Young Hutus are massively joining FDLR to escape “oppression” from Kigali

A recent article from Belgian International Radio Television channel (RTBF) has reported that young Rwandan men are massively fleeing Rwanda to join the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)in eastern DRC. Unfortunately, only the French version of the article is available online and can be found here (http://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/de-jeunes-hutu-joignent-les-fdlr-pour-fuir-loppression-de-kigali-60789 ). However, I have also provided the English version below. 

Paul Kagame, the current Rwandan president, claims that Rwandans must view themselves only as Rwandans and stop using the words “Hutu” and “Tutsi”.
This view is mostly meant to convince western sponsors that RPF is doing a great job at bringing about unity and reconciliation in Rwanda.

On the ground, the untold truth is that this view is mainly meant to cover up not only the RPF’s fear about facing democratic elections in Rwanda but also the RPF ‘s inability to handle the actual state of Hutu-Tutsi problems in Rwanda. 

Since coming to power in 1994, the RPF regime has been desperately trying to underestimate and ignore the existence of such Hutu-Tutsi problems in Rwanda. Several testimonies from the FDLR new recruits attest that the citizens in Rwanda (majority who happen to be Hutu farmers) are exploited under a highly sophisticated economic system to the full benefits of the RPF and other ruling elites.

In order to set up a joint operational plan to uproot the FDLR in eastern DRC, several high-level meetings between Rwandan and DRC officials have been taking place for years but all of them failed to come up with any realistic solution to this crisis (http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=13735&article=11441).

It is important to recall that one should not ignore that the origin of the current DRC crisis is in Kigali not in the eastern DRC. The presence of the FDLR combatants in DRC is a direct consequence of the RPF sinister plan in the DRC. 

Indeed, in the aftermaths of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Rwanda has invaded the DRC twice, in order to track down the ex-Rwandan Army Forces (FAR) inside the DRC, exterminate them, and install its allies in Kinshasa.

To achieve this goal, the RPF massacred at least 200,000 Rwandan refugees inside the DRC. It even tried hard to conceal evidence for these mass killings by burning victim corpses and scattering the ashes away in the forest and/ or in the river.

These proxy wars inside the DRC forced some survivors of the massacres of the Rwandan refugee of 1996 and 1997 by the RPF soldiers to stand up and defend themselves against these strenuous enemies.

The birth of the FDLR in DRC was a direct consequence of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the RPF sinister plan in the DRC.
Therefore, attempting to solve the current DRC crisis without addressing its root causes that are in Rwanda, is nothing else than pulling the wool over the public opinion’s eyes.

Despite the fact that up to date, Rwanda continues to stir deadly brew of troubles in Congo (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/africa/04congo.html), there are still reasons to believe that the Obama administration might not follow the same failed US foreign policies of the past in Africa.

A realistic approach to the current DRC crisis should include tackling the current political deadlock in Kigali. In other words, a democratically elected government is urgently needed in Kigali.

Such a democratically elected government in Kigali would not need to sponsor any armed groups in eastern DRC. In addition, a democratically elected government in Kigali would refuse to offer back-up bases to any Congolese armed groups whose rebellions would therefore die off shortly.

Concerning the FDLR combatants, a democratically elected government in Kigali would not be afraid to directly discuss with them. Direct talks between these combatants and the democratically elected government in Kigali would set up new relationships under which the armed struggle would become meaningless.

The FDLR combatants would therefore not have any reason to refuse to face justice in Rwanda, should some of them have to respond for their acts, just as any other Rwandan in similar situation would have to, especially the RPF members who are internationally accused of several crimes, including crimes against humanity.

Finally, a democratically elected government in Kigali would provide impartial justice for all Rwandans without any discrimination. There will be no need to send the FDLR combatants elsewhere. Their home is in Rwanda not any where else.

According to Professor Peter Erlinder, the decision to end the current DRC crisis should come from the US and the UK, the only countries that have the power to not only remove any support for the military and economic crimes of their allies in the region but also to cut off any private capitals that continue to fuel Africa’s wars (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/11/18-2).

Young Hutus are massively joining FDLR to escape “oppression” from Kigali

“Manhandled are the Hutus in Rwanda”, said a new recruit of the Rwandan Hutu rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Oppressed and no decent future in Kigali, young Hutus are massively fleeing Rwanda to plunge into radical ideology and conflict in eastern DRC.

At Lushebere in eastern DRC, these young recruits of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) patrol around a rebellion resort.

