[Francophones] les rivaux en Nord Kivu (New York Times en anglais)

Bishop bishop at tec-europe.org
Sam 13 Déc 09:32:04 GMT 2008


article qui v de pair avec celui du Monde...

+Pierre Whalon

December 13, 2008
Militias in Congo Tied to Government and Rwanda

GOMA, Congo — A report to the United Nations Security Council by a  
panel of independent experts found evidence of links between senior  
officials of the Congolese and Rwandan governments and the armed  
groups fighting in eastern Congo. The findings portray a complex proxy  
struggle between the nations, with each using armed forces based in  
the area to pursue political, financial and security objectives in a  
region ravaged by conflict.

The report, which was based on months of independent research in the  
region, gives the clearest picture yet of the underpinnings of the  
fighting in eastern Congo, revealing a sordid network of intertwined  
interests in Congo and Rwanda that have fueled the continuing chaos.

Tiny Rwanda and its vast neighbor to the west, Congo, have long been  
connected by a shared history of ethnic strife. In the aftermath of  
the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Hutu militias that carried out the  
killing fled into Congo, then known as Zaire.

In 1996, Rwanda backed a rebel force led by Laurent Kabila that  
ultimately toppled Congo’s longtime president, Mobutu Sese Seko. The  
initial aim had been to capture the Hutu fighters who had carried out  
the genocide, but the fighting devolved into a frenzy of plundering of  
Congo’s minerals, spawning a conflict that drew in half a dozen  
nations and left as many as five million people dead. Most died of  
hunger and disease.

The report’s findings on the current conflict are likely to strain  
already tense relations between the countries, providing ammunition  
for each. Congolese officials have accused Rwanda of supporting Tutsi  
rebels led by a renegade general from the same ethnic group as much of  
Rwanda’s establishment.

Rwanda has accused Congo’s government of colluding with an armed group  
led by some of the Hutu militia who carried out the 1994 genocide in  
Rwanda. These are the fighters who fled afterward to Congo and  
eventually formed a group known by its French abbreviation, the  
F.D.L.R. It preys on Congolese civilians and enriches itself with the  
country’s gold, tin and coltan, a mineral used in making the tiny  
processors in electronic equipment.

The independent experts found extensive evidence of high-level  
communication between the government of Rwanda and the Tutsi rebel  
group known as the Congress for the Defense of the People, led by the  
renegade general Laurent Nkunda, based on reviews of satellite phone  

The report said that the calls were “frequent and long enough to  
indicate at least extensive sharing of information.”

In interviews, several of General Nkunda’s fighters described Rwandan  
soldiers’ helping the rebels inside Congo, according to the report.  
Rwandan soldiers also helped bring recruits, some of them children, to  
Congo’s border to fight in General Nkunda’s rebellion, the report said.

It also investigated how General Nkunda was paying for his militia,  
documenting hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for taxes in  
territory that he controls. The report also named prominent business  
executives who had backed him financially.

Congo’s military, meanwhile, has been collaborating with the Hutu  
militia that is led by the authors of the Rwandan genocide, according  
to the report. The weak and undisciplined Congolese Army has  
frequently relied on help from these fighters in battling General  
Nkunda’s troops.

In exchange for ammunition, the militia fighters have helped in  
numerous offensives, the report said, citing by name several senior  
Congolese military officers who had handed over matériel to the Hutu  
forces. According to satellite phone records, senior military and  
intelligence figures in Congo have spoken frequently with top Hutu  
militia leaders.

“It is obvious that Rwandan authorities and Congolese authorities are  
aware of support provided to rebel groups,” Jason K. Stearns, the  
coordinator for the five-member panel that produced the report, said  
Friday at a news conference at the United Nations. “They haven’t done  
anything to bring it to an end.”

He said the Congolese government said that it had no policy to aid the  
Hutu militia but that there might be support from individual military  
commanders. Both governments said that telephone records showing  
conversations between officials and rebels did not constitute support,  
he added.

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from the United Nations.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
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