By Kambale Musavuli
“Recent M23 abuses in eastern Congo include the deliberate killing of civilians, summary executions and rape. Among the cases we documented was that of an eight-year-old girl raped by M23 fighters. In another sickening case, a 32-year old woman in the village of Chengerero was gang raped by M23 fighters, who then poured fuel between her legs and set the fuel on fire.”
For those minimizing the dire situation in the Congo, they should know that this woman could be their sister… and it is unnecessary for Congolese women to bear the brunt of this brutality they are still trying to comprehend.
Rwanda and Uganda must be stopped from supporting rebels in the Congo. I am clear that as a taxpayer, my money is supporting the Rwandan and Uganda military which in turn support rebels in Congo.
This support can be stopped simply by enforcing section 105 of Public Law 109-456.
“SEC. 105. WITHHOLDING OF ASSISTANCE.
The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), other than humanitarian, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
1. From the US government itself on June 30, 2012
“We are deeply concerned about the report’s findings that Rwanda is implicated in the provision of support to Congolese rebel groups, including mutinous elements now operating as the M23 armed group […] we have asked Rwanda to halt and prevent the provision of such support from its territory.”
2. UN GoE Addendum to the Interim Report released June 29, 2012
3. Soon to be released report showing Rwanda and Uganda supporting rebels
With these elements, one can clearly say that the Secretary of State has evidence that Rwanda and Uganda are supporting rebels in the Congo, thus destabilizing the country. But somehow, there is a deafening silence at the Department of State and even the White House.
It is important we don’t stop calling our leaders.
Obama (White House)
Hillary Clinton (State Department)
Susan Rice (United Nations)
Johnnie Carson (Bureau of African Affairs at DoS)
Wendy Sherman (Special Envoy to West Africa and she just met Kagame)
Maria Otero (Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights – she has been to the Congo)
And of course our senators and congresspersons are waiting to hear from us re: Congo.
and find their numbers at the links above. That’s the least we can do. Obama is back in the White House, the work to put pressure must continue.
Friends of the Congo maintains that Rwanda and Uganda’s repeated interventions in the Congo since 1996 has been the major obstacle to peace and stability in the region. Rwanda along with its ally Uganda have invaded the Congo twice (1996 & 1998); occupied the Congo 1997 – 2002; sponsored proxy rebel groups, mainly the Rally For Congolese Democracy (RCD), National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), and M23; fought a “six-day war” against Uganda on Congolese soil over diamonds in Kisangani in 2000 killing over 1,000 Congolese and injuring scores. Yet, Rwanda and Uganda have escaped serious sanctions and have operated with impunity in the Congo primarily via its support of rebel groups with devastating consequences for Congolese civilians.