One would have thought that common sense would prevail at Bush House, but that has turned out to be a pipedream.
Barely a few weeks after mending fences with the Rwandan government on the issue of giving a platform to war criminals and Genocide deniers, the BBC was at it again.
This time it did not fuel the fires in Rwanda, it instead crossed the border into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to give a hand to the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) — and this is no exaggeration.
The FDLR are remnants of the former Rwandan army (Ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militia who planned and carried out the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis that cost the lives of over one million people.
Now they have turned their guns and machetes against the Congolese population laying a trail of bloodshed and widespread rape in their wake.
The UN peacekeeping force in DRC, and the Congolese army have in the past few months been conducting military operations against the FDLR and the rebels’ backs are against the wall.
To make matters worse, their Germany-hosted website was ordered shut. This may have been a major blow because it has been the conduit for their propaganda and fundraising efforts, but they had another ace up their sleeve — sympathetic circles within the BBC.
No sooner had the FDLR website been disabled, than one of their principle leaders was on BBC Kinyarwanda service—Gahuzamiryango,— the same service that met the Rwandan Government wrath for similar reasons.
Callixte Mbarushimana was challenging statement by Alan Doss that FDLR were being routed from their positions , and he was using the BBC to drum up support and raise the morale of his troops, at the same time making faces at a sovereign state; the DRC.
But Mbarushimana has survived worse storms before and seems to be drunk on impunity.
A well documented Genocide suspect, Mbarushimana is also the Secretary General of the FDLR. An employee of the UN in Rwanda in 1994, Mbarushimana became the caretaker of the UN after all international personnel were evacuated.
He supplied militias with UN resources (vehicles, fuel, food, etc…) to carry out the killings, especially his former colleagues in UNDP.
Despite his very transparent biography, he went on to work for the UN in Angola and Kosovo, and even got a hefty settlement from the UN for “wrongful dismissal”.
Even the UN-run International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) developed cold feet and never bothered their former colleague.
Given its recent experience with the Rwandan government, and in particular its history of giving a voice to Genocide deniers, the BBC should know better than giving a sinking FDLR a platform spread their propaganda.