by Keith Harmon Snow
When the U.S. corporate media bothers to cover the genocidal conflict in eastern Congo at all, they focus on “rape as a weapon of war” and other such examples of African “barbarity.” But never do they shine a light on the causes of the wars – U.S., European and Israeli machinations to steal the regions resources.
AFRICOM Backs Bloodshed in Central Africa
by Keith Harmon Snow
“Western Congo is awash in bloodshed involving forces backed by AFRICOM, Belgium and Israel.”
The eastern Congo remains awash in bloodshed due to western mining companies and their proxy armies, the military regimes of Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Joseph Kabila (DRC), all hidden behind reams of western newsprint blaming Congolese victims for their own suffering. Across the continent a new rebellion in western Congo has reportedly engaged Belgian paratroopers and UN “peacekeepers” in alliance with the DRC government. With massive casualties and more than 200,000 civilians forced to flee western Congo the United Nations and western media have covered up the new rebellion. Meanwhile, AFRICOM under the Obama administration has major base constructions and secret deployments across Central Africa, with NATO, Dyncorp and Special Operations Command shipping Ugandan grunts to the U.S. wars in Somalia, Afghanistan, Darfur and Iraq.
With the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) engulfed in bloodshed and terrorism due to the secretive occupation and expansion by the Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame, Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has received support from Belgium and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to crush a growing rebellion sparked by resistance forces in far Western Congo. But the United Nations Observers Mission in Congo (MONUC) has downplayed the new rebellion and hidden massive military and civilian casualties.
Are Belgian Paratroopers Fighting in Western Congo?
A rising alliance calling themselves “The Resistance Patriots of Dongo” (Patriotes-Résistants de Dongo) spread in western Congo over the past six months after Congolese people learned that Congolese resistance forces tired of the corrupt regime of Joseph Kabila were fighting against Rwandan troops in the little frontier town of Dongo.
Sources in Congo’s capital Kinshasa reported that an emergency “crisis” meeting was convened in Brussels on Nov. 28, 2009, after a distress call was sent by Congo-Kinshasa President Hypolitté Kanambe, known to the Western world by his alias, Joseph Kabila Kabange, and the Belgian military attaché in Kinshasa was instructed to deploy a detachment of elite Belgian Armed Forces (BAF) paratroopers to Congo.1
Sources in DRC claimed that Belgian troops joined the Kabila COALITION forces, backed by AFRICOM and allied with Rwanda, and engaged the RESISTANCE forces in Equateur province in January.
Interests competing with President Joseph Kabila’s Congo (including U.S. and Israeli minerals cartels, weapons dealers and money-laundering operations) support the new western Congo RESISTANCE forces. These interests operate through regional power brokers, e.g., in Gabon, Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa.
“AFRICOM under the Obama administration has major base constructions and secret deployments across Central Africa.”
In mid-November President Joseph Kabila secretly airlifted a battalion of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) across Congo to crush the rebellion. Comprised of former Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels who overthrew the government of Juvenal Habyarimana in Rwanda (1990-1994), the RDF joined Kabila’s COALITION, which includes MONUC troops from the international “peacekeeping” mission and Tutsi Rwandan soldiers infiltrated by Rwanda, with the Kabila government’s support, into Congo’s national army, the FARDC. RDF forces, moved to Congo from Rwanda exclusively for the operation, were uniformed as Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC).2
Thus western Congo is awash in bloodshed involving COALITION forces backed by AFRICOM, Belgium and Israel. Amongst the biggest Kabila supporters are the U.S.-Israeli Dan Gertler, Moshe Schnitzer and Benny Steinmetz families, also holders to Congo’s most lucrative (copper/cobalt) mines.
MONUC Hides Equateur Conflict
The Tutsi forces in the FARDC include infiltrated Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF, formerly Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army) and “ex-”CNDP forces from the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), the extremist terrorist militia that sprouted out of the Kivu Provinces but is heavily backed by Rwanda and infiltrated with thousands of extremist Tutsis.
The secret infiltration and official integration of Rwandan forces into Congo was a strategic maneuver championed by Rwandan general James Kabarebe and Paul Kagame, both wanted for war crimes by the Spanish and French courts. Rwanda’s Kagame is the primary cause of the massive destabilization of Eastern Congo.
