperation with Rwanda and adjust budgetary aid in line with the fact that the Rwandan government has supported a rebellion in the neighbouring country of the DRC.

• Ask the UN sanctions committee to consider targeted sanctions against these senior Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese officials (such as General James Kabarebe), who have played an active role in the destabilisation of the eastern DRC and who are either directly or indirectly responsible for crimes committed against civilian populations.


For other civil society organisations to propose even tougher sanctions:

 Impose an arms embargo on Rwanda

 Suspend import of Rwandan exported minerals

 Cancel the nomination of Rwanda as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The route of tougher sanctions costs nothing and is probably more effective than numerous military operations. It just requires a minimum of commitment.


1. Renewed fighting between the FARDC and M23 rebels

a. Renewal of hostilities

On the 15th November, hostilities began again between the DRC armed forces and M23 rebels in the area surrounding Kibumba 30 km (19 miles) to the north of Goma (Northern Kivu). This fighting followed a truce period of almost three months in the region. The current president of the Great Lake conference, Ugandan President Musaveni, who in his country, in Kampala, manages secret indirect negotiations between Kinshasa delegates and the M23. negotiated this informal truce.

The warring sides both blame each other for the start of the hostilities.

“The FARDC (DRC Armed Forces) advanced with the purpose of attacking us (…) we have been forced to defend ourselves” declared lieutenant colonel Vianney Kazarama, military spokesman for the M23, announcing a fight back classified as self-defence.

The army has denied this version of events. Spokesman for the 8th military region, Colonel Olivier Hamuli, accused M23 rebels of attacking FARDC positions in the east of Kibumba from 8 o’clock in the morning. “We didn’t attack them. This is an excuse. We had known they were in the process of reinforcing their positions for more than two weeks”, he stated.

In Goma, a city of 300,000 inhabitants, schools were closed at midday. “ People are living in fear,” confided Omar Kavota, spokesman for the NGO federation for the Civil Society of North Kivu. After Thursday’s attack, 12 or so kilometres (7 miles) from Goma, “ we observed an influx of displaced persons heading for the Kanyarucinya camp”, added Mr. Kavota.

“For us, it is in the Kabindi area that the rebels have positioned themselves. They loot inhabitants’ potatoes goats for food. They threaten to kill us if we don’t leave”, reported a resident of the region. Five civilians arrived at the Kanyarucinya camp’s health centre for displaced persons, near to Goma, saying that in Kibuma M23 rebels were targeting shooting at civilians homes. “In Kibumba we were trapped in our homes when M23 rebels attacked. The FARDC chased them into the bush. So then the rebels started to shoot at houses and a bullet wounded me. When the FARDC gained control, we were able to flee to Kanyarutchina where I first received treatment”, explained one survivor from Kibumba.

At the beginning of the evening, Lambert Mende , government spokesman in Kinshasa, announced that amongst the ranks of the rebel movement 51 people were dead and 3 injured as a result of the fighting and confirmed the presence of Rwandan soldiers on the front line. “ 51 bodies wearing the Rwandan army uniform have been assembled”. However, no figures were provided with regards to the number of victims from regular army ranks. In this announcement Lamber Mende once more denounced the role played by Rwanda and called upon the international community to implement real sanctions against this country’s regime. According to a spokesman for the regular army in Goma, Lieutenant Colonel Olivier Hamuli was killed.

Then also that evening, the governor of the province of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, referred to the death of “113 rebels dressed in Rwandan uniform”. However, provincial authorities described the total death toll as being less than150 of their opponents. Lieutenant Vianney Kazarama, military spokesman for the M23, denied any casualties and claimed only 9 enemy soldiers were killed.

On the 16th November, Major Didier Makelele Kasekeka, spokesman for the armed branch of the M23, confirmed that M23 units were now heading towards the city of Goma. “As a response to yesterday’s events, we have been marching towards Goma since this morning. We will reach Goma at some point between now and Monday. We are determined to remove the government from Goma.” But the head of the M23’s armed branch communication department, lieutenant colonel Vianney Kazarama, denied this. “We don’t want to take Goma. We are defending ourselves against FARDC attacks and hope that negotiations with Congolese authorities will begin soon”

Christophe Beau, responsible for the protection of refugees and displaced persons for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed that throughout the day, 1,500 families arrived at the Kanyarucinya camp, making a total of 7000 individuals. “Hundreds of displaced people arrived with their children, their farm animals, their sheep and some personal belongings”, recounted an anonymous camp employee.

