The news that top RNC commanders have been killed in operations in the DR Congo, should ordinarily be gut-wrenching for the Museveni-Kayumba-FDLR axis that aims at destabilizing Rwanda. However, they probably don’t give a damn since the young men and women whose lives are being put at risk are not their children or relatives. Otherwise, why would they expose them to such danger?
As the RNC activities in Uganda picked up momentum in 2017, five key names within its ranks kept resurfacing, Captain (rtd) Sibomana "Sibo" Charles, Major (rtd) Habib Madhatiru, Kayumba Rugema, Sande Charles and Felix Mwizerwa.
With Uganda's Chieftaincy of Military Intelligency (CMI’s) facilitation, the group was at the heart of RNC operations around the country, Uganda. They carried out operations that initially included intimidating Rwandans in Uganda to join the RNC but changed form to conducting arrests of those who refused to join.
Fidele Gatsinzi, who had travelled to Kampala to visit his son at university, was snatched by Kayumba Rugema (escorted by CMI’s Cpl Mulindwa Mukombozi) in broad daylight across from a Uganda Police Station. The RNC had become so empowered and emboldened that it had become all but impossible to distinguish them from the legitimate law enforcement arms of the Ugandan state. At one time, Kayumba Rugema bragged on social media regarding how much they have penetrated Uganda’s security, “I will not only work with CMI but I will be part of them,” he wrote on Facebook in early 2018.
Captan (rtd) "Sibo" was killed recently in Eastern DRC during operations against armed groups, including RNC, that have established bases on its territory, where they murder, harass, rob and rape Congolese citizens. The operations came following repeated warnings to these forces to leave DRC territory or face forceful eviction.
Along with him were hundreds of RNC recruits who were killed and dozens captured during the same operations; Major Habib was captured alive with gunshot wounds.
The operations vindicate the UN Group of Experts Report on Congo that was released on December 31, 2018 confirming the presence of these groups in the Congo and their “recruitment network” in Burundi and Uganda.
Kayumba and Nyirigira evacuate relatives
Out of the five key operatives, only Rugema Kayumba, Sande Charles and Felix Mwizerwa remain as yet uncaptured. Kayumba Rugema is a direct cousin of Kayumba Nyamwasa and Felix Mwizerwa is the son of Pastor Deo Nyirigira, a top RNC mobiliser in Mbarara whose AGEP Church is used as a cover for the terrorist outfit’s activities.
As things started to heat up, Pastor Nyirigira recalled his son from the Congolese jungles to the safety of Mbarara town from where he continues to send others to the same place he has himself fled for fear of his own life.
Nyamwasa redeployed his cousin even farther afield. Rugema Kayumba left Kampala and now continues his rebel operations via Facebook from the safety of Norway, in his new position as the RNC representative for Scandinavia.
Is it a coincidence that Kayumba’s cousin and Pastor Nyirigira’s son were nowhere in the vicinity of the operations in which those they had recruited, and who had blindly accepted to fight for a cause the top RNC echelons don’t believe is worth their own lives or the lives of their loved ones, perished or lost limbs and were captured?
How about Kayumba Nyamwasa himself? Why is he commanding his forces from the comfort of South Africa? If he truly believes that the cause he is involved in is worth the lives of the young men and women he is putting at risk, shouldn’t he at least be there with them in the jungles of Eastern DRC?
The options for these young people that Kayumba has exploited are that they either remain in the Congolese jungles where they will continue to be hunted and neutralised, or they attack Rwanda and get neutralised. Or they could surrender, return back to Rwanda and face justice and avoid the risk of being killed.
But these options should be appealing to them only if Kayumba Nyamwasa is prepared to join them there, rather than selfishly and cowardly commanding by remote control from South Africa, enjoying sausage and champagne as the blood of innocent young Rwandans gets spilled on his orders and those for whom he works.
The RNC project will be forced to fold. If Museveni is seriously committed to its goals - as his readiness to destroy relations with Rwanda in order to sponsor these terrorist bands would suggest - then he will be left with no other option but to do it himself and stop outsourcing the task to proxies.