U.S. Trained Rwandan Soldiers Not the Answer

Friends Of The Congo, Jan. 20, 2009

Let us see if we got this right. The United Nations publish a groundbreaking study that affirms what the Congolese people have been saying since 1996, that U.S. backed Rwandan aggression against the Congo has not ceased since that time. The report documented Rwanda's support of rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. So in response, the Congolese government invite to its capital one of the most infamous butchers on Congo's soil, James Kabarebe, Chief of General Staff of the Rwandan Defense Forces and former private secretary and aide-de-camp of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame. Both Kabarebe and current Congolese President Joseph Kabila were a part of the human slaughter of Congolese and Hutu refugees (men, women and children) in 1996/'97.

It is quite shocking that the people of Kinshasa allowed Kabarebe the butcher to saunter in and out of the nations capital without a peep. It is no surprise however that President Kabila welcomed Kabarebe. Kabila was under the tutelage of Kabarebe in the late 1990s and was with him at the massacre of Tingi Tingi. Today the 1996 invasion crew of Kagame, Museveni, Kabarebe and Kabila has come full circle undoubtly to heap more pain and suffering on the people of the Congo. It is far beyond time that the Congolese people rise up and reject the further militarization of their country whether it comes from Kigali or Kinshasa and ostensibly backed by Washington and London.

For the past twelve years, U.S. ally, Rwanda has used the so-called Hutu presence in Congo as a pretext for invading the country and systematically looting it of its enormous natural wealth. Unfortunately, the same pre-text is being cynically used in collaboration with the Kabila-led Congolese government to divert the mounting global pressure on the Kagame regime’s transgressions in the Congo through its proxy rebel forces in the East of Congo.

Should the newly sworn in Obama administration not want the stain of the blood and deaths of millions of Africans on its hands like the Clinton and Bush administrations, it should cease the US's militarization of the African continent and Central Africa in particular. Congo's soil has become the military playground for the United States and its Rwandan and Ugandan allies. Just over the holiday season hundreds of Congolese were slaughtered as a result of the joint Ugandan-Congo military offensive against the Lord's Resistance Army of Joseph Kony.

Militarization is not the answer. Robust political solutions are needed to address the myriad crises in Central Africa. The strengthening of Congolese institutions is needed. The Congolese people need justice and reconciliation not thousands of Rwandan troops.

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