If the Rwandan government targets its dissidents, who is targeting its friends and allies?

In 1994 in the aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsi most Western media attention was focused on refugee camps in Goma, Zaïre, where killers, having exterminated Tutsi and burned the country had fled to. 

Since western aid follows western media, most of it was focused on that region of Eastern Congo. Since NGOs follow the money, they too were located in Goma where they focused their charity on the killers and ignored the victims in Rwanda. 

Many people know that the world turned a blind eye as Tutsi were being massacred in Rwanda. What they don’t know is that even after, the world's support was offered to their killers first and in abondance. The refugee camp in Mugunga-Goma, in former Zaïre, had become an Eldorado for media, NGOs, the UN, French army and mercenaries, etc. That’s how well fed, well treated, well trained, well-armed and well-paid genocide perpetrators were able to reorganize into what we know today as the FDLR.

The refugee camp had become a training camp and a rear base for FDLR, which made several incursions into Rwanda, stopping transport buses, separating Tutsi from Hutu on the bus and killing the Tutsi, three years after the official end of the genocide.

The FDLR leadership was flown to safety in France, from where they would coordinate the militia’s violent activities. The post-genocide government relentlessly denounced the international conspiracy in vain. To shift the attention from such scandalous acts, the French secret service - the ‘DGSE’ - spread rumors of a ‘Kagame hit squad’ allegedly dispatched in Western capitals to hunt down his ‘political opponents’. The western media made a field day with it.

That’s when Rwandan General James Kabarebe crossed into Goma on one quiet evening, emptied the Mugunga refugee camp and marched refugees in millions back to Rwanda. Those with guns disbursed deeper into Congo forests. NGOs were forced to shut down overnight, media correspondents recalled as money dried out; General Kabarebe had effectively started a jihad between Rwanda and western media and NGOs and the DGSE, which lasts to date.

When Patrick Karegeya, Rwandan former spy was killed in South Africa, the hit-squad wire resurfaced. South African prosecutors charged with the case were readily declaring to everyone that the killers were sent by the Rwandan government. Seven years into the case, it has remained just that: unsubstantiated declarations in the media with zero convictions. 

The wire ran for a few more years until British investigative journalist Linda Melvern exposed its source to be the infamous DGSE. After that, former Rwandan Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu living in Belgium requested the Belgian police to allocate him special security detail for fear of his life, they ignored him. We all thought it had died a quiet death …

A few days ago, in an onion-like article, the Daily Telegraph revived the rumor, this time of Rwandan diplomats spying on the diaspora in Australia – the story described the diaspora as dissidents and claimed that a Rwandan ambassador had apparently ‘threatened’ to personally kill a Rwandan refugee for reasons unknown... 

I could have laughed when I read it, but having observed western media for years, I know that whenever they engage in disinformation, it means they want to hide something sinister. What is it?

I think the so-called ‘dissidents’ grouped in a paramilitary party called the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) have actually started targeting innocent Rwandans in the diaspora. It hasn’t been a week since Mr. Louis Baziga who was head of the Rwandan community in Mozambique was murdered in Maputo by unknown gunmen. Mr. Turatsinze, a prosperous businessman, was known for his mobilization of the diaspora in Mozambique and his love for his home country Rwanda.

That is what the Daily Telegraph wants to accomplish by reviving a dead conspiracy theory with no news, nor proof; to divert attention from the real tragedy. Late Baziga wasn’t the first victim of these FDLR-like people, targeting innocent members of the Rwandan diaspora under the cover of western media. On 12th October 2012, Theogene Turatsinze another rich businessman and academic, member of the Rwandan diaspora in Mozambique was found strangled to death. In both cases, no one has been convicted – and most interestingly, no western media has ever reported on these stories. They fear, this would be counter to the story they have been selling for years, that of a James Bond-like squad flying below the radar, targeting Rwandans on the four corners of the globe, all ‘For Kagame and Country’…

The question they can’t answer is: If the Rwandan government targets its dissidents, who are targeting its friends and allies?

Having lived in South Africa and Mozambique, I know that members of the RNC work with the media and security services to harass Rwandan diplomats, students, businessmen and just any other Rwandans living in the diaspora. To them, you are either a ‘dissident’ therefore you must join them, or you are a ‘Kagame spy’. You can’t be left alone to love your country and government and live your life in the diaspora. 

Outside of Rwanda, it is so much easier to be a genocide fugitive or a Rwandan critic, than to be a genocide survivor. It is as though all forces conspire to harass you. A self-respected newspaper like the daily telegraph is stigmatizing the Rwandan community in Australia just because they have not joined their anti-Rwanda campaign. In Uganda, Rwandans are frequently made to choose between joining the RNC or face imprisonment without trial. 

In France, my friend Ngirinshuti, a genocide survivor, was denied French citizenship having spent seventeen years in the European country. The French secret service accused him of being a spy, just because he was a member of the Genocide Survivors Association and didn’t hate Kagame. 

In hindsight, western media has been consistent for 25 years: Focusing on the killers and not the victims and covering-up killings of innocent Rwandans with accusations in the mirror against the Rwandan government.

Today Ngirinshuti has returned home to Rwanda where he works as an insurance lawyer. He is safe now.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

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