Early on the morning of the 17th November, fighting restarted between the FARDC and M23 rebels in Kibumba, a town situated around 30 km (19 miles) to the north of Goma. Olivier Amuli, spokesperson for the FARDC, confirmed that the M23 has once more attacked government positions. MONUSCO supported the army with helicopter gunships.

Omar Kavotha, spokesperson for the Civil Society of North Kivu, confirmed that M23 rebel forces recently received reinforcements from Rwanda. “We learnt that more than three Mercedes Benz lorries, full of Rwandan troops, crossed the border again last Friday between 2 and 3 pm, travelling through Ndjermia in the Rubavu district and so coming from Rwanda. But all through Friday night up until Saturday further Rwandan troops continued to arrive”, he added.

According to statements made by displaced persons who came from Kibumba, during the afternoon, the M23 took control of two groups from Kibumba and Buhumba, in Nyirangongo territory.

Julien Paluku, governor for North Kivu, stated that the Congolese army was withdrawing from Kibumba because thousands of Rwandan soldiers, around 3500 soldiers who have crossed the border, are in fact supporting the rebels.

M23 spokesperson Vianney Kazarama stated that for the moment the rebels do not wish to continue fighting towards Goma, only to be attacked by the FARDC. “M23’s revolutionaries control Kibumba territory. We ask President Kabila to come to the negotiating table so that we can find a political compromise. If the FARDC carry out further attacks against our forces, we will retaliate and force them out of the city of Goma.”

In the evening, Lambert Mende, spokesperson for the government, stated that in support of the M23, “4000 motorised convoys and foot soldiers arrived from Rwanda”. According to the report from an emergency ministers’ council in Kinshasa, this concerns “three RDF battalions (the Rwandan Defence Force, Rwandan army) led by an officer, the general of the Rwandan Ruvusha brigade and two RDF special units, one of which is a heavy artillery unit lead by Rwandan general Gatama Kashumba”. There is “not one RDF soldier (Rwandan Defence force, the Rwandan army) in the DRC”, Joseph Nzambamwita, spokesman for the Rwandan army, promised.


In the morning of the 18th November, fighting broke out again on the front line in Kabati , situated 17 km (11 miles) from Goma. According to the Congolese army, M23 rebels had launched a new attack from Kayanja, as part of the Kabati group, after a peaceful night. Soldiers from the regular army left Kabati. Lieutenant colonel Vianney Kazarama, military spokesman for the M23, “warned” the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), indicating that they should end their support for the regular army by fighting and threatening retaliation. M23 rebels continued to advance towards Goma whilst claiming that they did not intend to take the region’s capital.

Finally, UN helicopter operations began with the aim of protecting airport approaches. M23 rebels ended their advance on Munighi, about 3 km (2 miles) from Goma airport, so almost 10 km (6 miles) from Goma city centre, but they threatened to “take the city” if they came under attack. Colonel Innocent Kayina, M23 military official, indicated that he had set up his headquarters at (the top of) Munigi camp, the main UN camp at the Goma exit, manned by a South African battalion.

According to the vice-governor for North Kivu, Feller Lutaichirwa, military authorities decided to withdraw in order to “avoid a bloodbath” in Goma.

The people of Goma, North Kivu, were overwhelmed by panic, as fighting neared the city. Roads in Goma city were deserted. Road traffic and public transport was not running. Petrol stations, shops and supermarkets were closed. The few faithful who went to church were forced to turn back. Hundreds of government soldiers came back from the frontline on foot, on motorbike or in jeeps. Many displaced people also arrived in Goma carrying mattresses and their personal belongings on their head or back, exhausted after walking for several hours. The regular army put tanks in all the city’s strategic locations, in particular along the road, which leads to Goma’s international airport.


In a press release published during the night of the 18th November, M23 rebels demanded the Congolese government cease hostilities and agree to direct negotiation within 24 hours. Specifically, these negotiations must involve the Congolese opposition and the civil society as well as the diaspora. In particular they demand that all officers retain their positions and reject any “shuffling” that Kinshasa may with to impose on them, which would lessen their influence in the DRC. They also demand the demilitarisaion of the city of Goma and its airport ,which is controlled by the MONUSCO-supported loyalist army, and also the reopening of the Bunagana border. If these demands are not met, the M23 states its determination to continue resistance against the government of Kinshasa until its fall.

