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Remembering the Victims of Rwandan army in D.R. Congo

By Olivier Harerimana

London 26/11/2011 – Remembering Victims of RPF atrocities in Congo (ex-Zaire)

Olivier Harerimana - Speech "Remembering Victims of RPF Army in Congo"

Olivier Harerimana – Speech “Remembering Victims of RPF Army in Congo” – November 26, 2011.

After the horrific atrocities that shock my loved country Rwanda, from April 1994 and in the midst of a war that had just restarted, more than 2.5 millions of Rwandan population fled to neighbouring countries.

They fled to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo which was called at the time Zaire. It is estimated that Zaire took around 2 million refugees, Tanzania 480,000, Burundi 200,000 and Uganda 10,000. (2005 by Institute for Environmental Security)

In these countries refugees settled in camps that were supported by international and national humanitarian agencies.

Today we are here to commemorate many among those refugees who can be put in 2 categories:

  1. Those who were systematically massacred by Rwandan troops
  2.  and those who died as result of hard lives, malnutrition, starvation and diseases.

Up to date it is estimated that around 500,000 Rwandan refugees died in Congo from October 1996. (MSF)

What happened to these refugees is now well documented and backed by a tremendous amount of evidence collected from witnesses who survived, from humanitarian agencies that operated in that region, from local residents and also from investigations led by the UN itself.

You would ask me, what happened?

In October 1996, the Rwandan government troops( APR) with a newly established Congolese rebel movement, attacked refugees camps in eastern Congo forcing many of them back to Rwanda but at the same time killing others. There were survivors who managed to flee inside the Congolese forest but they were pursued and killed.

Some of most known massacres occurred:
  • On the 20th October 1996 around a region called Katale, refugees leaving camps and those going to look for food in the camps were killed . (1998 UNHCR)
  • On the 24 October 1996 – Refugees were killed in Uvira. (Congo Wars myth & reality – African Studies – Commonwealth University)
  • Between the 25th and the 27th October 1996 refugee camps in Katale and Kibumba were attacked and more than 10,000 refugees were massacred. Survivors fled to Mugunga Camps and others were repatriated to Rwanda by force.   (MSF)
  • On the 15th November 1996 – Mugunga camps which was the world largest refugee camp at that time was attacked and over 50,000 refugees were killed, others forced to return to Rwanda but some fled in the forest. Those who arrived in Tingi-Tingi area fleeing massacres in east were attacked and killed between 28 February and 13 March 1997. (UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs: 21 Nov 1996)
  • Shabunda camps in South Kivu  which had seen a big increase of its inhabitant as result of refugees fleeing killings in Refugee camps of Kashusha and INERA, was attacked on the 5th February 1997 and around 10,000 refugees were massacred.  (The Massacre of Refugees in Congo: A Case of UN Peacekeeping Failure and International Law – The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2. (Jul., 2000), pp. 163-202)
  • On the 1st April 1997 – after WFP announced that 100,000 refugees were at 150Km from Kisangani, they were attacked and massacred.  Some of survivors were airlifted to Rwanda by humanitarian agencies.
  • On the 13th May 1997 massacres were committed by Rwandan troops in Mbandaka and Wendji. (UN Mapping report)

Survivors continued their fleeing journey until the end May 1997 when they arrived Congo-Brazzaville after a trip of 1,500 kilometres. (Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 340,000 refugees fled  hiding in the forests of Kivu,  fleeing west ahead of the advancing front line. Few thousands survivors are still in Congolese forest. (Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

There are also the refugees who died as result of diseases.
Memorial for victims of Rwandan (RPF) army in D.R. Congo

Memorial for victims of Rwandan (RPF) army in D.R. Congo

Cholera was the main disease that killed so many.

The first case of cholera in Goma was diagnosed on 20th July 1994. This led to a major cholera outbreak of 58,000 to 80,000 cases within a month. The cholera outbreak was still active when an outbreak of bloody diarrhea, due to Shigella dysenteriae type 1, erupted in the first days of August and persisted in all the camps until November 1994. (Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

These successive outbreaks contributed greatly to the unprecedented mortality rates observed during the first weeks of the emergency. A total of 48,347 dead bodies were buried between July 14 and August 14). (Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

Although this might be an underestimation of the true figures (because of private burials), the estimate of 50,000 deaths occurring during the first month of the emergency has been generally accepted.

Later on, and except during a short period in the south of Kisangani, the humanitarian agencies had almost no access to these populations until they reached Congo-Brazzaville.

