Kagame Orders Army: Prepare For War
Before he traveled for the Family Planning Summit in London, President Gen. Paul Kagame on Tuesday night put Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) on war footing in preparation for a defensive shield against the growing rebel FDLR threat.
Kagame instructed his military chiefs to deploy elite Special Forces at the border stretch with Congo to reinforce security following intelligence that FDLR rebels had received supplies to attack Rwanda.
Sources in the Rwanda military have told Chimpreports.com that heavy artillery, war planes and highly trained commandos have been stationed at 2nd Division in preparation for any eventuality.
Multiple sources reported hundreds of military trucks in recent days transported and stationed tanks at the periphery of Rwanda-Congo border “to serve as a defensive posture.”
Convinced that FDLR are now ready to bomb Rwanda, Kagame’s most trusted war reserve force is now carrying out drills and carrying out reconnaissance missions in the region to defend the country.
Kagame was reportedly briefed that three weeks ago, exiled External security boss Col. Patrick Karegeya had sneaked into Congo to build alliances with FDLR and coordinate a war plan on Rwanda.
While Karegeya and former Chief of Staff Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa have vehemently denied being in touch with Rwanda rebels in Congo, Kagame has on several occasions maintained the pair have been bringing together several groups to destablise the country.
There are also reports that some Congolese generals had supplied military logistics to FDLR to attack Rwanda in retaliation for Kigali’s alleged complicity in the FARDC mutiny.
This is one of the reasons why Kagame early this month dispatched a team of generals led by Defence Minister Gen. James Kabareebe to Goma to analyse the situation on the ground.
Speaking to the media at his office last month, Kagame vowed to defeat any dangerous elements who threaten peace of his country.
“We don’t respond to blackmail. Whoever finds us here we will fight,” warned Kagame.
“Forget FDLR, forget Bosco Ntaganda, in the end if this nonsense continues of putting blame on our shoulders, we will throw off the blame back to them (international community),” he added, dismissing reports that Rwanda was supporting the M23 rebels.
The FDLR rebels, who have been planning to orchestrate another era of genocide in Rwanda, are estimated at 6,000.
M23 TO MARCH TO GOMA
Meanwhile, BBC reports that mutineer soldiers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have threatened to march on the key city of Goma if attacks against civilians in the city do not stop.
One of their leaders said the civilians were being targeted for their alleged allegiance to neighbouring Rwanda.
He denied allegations made by the UN and DR Congo's government that the ethnic Tutsi rebel group was backed by Rwanda.
Kigali also rejects the claim.
Earlier, the UN said peacekeepers were being redeployed to Goma.
The UN's special representative to DR Congo, Roger Meece, said he was determined that the 19,000-strong UN peace force would protect population centres from advancing mutineers.
The rebels - who took up arms in April - named themselves "M23" after a failed peace agreement signed on 23 March three years ago.
They are supporters of renegade General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Gen Ntaganda is an ethnic Tutsi - like the majority of Rwanda's leadership - and a recent UN report accused Rwanda of backing the rebels.
The M23 leadership addressed journalists in Bunagana, a town on the border of Uganda which was captured by the rebels last Friday.
Jean-Marie Runiga Rugerero, who described himself as a bishop, said he was now the leader of the M23's political wing.
The transit camp close to the border with DR Congo is full to capacity - hundreds of white UNHCR tents are crammed in a space the size of about four football fields. The Ugandan government says there are more than 16,000 people there at the moment - 8,000 arriving after fighting intensified in eastern DR Congo last week. More than 600 Congolese soldiers have also crossed the border after losing a battle with the rebels.
"Now about Goma, if civilians aren't protected… We M23 will take over the city of Goma and protect the civilians - the Tutsis, the Balega and the Bashi," he said.
He said Congolese civilians were supportive of their cause and were giving them food, and their ammunition came from the captured towns.
"Our intention is to let the international community know that the problems bedevilling this country are not due to interference from neighbouring countries, the problems facing us are caused by ourselves right here in DR Congo," he said.
"There is total disregard and abuse of human rights here in this country. There is no democracy in this country.
"Look at me, I am a bishop. I didn't join M23 because I was jobless. I have a job. Things have to be changed in this country."
A resident of Goma, Paul Gavichi, told the BBC African Service that the Tutsi community was being harassed - he gave examples of Tutsis being forced off buses and attacked, and said there were allegations of rape.
The UN spokesman in Goma, Alexandre Essone, told the BBC's Focus on Africa that the city was quiet and key areas were under the protection of peacekeepers.
He reiterated claims that the M23 had Rwandan backing, saying that their fighters had new uniforms.
An estimated 200,000 people have fled their homes since April, with about 20,000 crossing the border into Uganda and Rwanda.
The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga on the Ugandan section of the border town of Bunagana says there has been an influx of refugees fleeing the fighting in the last week.
Eastern DR Congo has been plagued by years of fighting.
In 1994, more than a million Rwandan ethnic Hutus crossed the border following the genocide in which some 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis - died.
Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger neighbour, saying it was trying to take action against Hutu rebels based in DR Congo. Uganda also sent troops into DR Congo during the 1997-2003 conflict.
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Updated on 2013-06-04 10:39
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