Thursday, September 2, 2010

FDLR Returnees Vanished Or Killed By Rwanda's RPF?

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin stated in february in a visit to Goma on the FDLR:
"Opportunity should be given to people who were not involved in horrific crimes to go back to Rwanda. There are some who have already been back to Rwanda. They live quite well, because they were not involved in horrific crimes,"
Yesterday Alex Engwete wrote about the fact that recently 26 FDLR returnees have vanished:
"I'm not going to beat about the bush like the recent UN Mapping Project. We are witnessing here a case of the broad daylight "disappearance" by the Rwandan government of 26 Hutu returnees. A case of incremental massacres the Rwandan army is known to have repeatedly perpetrated. It's through these incremental massacres that the Rwandan army "genocided" the Hutus in the Congo... And, mark my words!,  if this lie uttered by Jean Sayinzoga is swallowed by the international opinion, then other future "escapes" by Hutu returnees would necessarily ensue..."
It does not sound like a very succesfull reintegration project. Apparently  there is a lot of confusion in Kigali and Kinshasa as to who the real FDLR are.

The state department  was quick (august 25) to blame the FDLR  for the recent rapes in Walikale, Congo DRC:
"The United States is deeply concerned by reports of the mass rape of women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)"
Jason Stearns gave his version, a more detailed and more nuanced account of who-did-what-to-whom at Walikale. Today rebels kidnapped two pilots in Walikale. The FDLR spokesperson in Paris on the other hand has strongly dismissed involvement in the rapes:
"The FDLR are "in no way involved in these odious actions and takes umbrage at the baseless accusations launched against them by the secretary general of the United Nations,"

President Paul Kagame said on august 7 that he is "at a loss" to understand how some leaders of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are still at large in the West. I am still intrigued by the timing of that statement. Was he aware of the rapes  in Congo before they were reported?

Also noteworthy is the use by the Rwandan RPF regime of the rapes in Walikale in a cynical propaganda effort to limit the damage of the mapping report on Congo.

Increasingly, Rwandans and (hopefully also more Congolese living) in the diaspora are active bloggers. Commenting, twittering and especially blogging to get their side of the story out. Off course we are not all journalists like Eleneus Akanga, but still.

August 11 I had a brief exchange with someone living in the US who wrote this illustrative tweet:
shoshido:  @coloredopinions "Thanks for the links. My view: Congo is full of Hutu genocidaires who need to be killed. RPF is killing them. That is all."

Even today journalists and some experts are still claiming the high ground against Rwandese and Congolese who dare to question the "Gourevitch" , the  "Kinzer" or "Odom" narrative concerning Rwanda's invasion of Congo. Selfreflection is rare, even after the damning report came out.The UN mapping report is certainly not the first serious investigation  which alleges crimes committed by RPF troops against unarmed hutu refugees. The Spanish and French cases against the RPF should have been sufficient to start a process of selfreflection, caution or backtracking long ago.  I am amazed how US and UK journalists and experts have ignored these cases for years. As if Spain and France are "Banana republics".  These journalists and experts who have controlled public opinion for a long time are coresponsable for a climat in which ordinary twitterers like "@shoshido" can write these abhorrently ignorant statements.

The current regime in Kigali (and maybe also Kinshasa) has an interest in keeping the status quo concerning the FDLR in eastern Congo, and exagerating it's actual threat. Who would they blame for their own mistakes if there eternal scapegoat had disappeared? Why haven't we heard anything from Hillary Clinton concerning these disappeared ex-combatants?

It's friday, so here are some original Great Lakes twitterers  to follow:


@ellyakanga
@nkundarwanda
@@Charlie_Blink
@Ambrosenz  
@victoireumuhoza
@anneketanneke
@debelzie
@luc_germain   
@IndiJG 

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