Later on 18th November, Vital Kamerhe, president of the UNC (Union for the Congolese nation), of the opposition, indicated to the Congolese government that “it is time to silence arms and to discuss with the rebels ways of preventing history from repeating itself”. In a press conference on the security situation in the east of the DRC, Vital Kamhere said that he believed that” the army is being infiltrated”, Congolese soldiers are going to die on the front line for nothing”. He added. “It is of no help whatsoever that they want us to believe that all those who try to stop the city from falling will be imprisoned. They need to choose the lesser of two evils. There is no shame in negotiating”.

For his part, government spokesman Lambert Mende confirmed that the DRC government “will not negotiate” with the M23 rebels. According to him, “these are fictitious forces set up by Rwanda to spread its criminal activity into the DRC and to escape international sanctions. We would prefer to negotiate with Rwanda, the true aggressor in the context of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region”. He did, however. admit that bilateral cooperation was becoming difficult.

On the 19th November, there was a period of peace onthe frontline at Munigi, 10 km (6 miles) to the north of the city of Goma. Both DRC armed forces and M23 rebels maintained their own positions, separated by only around 1 km (0.6 miles). In Goma, schools, supermarkets and shops remained closed. There was little traffic other than a few FARDC patrols. At some crossroads UN light armoured vehicles were visible. The road, which leads to the north of the city and surrounds the airport, was also deserted. The displaced persons from the Kanyaruchinya camp to the north of Goma headed towards the Mungunga camp to the south of the city, which currently houses more than 90 thousand displaced persons. Some of these people spent the night on the roadside. Others were taken in by host families in makeshift huts. Those who arrived in Mugunga said they had nothing and were in particular need of food and water.

Clashes between rebels and the Congolese army restarted in the afternoon. Rebels fired several mortar shells in the direction of the airport held by the Congolese republican guard and the military camp of Katindo. M23 Chief of Staff, General Sultani Makenga, described the recently resumed fighting as “inevitable” due to the refusal of the Congolese army to withdraw from Goma. At the end of the afternoon, General Joseph Nzabamwita, spokesman for the Rwandan army, accused the Congolese army of “deliberately“ bombing Rwanda with a tank and mortar shells. The Congolese army denies giving orders to fire. “No orders to shoot at Rwanda had been given,” claimed Olivier Hamuli, spokesman for the Congolese army in Goma. Without ruling out the possibility of accidental fire, he announced that the matter was being investigated and concluded, “If this is an isolated act, it involves only one individual”.

c. The fall of Goma

In the afternoon of the 20th November M23 rebels took control of the strategic airport in Goma, which until now had been defended by members of the Republican Guard supported by MONUSCO. After several clashes, the FARDC left the town and headed for Sake, 27 km (17 miles) further away. Half way through the day, a column of rebels entered Goma and headed for the centre of the town and towards the Rwandan border which was very close. In neighbourhoods, Goma residents confirmed that M23 rebels asked them to continue their work as normal. Some of them didn’t hide their disappointment. They said they felt betrayed by the government. M23 rebels then took control of the two border controls with the neighouring Rwandan town of Gisenyi.

In the afternoon, after having taken control of the city, Colonel Vianney Kazarama, spokesman for the M23 rebel movement, launched an appeal on Goma’s local radio asking for the surrender of soldiers and policemen who were stationed in the town. He asked them to report to the Goma football stadium at 8 am (7 am GMT) so that they could be registered and identified. He also asked the people to “keep calm” and to carry on as usual with their jobs.

According to some information sources, M23 rebels committed serious violations of human rights: they injured civilians, abducted women and children, destroyed property and intimidated journalists and those who tried to stand up to them.

Although at the start of the afternoon the city was deserted, later on it started to get busier even though there were no motorcycle taxis. By the end of the afternoon, activity in Goma was gradually resuming but shops all remained closed.

In an address to the nation from Kinshasa, Congolese president, Joseph Kabila, asked the people and all institutions in the country to join together “against the attacks of which the DRC is a victim, particularly in Goma”. “The DRC is faced with a difficult situation,” stated the head of state, adding, “ When war is forced upon you, you are obliged to resist”. Moreover, he announced that the DRC ambassador to Rwanda had already been recalled for consultation in Kinshasa several weeks ago.