The FDLR combatants, some of which have participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which, according to the UN, claimed about 800,000 deaths mainly among the minority Tutsi, operate in eastern DRC.

They are currently fighting alongside the Congolese army against the rebels of the former Congolese Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda.

With a green beret and a rasta necklace, Claude, who appeared younger than 22 years old, fixes his interlocutor with a disturbing regard while explaining his escape from the RPF massacre in Rwanda.

“My father was accused of being a genocidaire and has been imprisoned unjustly. I have been chased away,” he said to AFP, maintaining his AK-47 rifle between his boots.

“In late 2005, the RPF government led by Paul Kagame tried to force me to enter the military services to fight the FDLR. I preferred to flee for my safety,” he continues.

The current Rwandan President Kagame led the RPF, former Tutsi rebellion, which ended the genocide by taking power in Kigali in July 1994.

After passing through Burundi, Claude arrived in the Congolese province of South Kivu where he joined the FDLR.

“The Hutus in Rwanda are harassed by the Tutsi (…). They are speachless and have difficulty finding any job,” he protests.

According to the spokesman of FDLR, Lieutenant-Colonel Edmond Ngarambe, the movement has “received an influx of youth” since 2006, because of the ongoing trials organized by the “gacaca” courts Rwandan people responsible for trying alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

“Every day, people are fleeing oppression in Rwanda”, he said, denying that the FDLR may practice forced recruitment. He criticizes “a spirit of domination in the current Tutsi regime” in Kigali, “which does not evolve.”

Emmanuel, 22 years old, had first fled Rwanda in 1994 – before returning back home shortly after – then a second takeover in 2007.

According to his testimony, after being injustly ousted during a competitive examination for admission in college and replaced by a Tutsi student, he decided to join his compatriots in eastern Congo.”

“Life is not harder (in the rebellion); that is  what pushed me to flee,” says Emmanuel, even though he was apparently aflicted by a malaria crisis.

“I look forward -as anyone here- to returning to Rwanda and regain my human rights one day”, he says hardening his face.

Many young Hutus who fled Rwanda after the Rwandan genocide, grew up in eastern DRC and freely decided to join the FDLR.

In a Torn uniform, his cap lying on the barrel of his gun, Simeon, 20, talks about “the extermination of his entire family” during an RPF attack in his village in 1994 and his escape to the DRC. He also talks about ” a warm welcome” he received within the FDLR family, which he joined 4 years ago.

In his 25 years, another youth who wished to remain anonymous claims to have already spent ten years in the rebellion.

“During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when my parents were killed by the RPF, I fled to the DRC. The RPF continued to track us throught DRC even inside Congo Brazzaville. The FDLR organization is the only parents I now have, he says.

“My goal is to return to Rwanda one day and not  to permanently stay here. In the meantime, preserving my life is my priorities, he says.

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3 Responses

  1. Nice blog post!

    Many thanks to Khante for such a realistic approach to the current civil war in the Congo.

    This is exactly what The Economist meant when its editor said recently that: “Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is best placed to rein in General Nkunda’s men, and must be pressed to do so, with the threat of aid withheld if he does not. In the long run, he must also make political space in Rwanda for the Hutu rebel forces who maraud through eastern Congo and give General Nkunda a pretext for his depredations.”

    The article in full can found at the following link:
    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12511143

  2. Thanks for the great post Khante, and thank you for your contribution. Way to make an introduction!

    Both your blog post and the article bring up great points that Kagame and the RPF need to face up to. They need to address why there are so many citizens fleeing the country to fight their government. Why are so many dissatisfied with the government? They could also very well address the DRC conflict in the region, however, we know that Kagame is not very interested in actually stopping the war. His profit comes from maintaining and fueling the war. So I don’t know that the FDLR is a problem his is interested in actually solving. Instead, he uses the FDLR as a cover as to why he continues to maraud the Congo.

    Also, your suggestion that only a democratically elected government can end these conflicts is right on. We know that the problems in the Congo stem directly from Rwanda and the RPF specifically. However, Kagame still has a lot of international support as many believe that he is a savior. Therefore, suggesting that a new government is needed is somewhat a radical idea, considering that many think Kagame is the best thing to happen to Rwanda. However, he is not a hero. He is the worst type of criminal there is.

  3. I thank my uncle who helped from war,where rpf have been needed to kill us,inspite the oppretion we are facing now.but we believe in allah its a few days to go so all will be ok “i mean streams’is over” all who still in congo be patient.

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