The leaders of the rebellion in western Equateur Province have reportedly forged an alliance with General Dunia, a Mai Mai leader operating against the joint operations of the Kabila COALITION in South Kivu, eastern Congo, and site of Canadian BANRO Gold Corporation’s massive illegal gold concessions. Mai-Mai forces in Congo are highly nationalist Congolese. In late 2009, Mai-Mai leaders issued a communiqué and declaration of war against Joseph Kabila and his foreign and corporate allies.
South Kivu human rights groups have documented BANRO’s links to local terrorism, yet not one mainstream western media source has reported or even named the pivotal western mining interests—including BANRO, Moto Gold (Walter Kansteiner), Mwana Africa, Heritage Oil & Gas—behind the war and plunder in blood-drenched eastern Congo.
“Rwanda’s Kagame is the primary cause of the massive destabilization of Eastern Congo.”
Many Congolese people have long since known that the president of their country has supported a secret extremist “Tutsi” alliance that seeks to dominate Central Africa. His real name is Hypolitté Kanambe, formerly a junior Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) officer plucked from the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) forces.
It is widely supported that Joseph Kabila reported directly to RPF/A commanders James Kabarebe and Paul Kagame in the Pentagon-backed AFDL “rebellion” that overthrew President Joseph Mobutu in Zaire (Congo); there are also claims that Kabila was a soldier in the RPF/A during the multiple genocides orchestrated by Kagame’s extremist Tutsi RPF/A in Rwanda (1990-1994).
The term “extremist Tutsi” applies only to the elite secretive organization, formerly the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A), which exists in parallel with the parliamentary government of Rwanda. RDF troops are not exclusively Tutsi, but are controlled by the extremist Tutsi network maintained by Paul Kagame, General James Kabarebe and others of the 40 top war criminals indicted by the Spanish court on Feb. 6, 2008.
After seizing power in July of 1994, the extremist Tutsi network continued to perpetrate atrocities, including massacres, assassinations, tortures and disappearances, and the network moved into Congo-Zaire in 1996. The modus operandi of the Kagame terrorist network is to perpetrate crimes and blame them on victim populations (Hutus, FDLR, Mai Mai, Congolese civilians, even Tutsi dissidents). The western media plays along.
A major source of ongoing conflict in the DRC’s Kivu provinces, Rwandan Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, was rewarded in January 2009 for playing along with the Kabila COALITION charade of “arresting” Rwandan war criminal Gen. Laurent Nkunda, another perpetrator of war crimes who received Washington’s blessings for several years. One of few points to their credit, the U.N. Panel of Experts, in their report of November 2009, exposed the appointment of Gen. Bosco Ntaganda as CNDP-FARDC commander, which Kagame and Kabila officially denied.
“Not one mainstream western media source has reported or even named the pivotal western mining interests behind the war and plunder in blood-drenched eastern Congo.”
The International Criminal Court indicted General Bosco Ntaganda for war crimes committed in DRC in May 2008. The ICC is a political instrument used to selectively target certain individuals and militias, while ignoring more substantial state sanctioned actors like Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Yoweri Museveni, Maurice Templesman, or former U.S. National Security Council member Walter Kansteiner, all deeply behind the war and plunder in DRC.
Gen. Ntaganda commanded CNDP-FARDC units responsible for massive war crimes under the joint “Kimia” operations launched with MONUC backing in eastern Congo in January 2009. Ntaganda’s role is to work from the inside to destabilize eastern Congo in exchange for Kabila and Kagame protecting him from the ICC.
The current death toll in the eastern provinces of Congo alone stands at some 1,000 people per day, with at least ten million dead in Congo since the U.S. invasion of 1996, with millions of refugees in the Great Lakes member states. Rwandan allied forces in DRC are perpetrating genocide at present in North Kivu, and the western media and “humanitarian” agencies have remained silent. More than 15,000 IDPs were registered between December 2009 and January 2010, with thousands more IDPs reported hiding in North Kivu forests.
Violence in eastern Congo is universally and falsely blamed on the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), but in fact violence is primarily due to Rwandan allied forces. Additionally, more than 168,000 people have been uprooted due to recent fighting in Western Congo.7
Congo-Brazzaville has harbored the ex-Forces Armées Zaïroises (ex-FAZ) since the overthrow of President Mobutu in 1997, and it harbors Rwandans that fled the AFDL genocide against Hutu refugees in Congo-Zaire (1996-1997).8 There may be some 300 ex-MLC (Movement for the Liberation of Congo) rebels and more than 10,000 ex-FAZ involved in the western rebellion.