Members of the provincial government of North Kivu left Bukavu, the headquarters of provincial institutions, where they had taken refuge after the M23 takeover of Goma. A source close to the government indicated that the provincial ministers were established in Beni, from where they expected to continue governing the province. Feller Lutahichirwa, Vice-Governor of North Kivu, announced that legal institutions and military command of North Kivu have also been relocated to Beni. “This measure shall remain in force until state authority is restored in Goma” he confirmed. Julien Paluku, governor of North Kivu, said he feared M23 rebels would carry out “selective assassinations”, indicating that some sources had reported that “M23’s Sultani Makenga’s soldiers had visited the homes of some of the most powerful people in Kinshasa”.


On the 21st November, inhabitants of Goma gradually resumed their business. No gunshot fire was heard throughout the night. People travelled freely and public taxi and motorcycle taxis reappeared. However, many shops remained closed. There was no sign of any UN patrols in the city. MONUSCO bases were sealed off and guards were present in the watchtowers.


On the 21st November, the M23 asked FARDC soldiers and police officers still present in the town to get involved in the rebellion. “Their government would pay 50 dollars for one soldier whilst an MP would get 4,500 dollars. You must join us because we are campaigning for the wellbeing of soldiers,” appealed M23 military spokesman to policemen and soldiers in the stadium.

“We will not stop at Goma, we will carry on to Bukavu, Kisangani and Kinshasa to “free” the whole of the country”, declared, Colonel Vianney Kazarama, at the city stadium. He then made a speech attacking the Congolese government. He asked for “the support” of the people of Goma to allow his campaign to “drive Kabila” from power. “Kabila must stand down because he did not win last year’s elections”, he added, alluding to accusations of fraud made by Kabila’s opposition at the presidential elections in 2011.

More than 750,000 Congolese people have fled their homes and villages since clashes began in April, leading to a serious humanitarian crisis in the east of the DRC. Faced with the advance of the M23, thousands of displaced people left refugee camps to the north of Goma, seeking refuge in either the city or in other refugee camps.

More than fifty-five thousand new refugees arrived at the Mugunga 3 camp, in the south of Goma. This was in addition to sixty thousand refugees from the Kanyarushinya camp who came to Mugunga 3 after the M23 rebels’ occupation of the districts to the north of Goma. The president of the Muguna camp, Charlie Amunazo, describes an extremely worrying situation. “For the moment, these refugees are exposed to difficult weather conditions and have not eaten since they arrived. With no water, no medicines, the overstretched and exhausted manager of the clinic has left”, he tells us, with deep regret that the sick are not being treated. “Imagine the disastrous situation we could find ourselves in”, he complained, fearing the spread of cholera and dysentery. “This risk is more serious than the war,” he warned. The head of OCHA in North Kivu accepted that the situation is catastrophic



In a statement on the 17th November, Philippe Lalliot, spokesman for France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appealed for an “immediate ceasefire and asked all countries in the region to abstain/refrain from any involvement in DRC domestic affairs”.

On the subject of setting up an urgent meeting as requested by France, the UN Security Council strongly condemned the recurrence of attacks carried out by the M23 and asked for their advance towards Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, to be stopped and said that “all foreign support and any provision of equipment/supplies to M23 must stop immediately”. The Security Council also announced its intention to implement additional sanctions targeted against M23 leaders as well as all those who violate the current arms embargo. In particular, rebels have the use of night vision equipment, which allows them to launch attacks on Kibumba , 25 km (15 miles) from Goma. They have recently also acquired 120mm heavy mortar shells.


On the 18th November, in a press release, Catherine Ashton, representative of European diplomacy, “asked M23 rebels for an immediate ceasefire in Goma”, adding that “any support for M23, through violation of the sanctions regime and arms embargo, must cease”. Saying that she was very worried about the humanitarian consequences of the new outbreak of violence, she indicated “all parties must allow full access to humanitarian aid for those who need it”. The head of European diplomacy emphasized that “the EU is particularly worried in terms of the exit of more than 70,000 displaced persons who have begun to leave the Kanyaruchinya camp, situated to the north of the city”. The EU representative for foreign policy “also called on all parties, including neighbouring countries, to take all necessary measures to avoid any additional deterioration of the situation and to prevent further conflict”.


