Special Reports

Congo Rebels: Defence Ministers’ Kampala Meeting Heats Up

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The sub-committee of Defence ministers from Angola, Burundi, Congo, DRC, Rwanda Uganda and Tanzania was formed during a meeting of regional presidents in Kampala on August 8.

Uganda is represented by Minister Crispus Kiyonga while Rwanda has sent Gen. James Kabarebe to the meeting which is mandated to propose urgent actionable steps to ensure that fighting stops completely in Eastern Congo to allow for consolidation of peace, security and stability.

Chaired by Kiyonga, the ministerial meeting will also provide details on the operationalization of the neutral international force which will soon be deployed in DRC.

Kiyonga will subsequently present the deliberations of the meeting to President Yoweri Museveni who is the Chairperson of the ICGLR.

Kiyonga told press on the sidelines of the Summit that their report was ready and would be handed over to Museveni on Friday.

President Museveni will then invite ICGLR presidents to discuss a final report of the ministers and find solutions to the instability in Kivu.

Diplomatic sources say DRC officials today tried to argue that Rwanda is to blame for the crisis and should not contribute soldiers to the International Force.

However, DRC faced resistance from Kiyonga who said that was immaterial and premature.

“Let’s first give our report to the President. We cannot talk about exclusion now because all of us are seeking a solution to this problem. The presidents meeting will determine who should participate by sending troops,” Kiyonga was quoted as saying.

He added: “Whoever wants to reject the contribution of troops by any country will have a chance to do so at the right time.”

The Kampala Summit comes at a time when DRC and Rwanda are engaged in a cold war over the rebel activities in the eastern part of the country.

Gen. Kabarebe early this week accused DRC of concocting evidence and peddling lies that Rwanda was reinforcing M23 rebels as a cover up for the Kinshasha government’s political weaknesses.

Kabarebe further blamed Congo for segregating the CNDP soldiers who were integrated in FARDC in 2009 and poorly feeding soldiers who would not even “kill a rat.”

On the other hand, DRC has asked United Nations to put sanctions on Rwanda’s military leadership which Kinshasha accuses of fomenting trouble in the country.

Rwanda has vehemently denied contributing “even a single bullet” to the crisis.

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