6-27 March 2016
Compiled by Berta Fürstová
- FDLR weakened by a series of defections
- Amb. Gasana dismissed US envoy’s statement over lack of civil and political rights in Rwanda
- RDF soldiers attacked by combatants in fatigues of DRC
1. FDLR weakened by a series of defections
“FDLR rebel group weakened by defections, low morale” by Claudia Gasana. Rwanda Express, 22nd March 2016
- After a series of defections from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), it is believed that the group has been considerably weakened.
- The most recent cases abandoning the forces were Lt. Col. Fulgence Nzeyimana aka “Bemba”,one of the top commanding rebels; Capt. Aphrodice Munyampeta aka Prince, one of the chief escort to Supreme commander; Capt. Munyampeta, a chief escort of Maj. Gen. Gaston Iyamuremye aka Victor Rumuri Byiringiro, the supreme leader of FDLR. Munyampeta was accompanied by four other combatants and their families.
- In December 2015, at least 21 Rwandan families composed of 93 persons successfully returned to their home country after spending years in the forests in the DRC. Some of the women claimed that the armed FDLR rebels forced most the women to pay them money to stay alive while others were raped as a result of failure to do so.
2. Amb. Gasana dismissed US envoy’s statement over lack of civil and political rights in Rwanda
Private but pro-government newspapers
“Gasana slams U.S. envoy over 'double standards'” by Athan Tashobya. New Times, 24th March 2016
- During a UN Security Council open debate on the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region on March 21, Samantha Power, the U.S. permanent representative to the UN, said that despite Rwanda's progress in many aspects, the country's record on protecting and promoting civil and political rights is "less impressive."
- Power said Rwanda, like Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo, has "inextricable connection" on the issues relating to democratic accountability, human rights, the rule of law, economic progress, and peace and stability.
- However, her Rwandan counterpart, amb. Eugene-Richard Gasana dismissed Power’s assessment as "speculative and short of facts." He said the allegations of absence of political space and democratic accountability in Rwanda are baseless. "Power does not have power over Rwanda," said Gasana.
- The envoy praised „good governance and enlightened leadership“ of President Kagame.
- Gasana added that the Genocide wouldn't have stopped had the RPF, led by Kagame, not taken it upon themselves to stop the killings and bring the nation to order.
- He criticized members of the UNSC: "And you were all here, the Security Council, in 1994; tens of thousands being killed; what have you done? Nothing. We want this man (Kagame) ... he was the only one to take responsibility and stop the Genocide; he is our hero“, sadi Gasana.
3. RDF soldiers attacked by combatants in fatigues of DRC
Private but pro-government newspapers
“Gunmen attack from DR Congo, one killed” by Dean Karemera. New Times, 25th March 2016
- According to Capt. Edward Kalisa, a local RDF commander, a group of between 16 and 20 soldiers, fully armed and dressed in fatigues of the DR Congo armed forces, attacked the RDF base at Nyiramugweri hill in Bugeshi Sector, Rubavu District on March 24, a few minutes after midnight.
- He said that after crossing into the Rwandan territory, the attackers started shooting at RDF soldiers, which prompted the latter to retaliate with an ensuing fire exchange lasting under 30 minutes.
- One of the attackers was killed. The deceased soldier was found with no identification, but his uniform suggested he was a sergeant. The rest crossed back into the Congo.
- There was a big amount of ammunition presumably left behind by the attackers.
- Kalisa said that no RDF soldier was killed or injured in the incident.
- The scene of incident was visited by a team from the region's Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM).
- There were also reports that the attackers could be part of the DR Congo-based FDLR militia.