Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eraste Rwatangabo's Murder, Genocide Claims & Secession Advocacy

Tim Adam's recent article on the assassination of Eraste Rwatangabo was retweeted by
@survivorsfund claiming that genocide against tutsi's occurs and has occured in Congo:
Proof of the genocide against the Banyamulenge, a minority population of ethnic Tutsi from in east

Eagerly retweeted by Rwandan (and Kagame supporter) @Charlie_blink who claimed last year that massive slaughter of hutu's by the RPF can be discussed in Rwanda "but just not now".

Jerome Rugaruza, a tutsi from Congo writes about the assassination of Eraste Rwatangabo:
"The voice of Eraste Rwatangabo member of the "Banyamulenge" minority Tutsi tribe of the Eastern D.R.Congo ( survival of Banyamulenge refugees Genocide occured on the night of the 13th August 2004 in Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi) will never and ever ceasse to wisper into every one conscience until its cry for justice is heard Worldwide."
Allthough Tim Adams himself seems to shy away from calling the killings of tutsi's inside Congo genocide, he does claim that:
"Many are seeing the killings as further proof of genocide against the Banyamulenge. A childhood friend of Rwatangabo, Alex Ntung, now lives in Hastings, East Sussex. Ntung lost members of his family in one of the most infamous massacres of the war, at the Gatumba refugee camp in 2004. He has fought since for the atrocities to be recognised as genocide by the UN. " 
These genocide allegations by Alex Ntung, who's brother was an RPF soldier that died fighting in 1994 (interesting by the way how a Congolese tutsi joins an army in Uganda to fight a war in Rwanda) that "spice up" Tim Adams article were recently adressed by the Congolese Ambassador to the US Faida M. Mitifu . Alex Ntung claims to be an expert on Congo , wrote on witchcraft in South Kivu and lives in the UK.

The Congolese ambassador adressed these genocide allegation at a conference at the brooking institute in response to a question by Alex (Not Alex Ntung according to Richard Wilson) who used the claims, quoting Kagame's Propaganda man Andrew Mwenda, to advocate for the break up of Congo (24:30):
"thank you very much, my name is alex, and i followed very much your remark and i have to disagree with you, but not to disagree but it is a point of view that came out when you was explaining to us. The biggest challenge that Congo is facing is is security. it has been an issue, it iss an issue, that's where the united states should focus. Recently, on october 4th, ten days from today, a jeep was going from Uvira in South Kivu to monembwe, it was attacked by may-may and Agnathon Rwasa FDLR Rwasa, and they Selectively killed the tutsis, banyamulenge that were in the Car and the rest of the people were released, they were allowed to go home. So, Until now as you  know the people who committed that genocide, the agathon rwasa peopl in that Bujumbura gatorwa no one was arrested, no one was tried. I guess that was the reason they are keep on doing it.
my point of view, and please dont take me wrong, my point of view the ideas that have been looking on the internet and there is these two ideas journalists called Andrew Mwenda and Samba Kiki, they said that ultimate solution for Congo would be to break it into pieces for peace.Why would the united states would not do like it did in sudan. I think that would be the ultimate solution for Congo giving it's history of violence."
DRC's ambassador to the US, Faida M. Mitifu , responded at the end of the conference in this way:
 I just wanted to say something about Alex and mr. John has allready touched one point that I wanted to bring to Alex: off course Alex we do condemn what happened recently in south kivu and we condemn what has been going on in south kivu in terms of those different pockets of violence.You used the word genocide, it doesn't just apply to what has been going on with the women, it can apply to what has been going on back in 2004, so let's not isolate this one particular case. The people of Congo have allways been a united people. And contrary to South Sudan, the International community accompanied what the people of South Sudan wanted. So you cannot come here to this forum and advocate a Congo divided in several pieces. Because if there is something that Congolese people have allways wanted, it has been a united Congo. We can sit together and discuss what kind of Congo we want, as mister John suggested, but you can't come to this forum to advocate for a Congo divided into several pieces as a Congolese yourself.
Anthony Gambino thanks the Congolese Ambassador for her comments and adds a short description of the context in which the transition, the 2006 elections and the upcoming elections are being held.

Alex Ntung forms the expert advisory institute together with Dr Felix M. Ndahinda from Tilburg and Etienne Rusamira from Montreal (read their articles to see what direction their advocacy goes).

Dr Felix M. Ndahinda sounds a lot like a propagandist for the regime in Kigali who aims to torpedo a legitimate debate on the crimes committed by the RPF in Congo and Rwanda and to collectively brand the hutu diaspora with the label "genocidaire".

Etienne Rusamira, a tutsi community leader, seems to be a more respectable character who has written reasonably balanced articles on the conflict in Congo on the business links between Habyarimana and Mobutu which, according to Rusamira, led to Mobutu giving some land to Rwandans in Walikale where the Ntoto massacre of 14000 Rwandan (hutus) took place in march 1993 (kick-off date for the mapping exercise).