The population of Tingi Tingi was estimated at 80,000 persons, of which 12,000 (15 percent) were children under five years old (Nabeth, 1997). From December 18, 1996 to February 26, 1997, a total of 1,703 deaths were recorded by the surveillance system, of which 831 (48.8 percent) occurred among children under five. (Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

By mid-May 1997, several hundred Rwandan refugees were identified in Congo-Brazzaville in a swampy area located 600 kilometres north of Brazzaville along the Oubangui River. They had settled in camps located in three villages: Loukoléla, Liranga, and Ndjoundou. It is estimated that in the first few month of their arrival the death rate caused by diseases and wounds was 5%.(Forced Migration & Mortality 2001)

Reports on massacres in Congo
Some of the above killings and massacres have been documented in a report called  DRC Mapping Exercise Report that has been released by The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR).

The Report documents “the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”.

The report contains a detailed accounting of the breakup of Rwandan refugee camps in eastern Congo at the start of the First Congo war in October 1996, followed by the pursuit of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees and Hutu population across the country’s vast hinterland by teams of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda soldiers and their Congolese rebel collaborate, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo.

The apparently systematic nature of these violations suggests that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of both first and second Congo wars or seen as equating to collateral damage. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who posed no threat to the attacking forces.

Numerous serious attacks on the physical or psychological integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten.Very large numbers of victims were forced to flee and travel long distances to escape their pursuers, who were trying to kill them.

The hunt lasted for months, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of people subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions, without access to food or medication. On several occasions, the humanitarian aid intended for them was deliberately blocked, in particular in Orientale Province, depriving them of assistance essential to their survival.

The mapping report team noted that “The question of whether the numerous serious acts of violence committed against the Hutus (refugees and others) constitute crimes of genocide has attracted a significant degree of comment and to date remains unresolved. The report repeatedly stresses that this question can “only be decided by a court decision on the basis of evidence beyond all reasonable doubt. However, “the apparent systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of inculpatory elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be characterised as crimes of genocide.”

Some think that certain elements could cause a court to hesitate to decide on the existence of a genocidal plan, such as the fact that as of 15 November 1996, several tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many of whom had survived previous attacks, were repatriated to Rwanda with the help of the AFDL/APR authorities and that hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees were able to return to Rwanda with the consent of the Rwandan authorities prior to the start of the first war.

Whilst, in general, the killings did not spare women and children, it should be noted that in some places, at the beginning of the first war, Hutu women and children were in fact separated from the men, and only the men were subsequently killed.

Rwandan refugee killings had previously been recognised in The “Gersony Report“, name given to the 1994 findings made by a team under Robert Gersony, which was under contract to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and identified a pattern of massacres by the Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels after their military victory in the civil war in post-genocide Rwanda. The findings were suppressed by the United Nations and involved governments for political reasons, and its existence was denied. No final written report was ever completed, though purported early written documentation has been leaked.

Call for Justice

Let us today remember all those ones who lost their lives in circumstances I described above, let us keep their memory alive by honouring them and more importantly let us promote peace, reconciliation, justice so that events like this never ever happen again.

Olivier Harerimana

Related:

Commemoration of 15th Anniversary of Rwandan refugees massacres in Congo

 

December 3, 2011   No Comments

Rwanda: James Musoni, The Embattled Minister Behind The New Times’ Boss Arrest

 

The faces of Kagame’s assistant conman/cronie Rajabu aka James Musoni

James Musoni, commonly known as Rajabu in Rwanda is again embroiled in another scam, but as usual hiding his head in the sand like an ostrich and busy whispering to his boss and mentor’s ears the names of those to be thrown in jail or fired.

For starters, James Musoni is the current Minister of Local government and a senior member of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, the ruling party. Also he is considered as the second most powerful man in Rwanda after his boss and mentor, President Kagame. However, his closeness and proximity to Kagame is much more linked to working together in corrupt related deals. It is common knowledge that Musoni’s knows much about Kagame’s wealth than even Kagame’s wife.  Rajabu is very active in stabbing others from their back by whispering lies to Kagame’s ears.

According to our source close to the President’s office, Rajabu was upset by The New Times stories about the Rukarara hydro power dam. Needless to mention here that The New Times like Contact FM radio stations are both media outlets owned by Kagame or his wife and financed largely by the family. To protect his interests, Kagame appointed (read deployed) Col Ndahiro Emmanuel as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of The New Times.