On the 19th November, at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Brussels, the EU demanded an immediate ceasefire from the M23 rebellion and expressed its “grave concerns” regarding the growing humanitarian crisis in North Kivu with insurgents now at the outskirts of Goma. governing capital of the city.


“The EU repeats its condemnation of the M23 rebel group and other armed groups in the region and demands an immediate end to all violence, including sexual violence, human rights violations and recruitment of child soldiers. The EU strongly condemns steps taken by M23 to create a parallel administration (to that in Kinshasa) in the areas that it controls.” According to the text, “attempts to undermine the security, sovereignty and territorial of the DRC cannot be tolerated”.

The EU also says that it is ”aware” of a report by UN experts which accuses Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the M23, in particular with weapons, a violation of the UN embargo, and expresses its “profound concern” in the light of these reports at continued foreign support to rebel groups in the east of the DRC.

Without specifically mentioning Rwanda or Uganda, nor explicitly referring to the possibility of sanctions against these two countries, European ministers appeal to all those involved to bring an immediate end to this support and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC.

On the 19th November, at the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, Dr Knosazana Dlamini Zuma, President of the AU, strongly condemned the military attack carried out by the M23 in the Goma area and asked for the group to bring an unconditional end to this immediately. She reiterated the necessity for the full cooperation of all parties involved in the ongoing efforts with the full support of the AU.


On the 19th November, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, appealed to the Ugandan president Yoweri Museven as he had previously to Rwandan president Paul Kagame, asking him to exert any influence he had on the M23.


On the 20th November, accused by Kinshasa and the UN of supporting the M23, Rwanda accepted the fall of the city and asked the Congolese government to negotiate with rebels. Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwandan minster for foreign affairs, who denies any Kigali support for the M23, appealed to the Congolese government for a “political discussion “directly with the rebels, negotiations which the rebels had already demanded but have until now been refused by Kinshasa. “What happened today in Goma clearly demonstrates that the military path has failed and that political discussion is the only option”, confirmed the Rwandan minister.


On the evening of the 20th November, the UN Security Council voted unanimously for a resolution proposed by France, which condemns the M23’s, capture of Goma. This resolution also appeals for sanctions through freezing of bank accounts and a travel ban for Innocent Kaina and Baudouin Ngaruye, the two rebel leaders.

The council demanded the rebels’ immediate withdrawal from Goma and also an “immediate end” to all foreign support for the M23, without specifically naming Rwanda and Uganda. Both deny any involvement.

The resolution asks Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General, to name countries, which support the M23 in the next few days.

The resolution does not include sanctions against Rwanda as had been anticipated. The United Stares actually refuses to put Rwandan officials on the sanction list as recommended by a panel of experts on the DRC. Diplomats argued that the UN does not have clear and formal evidence of Rwandan involvement.

However, a report by independent UN experts clearly accuses Rwandan officials of “providing strategic advice and logistic support” to the rebels and of “playing a key role in support for M23 political activities”. According to a UN senior official, there is widespread evidence of Rwanda’s role: new weapons, night vision equipment, new English-speaking recruits and most notably new tactics which allowed them to take MONUSCO (the UN contingent) and Congolese soldiers by surprise. According to another UN official, M23 troops have doubled to 3000 over the last month. They have used sophisticated machine guns to fire at and shoot down a MONUSCO attack helicopter (without causing injuries).

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticises the United Sates for not having wanted to name Rwandan officials in the resolution. The United Sates has simply condemned the “violation of the DRC’s sovereignty” and appealed to Rwanda to exercise its influence.

“If the Security Council truly wants to protect Goma’s civilians, it must send a much clearer message to Kigali. We are surprised by the United States’ unexplained silence on this matter despite their influence on Rwanda. On behalf of Goma’s civilian population, Washington must support immediate sanctions against foreign support for M23”, declared HRW official, Philippe Bolopion.

On the 21st November, at the end of a UN closed meeting in New York, the French UN ambassador confirmed that the Security Council had summoned M23 rebels to withdraw from Goma and to resume their position before violating the truce which had been observed with the FARDC since last summer (in Bunagana, Rutchuru territory.) The American ambassador in Kinshasa made the same appeal.

On the 22nd November, British Prime Minister David Cameron appealed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, urging him to “put pressure” on M23 rebels to withdraw from Goma. “David Cameron clearly indicated that the international community could not ignore the evidence of Rwandan links with the M23 and that President Kagame must demonstrate that the Rwandan government had no link with the M23,” added the British prime minister’s spokesman. David Cameron also appealed to Joseph Kabila, president of the DRC, who he “encouraged to work closely with Rwanda and Uganda to implement the agreement” jointly signed on the 21st November.