Etienne Rusamira met with US Embassy in Kigali in 2004 just before the above mentioned Gatumba massacre of tutsi Congolese refugees in Burundi.

7 comments:

Richard Wilson said...

Hi Vincent,

I'm surprised by your comments here about Alex Ntung, who I have known for some years and greatly respect. Could you clarify why you take exception to Alex's advocacy for massacres such as the 2004 Gatumba attack to be recognised as genocide?

While I can see that there is value in debating, on a case by case basis, where we draw the line between a war crime, a crime against humanity and an act of genocide, if you are familiar with the evidence of what took place at Gatumba then I would find it odd that you would think it so outrageous that someone might take the view that it was an act of genocide, even if you don't share this view yourself. Do you also deny that the Gatumba attack was a war crime, or a crime against humanity?

On the debate about the break-up of Congo, again, could you clarify what your concern is here? I live in Britain, where thousands of people openly support a political party which advocates breaking up the UK by making Scotland an independent state. Many others want Northern Ireland to be taken out of the United Kingdom and unified with the Irish Republic. Some people have even suggested that London should be an independent city-state. There are similar breakaway movements in Belgium (supporting an independent Flanders) and Spain (pressing for independence in Catalonia). These are mainstream, respectable political positions. Is it really so unacceptable for Congolese people to want to have similar discussions? Should it be so surprising, given the endemic corruption and criminality of successive Congolese governments, that people might want to debate the basic viability of the current state model?

Vincent Harris said...

Hi Richard,

3 questions.

1: 'why you take exception to Alex's advocacy for massacres such as the 2004 Gatumba attack to be recognised as genocide?'

Answer:
In Burundi two events are recognized as genocide (1972: 80.000 to 200.000 hutu & 1993 killings of possibly as many as 25,000 Tutsi) in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi (2002).

Aim of Alex Ntung's advocacy at the conference at the brooking institute (just as Willy Nzisabira's denial of the 1972 Burundi genocide againsts hutus here) is to cherrypick historical events & use them for propaganda purposes culminating in the #RPF organised, funded & led recent assault on Congo.

2) On the debate about the break-up of Congo, again, could you clarify what your concern is here? Is it really so unacceptable for Congolese people to want to have similar discussions?

answer:
Your comparison of an armed insurgency organised, funded & led by the revolutionary Rwandan Patriotic Front (& Ugandan army) with a political party that advocates breaking up the UK by making Scotland an independent state is nonsense. I'm surprised (& disappointed) you don't see that yourself.

3) Should it be so surprising, given the endemic corruption and criminality of successive Congolese governments, that people might want to debate the basic viability of the current state model?

Answer:

It depends. If this debate is a deliberate attempt to reward and support Rwanda & Uganda's panafrican maoist revolutionary elites for their sustained & welldocumented effort to destablize the DRC I consider it extremely dangerous.

Richard Wilson said...

Hi Vincent,

Thanks for coming back to me on this but I'm still doubtful!

1. What's your reason for thinking that Alex's advocacy regarding Gatumba was designed "to cherrypick historical events & use them for propaganda purposes culminating in the #RPF organised, funded & led recent assault on Congo" - rather than simply to press for justice for members of his family and community who were killed in a massacre at a refugee camp?

2. I don't think I was referring to any armed insurgency in my comparison. I was simply comparing the right of a Congolese person to moot the break-up of Congo with the right of a British person to moot the break-up of the UK - or the unification of Northern and Southern Ireland. Do you not think it is possible for someone to peacefully raise the prospect of secession even if there might be others pursuing that same objective through violent means? Perhaps a better comparison might be the right of a Northern Irish person to advocate peacefully for Irish unification - and this being distinct and distinguishable from the actions of those (eg. the IRA) who have sought the same objective by violent means?

3. I would agree with you that rewarding and supporting "Rwanda and Uganda's panafrican maoist revolutionary elites for their sustained & well documented effort to destablize the DRC" could be dangerous, but I really don't believe that this is what Alex has been doing. Could you explain this comment a bit more?

Richard Wilson said...

Hi Vincent - I just checked your reference and the person who makes the statement you quote just gives his name as "Alex". It doesn't say this was Alex Ntung. Are you sure that Alex Ntung did actually say what you've said he said?!

Richard Wilson said...

(Just to be clear I'm referring to the quote from the Brookings Inst transcript)

Richard Wilson said...

OK I've found the audio and it's definitely not Alex Ntung!

TheMvuka said...

Thank you so much Richard for challenging Vincent for his extremely subjective views. What is even more morally wrong about Vincent is that he also offended my community to question and pick on the death of innocent murdered people such as Eraste Rwatangabo and his colleagues simply because are Tutsis? Victims identity is only 'relevant' to those who end their lives, any blogger and human right activist should see injustice in humane lenses.