Both Ndahiro and Musoni are at logger-heads, and Musoni worked hard to have Ndahiro fired from his juicy job at NSSS. The two gentlemen are known to be behind major political and security decision (including killings in the country and out of the country) in the country.  After successful uprooting Ndahiro, Musoni does not want to see Bideri Joseph at the helm of The New Times, and he was incensed by the recent true and well investigated publications about Rukarara hydro dam project.

As usual, Musoni made an attempted to get a kick back from the project but in vain. Miss Linda Bihire and Engineer Albert Butare, former Minister of Infrastructure and State Minister of Energy respectively resisted his corrupt tendencies, and were hence fired from their positions.  Ndahiro’s attempt to save Ms Linda Bihire, his mistress with whom he has a son from an axe did not yield to anything. Eventually, Musoni celebrated when Kagame fired Bihire and Butare! And few months later, Kagame listened to Musoni’s pleas to have Ndahiro fired, and now wants Bideri out of Kagame’s Newspaper to have his own man there. Will Kagame yield to Musoni’s pleas? Probably yes!

Shortly before his arrest and detention, Musoni called a meeting at his office that was attended by Emmanuel Gasana and Brig General Jack Nziza, the Commissioner General of Rwanda National Police and Secretary General in the Minister of Defense respectively to lay a strategy of halting Bideri from running the truth about Rukarara hydro dam. The trio agreed to use the Criminal Investigation department and bring corrupt related allegations against him, and lock him up under the fabricated charges. Knowing that Ndahiro has been weakened and can’t deter them from achieving their mission, Emmanuel Gasana (aka Rurayi) summoned Bideri to his office. On arrival to his office, Bideri was grilled by Gasana and Bizimungu, the CID boss. Gasana is a relative to Musoni, and is known to be receiving directives from him to terrorize Rwandans who he (Musoni) perceives to be his critics or enemies.

Upon being shackled in chains, Bideri sweated profusely, but managed to make a quick phone call to Ndahiro Emmanuel, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New Times about his plotted arrest and eventual detention. Still recovering from his sack, Ndahiro called and pleaded with Kagame to spare Bideri from jail, pleading that such move dent the leadership’s credibility, especially from the international media watchdogs. The source confirms that Kagame was not aware of Musoni and his company’s attempts to lock up Bideri because of Rukarara hydro power dam. He then called Bizimungu, the CID boss and questioned him about Bideri’s case. Our source reveals that Bizimungu painstakingly revealed that he was only invited by Gasana to be part of the interrogation session, and that his efforts to advise Gasana from pursuing this case was out rightly objected by the later.

Kagame furiously called Gasana, and questioned him about Bideri’s case. The President lambasted Gasana for acting in an insane manner, and ordered him to immediately release Bideri from jail. However, Gasana did not reveal to the President the real person who was behind the move, namely Rajabu. The next day Kagame ordered a meeting at his office, and mandated Major General Karake Karenzi, the NSSS boss to chair it. In attendance were at Gasana, Bizimungu and Nziza. In this meeting, Karake Karenzi strongly condemned Gasana for the arrest and detention of the TNT boss. He cautioned him against acting irrationally in matters of arrest of citizens, especially people working in the media.

Again in this meeting, Gasana decided not to reveal Rajabu, as being behind his decision to arrest Bideri. At the end of the meeting, Gasana and Nziza briefed Rajabu about it. Rajabu vowed to punish and bring down Karake from his NSSS job and hand it over to Nziza. Indeed, he approached Kagame with wild allegations against Karake. As usual, Kagame rubbished Karake’s report of that meeting.

According to our source close to the President’s office, In a recent security meeting, Kagame condemned Karake Karenzi for being a moll of enemies of the State and undermining the security. In rather an outburst manner, Kagame reminded him of how he had helped him by appointing him at a NSSS boss. He reminded him of his past and present ‘sins’; and warned him to keep off from interfering in other people’s business. For those known to Kagame, he plays the double standard game! In short, Karake’s days at NSSS are numbered because Rajabu is working hard to undermine him from there and expose him to Kagame’s wrath.

In a related development, we carried an investigation of other people who have been victimized of Musoni’s malicious witch hunt. For example, he categorically refused to register Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi party, and together with Kagame preferred to lock her up in jail under fabricated charges. Mandated by Kagame, Musoni and Nziza worked tirelessly with DMI, and are behind Ingabire’s woes as well as other politicians and journalists who are rotting in Kagame’s controlled jails. The same source also revealed that the ban of Umuvugizi and Umuseso was Musoni’s project, because both papers were critical of his machinations and corruption. And families of Agnes and Saidati, the two journalists in jail also confirmed that the police and prosecutors revealed that they were acting on orders of Musoni, the powerful Minister to lock up the two journalist in jail. According to some Green party member, Musoni using Kambanda, the former Green Party General Secretary planned and executed the assassination of Andrew Rusereka, the party’s Vice President. The Directorate of Immigration and Prosecutor’s General office received instructions from Rajabu to fabricate charges against the human rights watch lady Calina; who was later ordered to leave Kigali with immediate effect. Similarly, Ngoga, the Prosecutor General confessed to some people that USA respected scholar and lawyer Peter Erlinder was arrested and pronounced a persona non grata in Rwanda much more under Musoni’s order than Kagame.