On the 23rd November, EU representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, requested the “immediate end” of the M23 rebellion attack and demanded its withdrawal from Goma. Mrs. Ashton ‘encouraged all parties involved to work in good faith, in order to quickly implement the agreement which was made on the 21st November in Kampala”. “The EU in close coordination with the UN and other international partners is ready to support the region in its efforts, in terms of contributing to a sustainable solution to the crisis”, insisted Mrs. Ashton.


3. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

On the 21st November, at a meeting in Kampala, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, Rwandan president Paul Kagame and Congolese president Joseph Kabila “demanded M23 rebels to immediately end their attack and to withdraw from Goma”.

“With this goal in mind, we are in the process of transferring an action plan to them”, the M23 and NDLR joint statement indicated, also revealing that “the Congolese government has made a commitment to urgently research the causes of the disorder (to the east of the region) and to rectify this as best they could”. Avoiding however any specific arrangements for these coming discussions, President Joseph Kabila emphasised that “any new steps or contracts between the government and the M23 will be based on the devaluation report of the 2009 agreement published by the International Conference on the Great Lakes region”. This small step towards negotiations with the M23 should focus only on military matters, raised during discussion with the M23. There is a closed-door policy on more general political negotiation with all political and social stakeholders, as was demanded today by the M23 and many other Congolese parties.

According to the same statement, Presidents Museveni and Kagame clearly stated that “even if there are legitimate demands by the rebel group known as M23, they cannot accept a continuation of this war or the idea of overthrowing the legitimate government of the DRC or undermining its authority”.

According to some sources, President Kabila could envisage negotiations with the M23 and would have been ready to consider their demands, such as the memorandum, until it was dismissed by the Congolese head of state (which would be on the Kampala agenda).

But without the participation of the main parties and M23 leaders. To believe some sources, Jean Marie Runiga and his friends are demanding ministerial posts; the reinstatement of M23 officers who have recently been demoted from their positions and dismissed from the FARDC; to be kept stationed in North Kivu; the reality of the elections; respect for human rights and democracy, etc.


On the 22nd November, M23 president Jean-Marie Runiga stated that the M23 demands a discussion with the Congolese president, Joseph Kabila, before they will withdraw from Goma. “We need to come to the table with the civil society, the diaspora, the opposition and the government so that we can discuss all the problems of the Congolese. There are problems and demands which are specific to the M23, but there are also the problems of democracy in the DRC, governance and social problems, and problems relating to human rights.“, said Mr Runiga Lugerro, who added, “the attacks will continue until negotiations begin”. He then left for Kampala to meet with the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, at the request of the latter.


According to Säid Abbas Ahamed, lecturer in negotiation and geopolitics at the Rouen Business School, “the official demands made by the M23 are not a reason to go to war. They are simply a means of deceiving people. In reality, the M23 will ask the government to once more protect Bosco Ntaganda, as he was protected by the Congo between 2009 and 2011. They will also demand a guarantee for their soldiers that if they return to their ranks, they will not be deployed elsewhere in the Congo but can stay in their hometowns. Finally, they will demand the ability to be involved in the affairs of North Kivu province and also at a national level by playing a greater role in the military and in the decision making processes.”




On the 15th November, a leaked version of the final report by a group of DRC experts appeared informally on the Internet. It confirms the Rwandan attack on the DRC. This final report has been created taking into account the letter from the Rwandan government. This hasn’t, however, lead to a revision of the conclusions because the sections created by Kigali do not constitute “satisfactory evidence”.



The final version of the UN experts’ report, which is already available, confirms that there is evidence of Rwandan support for the M23. This means that Rwanda is breaking the arms embargo. There is evidence that Rwandan officers have provided military aid and have reinforced this by doing it permanently. This theory on the Rwandan attack on the DRC is supported by the fact that it is a rebellion of Congolese against their government, to the detriment of Rwanda.

Even the notorious RDF (Rwanda Defence Forces) special unit which was stationed in Rutshuru for joint operations with the FARDC and which had put into place an operation to return home, receiving widespread media coverage, is specifically mentioned in the report as having served as a means of providing substantial clandestine aid to the quasi-rebellion of the M23.