Equateur Province is the site of major untapped petroleum reserves. Belgian, French, Portuguese, German and U.S. families and corporations control vast tracts under attack by industrial logging. There are also Western-owned plantations with modern day slavery involving tens of thousands of Congolese people subject to terrorism by state paramilitary services.9
Resistance Patriots of Dongo
In March 2009 the Western press reported a “tribal dispute” and “ethnic clash over fishing rights” in the little Western Congo outback town of Dongo. The dispute reportedly began between two different ethnic groups. However, the “Resistance Patriots of Dongo” claim that government agents manipulated the parties of the dispute and escalated armed hostilities.
In October 2009 President Kabila and top military adviser John Numbi dispatched FARDC troops under the command of Gen. Benjamin Alongaboni to Dongo to negotiate peace with resistance forces. Gen. Alongaboni, a Congolese son hailing from Equateur Province and the first FARDC officer on the scene, secured a negotiated peace with Dongo area combatants.
Soon after, however, President Kabila sent RDF forces—in FARDC uniforms—who enraged Congolese in the region and provoked hostilities by killing some local people and undermining peace negotiations. The Resistance Patriots of Dongo retaliated and Congolese FARDC troops under the command of Gen. Alongaboni defected.
Meanwhile, the “Dongo Crisis” blossomed into a full-blown Congolese rebellion against international occupation forces and the powerful Kabila-Kagame clique. Hundreds of Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC)—of ethnic Congolese origin—reportedly deserted and joined rebellion ranks with Congolese civilians and various military elements of past rebellions.
Bound for the Dongo rebellion in mid-November, Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) crossed Lake Kivu from Gisenyi to Goma, DRC, and were then flown from Goma to Kamina Air Base in Katanga, a military transport hub used for the Belgo-American-U.N. mercenary occupations during the Katanga secession (1960-63) and “Congo Crises” (1964–67). The RDF battalion was next flown to Bandundu Province.
“Hundreds of Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC)—of ethnic Congolese origin—reportedly deserted and joined rebellion ranks with Congolese civilians and various military elements of past rebellions.”
The RDF troops were reportedly next moved onto the 42-acre campus of the U.S. Embassy-affiliated American School in Kinshasa (TASOK), near the notorious Camp Tshatshi military base, and then flown to Gemena airport in Equateur. The Colonel Tshatshi Military Camp in Kinshasa is the FARDC military command headquarters. The TASOK campus was used for RDF troops because Rwandans would not be welcome amongst Congolese-FARDC at Camp Tshatshi.
There were at least three round trips in some legs of the RDF flight plan reportedly using both MONUC and Hewa Bora Airlines, an airline 70 percent owned by Belgian arms trafficker Philippe de Moerloose. In the “leaked” November 2009 U.N. Panel of Experts Report on Illegal Exploitation in the Congo, Philippe De Moerloose and Hewa Bora Airlines were named for weapons shipments from Sudan to Congo in violation of the International Arms Embargo on the DRC.10 De Moerloose supplies Kabila with presidential jets and other war toys.
Attempting to discredit the High Court in Spain for its issuing of international war crimes indictments against 40 top Rwandan military officials, the U.N. Panel of Experts Report also falsely accused Spanish non-government organizations affiliated with the judicial war crimes investigations of backing “terrorist” groups in eastern Congo.
The Resistance Patriots of Dongo have inflicted high casualties on the Kabila Coalition forces dispatched to Equateur. MONUC issued one tiny press report on Nov. 26, after resistance forces shot up a MONUC helicopter that flew to Dongo to resupply the Coalition ground troops. Some 2000 of the coalition troops were reported killed in February and March.
A short Western media propaganda blurb titled “Armed group claims firing at UN chopper in DRC,” Agence France-Presse attempted to discredit the rebellion and cover for MONUC’s involvement in open military aggression against Congolese people.
The AFP described the conflict as purely tribal and framed it as ruthless savage Africans killing with machetes. The MONUC chopper apparently was attacked on Nov. 26.11
Dongo War Not Connected to Eastern Congo?