Musoni’s notorious actions have become a real threat to human life in Rwanda. John Rwagombwa, the current Minister of Finance and Economic planning has confided to some close RPF members that Musoni is working hard to tarnish his credibility. Having studied together at Makerere University, where John Rwagombwa and Emmanuel Hategeka the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Commerce outshined him in studies, Musoni has never forgiven the two gentlemen, yet both are widely respected and intelligent gentlemen by all standards. Actually, accordingly to the Makerere Univesity records, Musoni obtained a pass degree, and many of his former students wonder why Kagame has elevated him and continue to value his (Rajabu) irrational advice.

Musoni’s other target is Ms Kampeta Sayizonga, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic planning. This learned lady, like John Rwagombwa the Minister of Finance have vehemently refused Musoni’s move to make them his instruments of corruption and other malicious-hate related missions. The young intelligent man called Francios, former OTE was fired from the Ministry of Finance because he rejected to clear Musoni’s requisition of millions of dollars. Another resourceful person from the same ministry who lost his job (not because of his incompetence) was Kamili Karamaga former director of budget. Before she left Rwanda Revenue Authority, Mary Baine, the former Commission General too was a tormented by Musoni because of the later’s numerous attempts to use her to evade taxes of his building materials. Later, Musoni managed to have her removed from her juicy position and posted into the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Before Baine, Henry Gaperi Kanyesigye her predecessor and later Director General of Caisse Socialle suffered the same fate. In fact, we’ve been told that Gaperi who is now the IMF regional director with offices in Mozambique has been refused to cover Rwanda because of Musoni’s orders. Others, like Claudine Nyinawagaga, the former Mayor of Gasabo district were easily fired by Musoni for her refusal to allocate him government land. Then you have this learned accountant in Kigali and proprietor of Kigali Institute of Management called Peter Rutaremara who too was fired from the Chairmanship of Tender Board again for refusal to grant Musoni government tenders.

The vital question among Rwandan citizens is; for who long shall Rajabu, ordained by Kagame, continue to live in their country under such constant fear of persecution from James Musoni? Though Musoni James is Kagame close confident, one wonders whether he does not take advantage of Kagame personal weakness to quench his thirst of terrorizing citizens perceived to be his critics and enemies. Musoni, like Kagame, will always be remembered in the history of Rwanda for their political mismanagement and history will judge them harshly. As for those who have taken a vow of standing with Musoni and his mentor Kagame to bring down others, either you should chose to act rationally by abandoning the two or  you risk sinking with Kagame-Musoni-Nziza-Nyiramongi titanic ship soon than later!

Benedicto Kimenyi

Email: bkkimanyi@gmail.com

 

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African Dictator

December 3, 2011   No Comments

Charles Ingabire: A Rwandan Brave Who Did Not Need Weapons

AD and readers, I pay tribute to our fallen but not to be forgotten Rwandan Brave Charles Ingabire, founder and editor of Inyenyeri, who was murdered by Kagame after Ingabire chose exile rather than be silenced by the Rwandan butcher. Ingabire, may your passing rally Rwandans to free ourselves of the Kagames. Ingabire, you kept telling us that:

Today, it is now or never…
The battle has just begun
All I have in my mind is…

Never give up!
Never give up!

Never give up even if…
If I fall, I will rise
I am brave because in my mind…

Never give up!
Never give up!

I will never stop, I’ll walk hard
No one can stop me even my greatest nightmare
For all I know, the lord always guide me.

Never give up!
Never give up!

The wound would never be my weakness
Even my greatest enemies
For I know all this time…

Never give up!
Never give up!

I promised myself
I will pass this greatest battle
So whatever happens

I will never…
Never ever give up!

Rey Benipayo, whoever you are who wrote these words, thanks for lending us these poetic lines through which to sing songs to our departed Rwandan brave Charles Ingabire. Rest in peace dear brother.

Gakuba Theodore, Kigali.

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African Dictator

December 3, 2011   1 Comment