Amongst other things, the world organisation report says that hundreds of children (boys and girls) are being recruited from Rwandan villages on behalf of the M23, under the direct supervision of the Rwandan Defence minister, General James Kabarebe; that there has even been fundraising for the M23, organised by member s of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the ruling party in Rwanda; that the majority of wounded M23 soldiers are treated in a medical centre which is situated at the Kanombe military airport in Kigali; and that M23 troops who die in battle are buried by RDF soldiers.

According to the report, the ex-General Bosco Ntaganda remains the highest in command of the so-called rebels, Ruzandisa, alias Makenga, being the head of operations and coordinating with armed groups allied to the M23. Laurent Nkunda who was believed to be under house arrest in Rwanda, has actually been able to travel to Runyonyi at the border to visit RDF and M23 troops to whom he offered his encouragement.

It very clearly states in the report that minerals, which are exported by Rwanda, originate from Congolese soil, mainly from small-scale mining operatives in the east of the country. The sale of these minerals to other countries is completely illegal.

Regarding accusations which are sometimes made against the FARDC, the report notes that some circumstantial collaborations have been observed in some cases between some isolated FARDC units and the FDLR officials. However, there is no evidence of collaboration between FDLR and the DRC government.

After this final report, there is no further reason for the international community not to unequivocally condemn Rwanda and impose sanctions, which are likely to force them to stop their terrible business of destabilising the DRC. This is what the Congolese government expects from the UN sanctions committee meeting.

The final version of the DRC expert’s report (S/2012/843) has been approved and was officially published on the 21st November.


5. Civil Society proposals

On the 20th November, in a public statement made the day after the meeting of the EU foreign minsters, EurAc, the NGO network operating in the Great lakes region, condemns the fact that the EU has once more shown a lack of coherence in the language used in the Council’s conclusions: in fact, if it refers to foreign support received by the M23, it makes no mention of Rwanda and Uganda as being responsible for the revival of the DRC conflict. However, the UN experts’ report confirms accusations relating to Rwanda’s role in the armed conflict in the east of the DRC: direct military support for M23 rebels; facilitating recruitment; facilitating FARDC desertion; arms and weapons supply; and political information and advice. The chain of command includes Bosco Ntaganda and goes right up to the Rwandan Defence minister, General James Kabarebe.

In this context, the international community must not stop at symbolic, isolated and unplanned actions against Rwanda. The current situation demands a much firmer approach towards those countries that contribute to the DRC instability.

EurAc and its members are asking the EU and its member states to: ”strongly condemn Rwanda and Uganda’s support for M23 and ask these two countries to condemn and end all support for this rebellion;

End budgetary aid for the EU in Rwanda, thus respecting the implementation of the Cotonou agreement with regard to human Rights and democracy, which are the necessary conditions for awarding financial aid;

Encourage member states to cease their military cooperation and to reschedule their financial aid to Rwanda in line with the fact that the Rwandan government has supported a rebellion in a neighbouring country, the DRC;

Ask the UN sanctions committee to implement targeted sanctions against those senior Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese officials (including James Kabarebe) who have been instrumental in the destabilisation of the east of the DRC and who are directly or indirectly responsible for crimes committed against the civilian population.

Faced with the situation, which prevails in the city of Goma, L’AETA, a network of civil society organisations, calls upon politicians of all convictions and all social stakeholders to overcome their differences, which undermine and detract from the main concern of the nation, for territorial unity and integrity. By doing this, AETA calls for a Congolese discussion to resolve the situation in Kivu. For AETA, discussion remains the only method with the ability to safeguard the territorial integrity of the DRC, to protect and defend it as the supreme sacrifice without taking into account internal political rifts.

According to AETA “the Congolo-Congolese discussion must involve any political stakeholders in power as well as those in opposition, both in and out of parliament, armed opposition and equally the country’s social and economic stakeholders. This remains the recommended route for crisis resolution”. In fact, internal discussion is vital as an appropriate and sustainable solution to this crisis given that the country is unable to establish a modern, useful, well-formed and motivated army, capable of overpowering the negatives forces that frequently operate at the core of the country, aided by foreign support.


This French – English translation was done by the translator Ceci Chaudhry for the PerMondo project that involves providing free translations for NGOs. This initiaitve is run by the translation agency Mondo Agit.