“The fighting is not related to the simmering conflict in the mineral-rich eastern borderlands,” Reuters wrote, “where the army – backed by thousands of peacekeepers – are attempting to stamp out local, Rwandan, and Ugandan rebels.”12
On Dec. 3, 2009, Belgian newspapers La Libre Belgique and RTLM reported that Belgium’s Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere and Defense Minister Pieter De Crem had responded to the communiqué of the Resistance Patriots of Dongo, circulated on the Internet on Dec. 1, which warned Belgium and Kinshasa that the resistance knew of the secret plan to dispatch paratroopers to Kisangani. The two Belgian ministries issued a joint communiqué denying denying the secret plan.13
According to Kinshasa sources, the MONUC-uniformed Belgians would be flown from Kisangani, Orientale Province, to Equateur Province’s northwestern frontier city of Gbadolite — the stronghold of former President Mobutu and rebel warlord Jean Pierre Bemba — and then to Gemena airport near Dongo.14
Soon after the Resistance Patriots of Dongo forces occupied the frontier city of Libenge, President Kabila dispatched 600 elite FARDC commandos trained by 60 Belgian Armed Forces instructors at Kamina Air base.
Sources in Kinshasa on Dec. 5 reported: “massive violent fighting in Libenge and Gemena areas,” involving 1,000 Congolese National Police (PNC) and 100 Ghanaian MONUC troops and two MONUC helicopter gunships.15
The MONUC “peacekeeping” enterprise in Congo is a $1 billion a year operation involving contracts with Lockheed Martin subsidiary Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE).
On December 14, 2009, the Spanish Press Agency SAPA and Agence France-Presse reported that DRC government troops fighting against “tribal forces” had taken back the town of Dongo, with the tribal forces being “led by the animist priest Udjani.”16 The article maintained the ongoing silence about high casualties.
“Scores of Kabila Coalition troops (allegedly including “white” mercenaries) were massacred.”
The international news media was completely silent after government forces that had reentered Dongo by December 14 suffered a crushing defeat when resistance forces sprang a trap: scores of Kabila Coalition troops (allegedly including “white” mercenaries) were massacred.
On December 16, 2009, the MONUC spokesman in Kinshasa DRC announced that MONUC troops were deployed in Dongo in Equateur province “to sustain the joint PNC/FARDC operations aimed at re-establishing order [sic] and state authority…”17
MONUC transferred some 500 regular MONUC Ghanaian, Tunisian and Egyptian “peacekeepers” to Equateur province from the eastern Congo’s conflict areas in Orientale and the Kivus, along with Armored Personnel Carriers, weapons, and transport and combat helicopters. MONUC also deployed Guatemalan Special Forces to the Equateur region.
On December 22, New York’s Bloomberg News reported with a news brief deepening the racist mythology portraying this as African savagery and superstition.
“The Enyele leader is a mystic named Udjani,” wrote Michael J. Kavanagh, reporting for Bloomberg from Kinshasa (DRC) and Impfondo (Republic of Congo), referring to the Enyele tribe, “who claims to have a magical sword that can poison people and pass its powers to the curved machetes wielded by many of his followers, witnesses said.”18
Sources working for MONUC in Kisangani confirm that there are Belgian troops in Kisangani, with “one or two” Hercules C-130 Belgian military aircraft.
Resistance forces and Kabila’s Coalition forces engaged in major battles since January with many top military officers of the Kabila Coalition killed. Sources claim that Kabila Coalition forces have used incendiary bombs causing huge civilian casualties. A key intelligence source in Kinshasa insists that Belgian paratroopers were on the ground in Equateur and, unprepared for the organized resistance they encountered, were forced to retreat after some (unknown) number were wounded and killed. MONUC troops have also been engaged in the fighting, in continued violation of the U.N. “peacekeeping” mandate.
Election Slogans and Empty Promises (Sound Familiar?)
In the beginning, many Congolese supported President Kanambe, alias Kabila, ignoring his origins, hoping that he would share power, that he would develop the Congo, build roads and schools and, especially, that he would forestall and evict Ugandan and Rwandan agents, provocateurs, mining cartels and war criminals from the 1996-2001 war years. They were the usual empty promises made by the usual empty politicians.
The plan has all along been to colonize Congo through Rwanda. This involves eliminating as many Congolese people as possible to control their land, balkanizing the Congo and creating a “Republic of the Volcanoes” (Republique des Volcans) as Clinton-Bush official Herman Cohen has repeatedly called for since the U.S.-backed invasion of 1996.
For years now several high visibility Western intelligence organizations, in particular the groups ENOUGH, STAND, Genocide Intervention Network, and the RAISE HOPE FOR CONGO—created and funded by the International Crisis Group and Center for American Progress—have lobbied college students and Western governments to action. Legislation backed by these intelligence fronts includes the “LRA Disarmament Act” (Lord’s Resistance Army), the so-called ‘Blood Minerals’ legislation, and the “Violence Against Women Act” (Resolution 1888). The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is blamed for all terrorism in the northern Uganda region, which is awash in oil, thus shielding the organized war crimes of Ugandan President Museveni and his western allies, just as the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are blamed to shield the Kagame terror networks.
