Rwanda withdraws special forces from DR Congo with a little help from friends?

The plot just keeps thickening in the Kivus as Rwanda withdraws their special forces from the FARDC 8th Military Region. First they choose to leave via the Kabuhanga border crossing with a full TV crew in tow and then we note the presence of a US soldier…..

According to Olivier Nduhungirehe, First Counsellor at Rwanda’s UN Mission in New York, the US soldier in the video is a US Military Attache who was invited by Rwanda along with a Ugandan Attache who is the Chairman of the ICGLR.

There’s a nice touch where DRC’s Deputy Military Intelligence Chief, Colonel Yav, says he’ll pick up the borrowed FARDC uniforms in Gisenyi.  All in all a finely managed production.

Meanwhile, local chiefs are reporting that Rwandan soldiers are visible in broad daylight in the Catholic Parish of Karambi in Mutabo localities, and Buhuga, Kiringa and near to Mangala. However, at this point it is not clear what specifically identifies them as Rwandan.

Not to miss an opportunity, M23 took over the vacated space and occupied Kiseguro, which is 20 km further on from Rutshuru, when the Rwandan Special Forces departed. Additionally, Mai Mai and FDLR also bagged territory in the wake of the departing Rwandans.

All this comes at the same time that the UK has decided to ‘unfreeze’ $12 million of the $25 in aid that was suspended. A move that is both unexplained by the UK’s former Minister for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, and which prompts questions of motivation.  At this point, and without answers from the Ministry, it appears to be fence-sitting and not a decisive move either way.  While Andrew Mitchell praises Rwanda’s efforts to “constructively” engage in resolving the situation, DR Congo sees the move as ‘disastrous’.

While Rwanda’s Special Forces leave, Rwandan RDF officers attempt to enter DR Congo elsewhere

Further out of international sight, in Beni, FARDC have arrested the brother of National deputy, Mbusa Nyamwasi, for ‘security reasons’. He was in charge of customs at the Kasindi border with Uganda. Mbusa Nyamwasi is ‘hiding’ in South Africa claiming to be the victim of a plot by his enemies.

Over on the other side of the border in Uganda, Ugandan journalists say two senior RDF officers were arrested at the border town of Kihihi while on their way into the DRC. The two Rwandan officers who have been named as Brigadier Robert Rutinywa and Colonel Charles Sibo, were charged with illegal entry into Uganda and taken to court in Kabale. They destroyed a Ugandan journalist’s camera outside the court before facing the judge who then remanded them in custody.

Alongside this came in reports, now confirmed by DRC government spokesman, Lambert Mende, that opposition MP and former rebel leader, Roger Lumbala, has taken refuge in the South African embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. Lumbala was facing potential allegations of treason after a visit to Rwanda.

Both Mbusa Nyamwasi and Roger Lumbala headed rebel groups during the Congo war that were backed by factions within Uganda. DR Congo Mutineers and the role of Rwanda


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