from Africa in Transition

Rwanda’s Eastern Congo Involvement

June 4, 2012

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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On Friday I blogged about the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report that internally displaced people in Congo-Kinshasa number more than two million, mostly in North and South Kivu. I also cited a BBC report based on UN sources of Rwandan involvement with mutineers whose violence is engendering the displacement—a report vigorously denied by the Rwandan foreign minister.  Today, the respected human rights non-government organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch issued a press release stating credibly that Rwandan military officials are arming and supporting the mutiny of Gen . Bosco Ntaganda and a (supposedly) separate one by Col. Sultani Makenga.  HRW’s conclusions are based on on-the-ground interviews.

HRW reports Ntaganda, Makenga, and their followers frequently crossing the border into Rwanda to avoid capture and to be supplied with weapons.  It also reports Rwandan soldiers impressing "volunteers" at cinemas and other public places for service with Ntaganda and Makenga. HRW also reports summary execution by Ntaganda’s forces of those who refuse to fight.

The UN Security Council’s arms embargo on Congo prohibits providing weapons or ammunition to Ntaganda or Makenga.    The relevant resolution requires all states to prevent the direct or indirect supply of such ordinance by their citizens to “nongovernmental entities” operating in Congo.

Parts of the Rwandan military appear to be contravening the UN Security Council resolution, notwithstanding the foreign minister’s protests. The question is, to what extent is Rwandan military support of Congolese mutineers occurring with the support of the Kagame government. Or whether it is simply looking the other way, or whether it cannot control its own military.  Whatever the answer, it is the people of the eastern Congo who are suffering.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

International Law

International Organizations

Human Rights

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