“The Western media perpetually broadcasts the suffering in Congo, but the propaganda is simplistic disinformation.”
William Jefferson Clinton’s former national security insider John Prendergast is the leading cheerleader for these groups, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s help, and with John Podesta, Tom Daschle and Madeleine Albright, behind the scenes. John Prendergast was the expert of choice for CBS 60 Minutes’ “Blood Minerals” broadcast, nationally televised in the United States on Nov. 29, 2009, which was an advertisement for ENOUGH, the International Rescue Committee and so-called “humanitarian” organizations. These lobby and flak entities are working to displace and neutralize all true international grassroots efforts to help the Congolese people take control of their own resources and future, and they cover for hidden Western interests; they also advance military solutions over diplomatic or other peaceful solutions.
The Western media perpetually broadcasts the suffering in Congo, but the propaganda is simplistic disinformation, and the Western “news”-consuming public eats it up and dismisses the Congo, abandoning the people whose lives are determined in part by the raw materials stolen from them in a state of war and organized crime. These include diamonds, gold, columbium-tantalite, cobalt, copper, petroleum, germanium, tin, tungsten, palm oil, coffee and chocolate (sold in Whole Foods groceries stores). But the value of Congo’s greatest natural “resource” exceeds the value of all the above resources combined: the biggest western moneymaker in Congo is humanitarian aid, charity and international relief—Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF, UNHCR—a.k.a., and the misery industry.
In mid-March actorvist Ben Affleck launched yet the latest western “humanitarian” enterprise in eastern Congo. Affleck’s “humanitarianism” operates behind the western disinformation campaign that charges Congolese men with using “rape as a weapon of war”—an agenda also pushed by Eve Ensler (of Vagina Monologues fame)—but fails to address the true perpetrators of crimes, including the many mining, private military, intelligence and other military interests involved in bloodshed and plunder. The “rape as a weapon of war” framework facilitates western ignorance of the true perpetrators of war, including western agents, weapons brokers, mercenary companies, proxy forces, NATO and AFRICOM, and U.S. brokered military hardware (AK-47s, rockets, armored personnel carriers, tanks, grenades, surface-to-air missiles). Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of “rape as a weapon of war” in July 2009 covered up her negotiations with Joseph Kabila regarding the Clinton aligned diamond interests in DRC.
“The ‘rape as a weapon of war’ framework facilitates western ignorance of the true perpetrators of war, including western agents, weapons brokers, mercenary companies, proxy forces, NATO and AFRICOM.”
Affleck’s new Congo initiative is funded by Howard Buffet, whose powerful holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has diverse business interests involved in the Great Lakes. Berkshire Hathaway has an 18.2% stake in the Washington Post and the Buffet’s agribusinesses in Africa are entrenching Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) crops. The Buffets are tight with Bill and Melinda Gates, all close business partners with the Clinton’s in Rwanda and Uganda. In September 2008, Bill Gates, Howard Buffet, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni met at the United Nations headquarters to launch their GMO partnership “Purchase for Progress” with the UN’s World Food Program. Affleck also has his own private business interests facilitated by the Kagame regime in Kigali, and like Gates and Buffet he comes and goes from Kigali on a private jet. Washington Post reportage on Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan is a complete whitewash of western interests.
Rwanda has become the Pentagon’s main base and center of military operations in Africa, and this partnership involves Israel.
On January 28, 2009, sources in Congo reported that Joseph Kabila narrowly survived another assassination attempt, the third this year, with his bodyguard taking the bullet. Meanwhile, violent fighting continued in Equateur province into March, with Kabila coalition troops allegedly arresting and torturing civilians and accusing them of being rebels, including boys as young as 10, and widely committing summary executions. This is a massive violation of international law; AFRICOM and MONUC officials know it is happening; United Nations officials in New York know it is happening;19 and the western press is silent.
In Mid-March, at an exclusive United States Institute for Peace meeting in Washington, DC, AFRICOM spokesman Mark Swayne dismissed any AFRICOM involvement in these covert operations by responding that such reports are “irrelevant.” The USIP has funded pro-Kagame disinformation campaigns since the early 1990’s, shielding U.S. involvement in Central African war crimes and genocide. AFRICOM information campaigns exclusively project an image of U.S. troops being only involved in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.
“There are some 300 Ugandans backing the US in Afghanistan and more than 10,000 Ugandans in Iraq, with more than 3000 Rwandans reported to be in Darfur.”
