By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Rwanda has termed as “unacceptable” the renewed provocation of DR Congo and its military, saying it is in violation of existing regional security mechanisms.
Since last week, the DR Congo army, FARDC, launched an offensive in territories controlled by the M23 rebel group and accompanied it with a pile of accusations against Rwanda including those made by President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi in international gatherings and during media interviews.
Similar accusations alleging that Rwanda was supporting M23 and hate speech targeting Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese have also been sustained by top military and government officials in DR Congo.
In a statement issued by government spokesperson Yolande Makolo on Monday, October 24, Rwanda expressed concerns over the renewed escalation and use of heavy weaponry and targeting of Rwanda’s border zone.
“Contrary to the assertions of the President of DRC that his country is focused on a diplomatic solution to the insecurity in eastern DRC, recent statements and actions show that the DRC Government is decided on a course of continued military escalation. Furthermore, FARDC continues to operate alongside irregular armed militias, including FDLR,” reads the statement.
Rwanda accuses DR Congo of aiding and arming, FDLR – a terrorist group that is responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – and its splinter outfits. DR Congo has not denied the accusation but instead dodged responding to Rwanda’s demands.
Rwanda has demanded that DR Congo address the concern of FDLR and even stated that until the problem of FDLR, which operates in close collaboration with the DRC army, is taken seriously and addressed, security in the Great Lakes region will remain a challenge.
“FARDC’s build-up to renew attacks on M23, a Congolese armed group, is in violation of the agreed regional security mechanisms, including the Nairobi and Luanda processes. Continued public incitement on the basis of ethnicity, use of heavy weaponry, targeting of Rwanda’s border zone, and baseless accusations against Rwanda are unacceptable,” reads the statement.
The regional security mechanisms are multidimensional in nature and apply several means geared towards restoring security in the eastern DR Congo. They include a ‘roadmap on the pacification process in the eastern region of DR Congo’ which was adopted in July and a deployment of the East African Force which is underway.
There is no part of the regional peace mechanism that grants authority to DR Congo to launch a sole offensive attack. In its statement, Rwanda indicated that “despite continued provocations by DRC authorities and armed forces, Rwanda reiterates its firm commitment to contributing to a sustainable, peaceful regional security solution within the agreed regional frameworks. However, the continual, unjustified attempts to make Rwanda a scapegoat for the internal political problems of DRC will continue to be categorically rejected.”
Although there are close to 130 armed groups in DR Congo, the Kinshasa government has concentrated efforts on M23 and ignored the others. This is coupled with continuous blames piled on Rwanda of which Rwanda has stated that DR Congo’s blame game will not solve its internal problems. In fact, Rwanda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Robert Kayinamura, recently said that whenever DR Congo is headed for presidential elections, a pile of accusations against Rwanda crop up and later disappear after polls.