Curiously, at the same USIP meeting, Mark Swayne reportedly “apologized” for AFRICOM’s use of Ugandans in building the new AFRICOM base under construction in Kisangani, Congo. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni—through his wife and brother Salim Saleh’s organized crime networks and the Ugandan military—are hated for more than a decade of plunder and terror in Congo. The Pentagon’s own web site identifies the elite U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as “training” Congolese troops in Kisangani, DRC, and Swayne did not reveal that the Ugandans are mercenaries likely affiliated to the western mercenary-linked oil companies (Heritage Oil & Gas, Hardman Resources, H Oil) operating in the Lake Albert basin on the DRC-Uganda border.
AFRICOM, NATO and private military companies Dyncorp and PAE (Pacific Architect & Engineers, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin) have also been training and flying Ugandan and Rwandan troops to the U.S.-European-Israeli wars in Somalia and Sudan (Darfur). There are some 300 Ugandans backing the US in Afghanistan and more than 10,000 Ugandans in Iraq, with more than 3000 Rwandans in Darfur.
In December 2009, a group of Congolese chiefs sent an open letter to U.S. President Barrack Obama proclaiming a “categorical refusal of your AFRICOM Project in the Congo.”
AFRICOM, NATO and private military companies Dyncorp and PAE (Pacific Architect & Engineers, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin) have been “training” and flying Ugandan and Rwandan troops to the US-European-Israeli wars in Somalia and Sudan (Darfur). There are some 300 Ugandans backing the US in Afghanistan and more than 10,000 Ugandans in Iraq, with more than 3000 Rwandans reported to be in Darfur. An unknown number of Rwandan soldiers are also in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there are allegations that “peacekeeping” sorties sent to Darfur, Sudan, may actually serve as cover for military personnel and hardware actually bound from Rwanda to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Sudan is exploding as you read this, and the huge Rwandan deployments might be behind new violence. These are Rwandan and Ugandan troops responsible for the most egregious war crimes in all the Great Lakes countries.
On April 4, 2010, rebellion insurgents crossed the Congo river and attacked the provincial capital of Mbandaka. Two MONUC troops were killed, and many more wounded after insurgents attacked the governor’s residence and took the Mbandaka airport. By April 9 the government FARDC forces and MONUC had regained the airport leaving three MONUC troops dead. The story finally broke onto the pages of the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream press, but all continue to hide deeper interests and distort the realities. The heavily populated city of Mbandaka was described as a “ghost town” and reporting ignored civilian casualties.20,21,22
Keith Harmon Snow is an independent human rights investigator and war correspondent who worked with Survivors Rights International (2005-2006), Genocide Watch (2005-2006) and the United Nations (2006) to document and expose genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan and Ethiopia. He has worked in 17 countries in Africa, and he recently worked in Afghanistan. Read other articles by Keith, or visit Keith's website.
2. For this report these RDF-disguised troops will be designated “RDF” (Rwandan Defense Forces) to separate them from other FARDC troops with Rwandan allegiances.
3. See, e.g., Spain’s Feb. 6, 2008, indictments issued by High Court Judge Andreu Merelles charging 40 current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials with serious crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, perpetrated over a period of 12 years, from 1990 to 2002, against the civilian population and primarily against members of the Hutu ethnic group.
7. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and OCHA.
8. Private investigations, Democratic Republic of Congo, July-August 2006 and February-March 2007.
9. The Elwyn Blattner Groupe plantation holdings are revealed in the 2008 documentary film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty by Dutch filmmaker Renzo Martens. [
10. United Nations: Letter dated Nov. 9, 2009, from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004), “leaked” November 2009.
12. Joe Bavier, “Congo gunmen fire at U.N. helicopter, five wounded,” Reuters, Nov. 26, 2009.
13. Belga, “La Belgique dément tout projet d’envoi de troupes en RDC,” RTBF, Dec. 3, 2009. ["Belgium denies all project of sending of troops to DRC."]
16. “DR Congo troops take back town from tribal forces: Govt.” SAPA-AFP, December 14, 2009.
17. “Equateur [DRC]: An extra 500 MONUC troops being deployed to Dongo,” MONUC Press Briefing, December 16,2009.
19. Direct communications with high-level United Nations officials in New York confirmed in late January 2010 that UN officials in New York were discussing the Equateur conflict, but that there were (paraphrased) “conflicting interpretations of the facts.”