KIGALI - Despite continued reports alleging that Rwanda has threatened to reconsider its UN commitments – including its contribution to UN-backed peacekeeping operations, the Rwanda Defence Forces has said they have no standing order to that end.
Army and Defence Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, pointed out that such a decision would be a political one and not the army’s.
“The army takes orders from political authorities. Such a decision is not ours to make. And, we haven’t been given that order,” said Rutaremara.
Rwanda maintains the biggest contingent on the UN-backed peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur.
Foreign Minister and Government Spokesperson – Louise Mushikiwabo, could not be reached for comment by press time yesterday.
Media allegations about Rwanda’s ‘threat’ to pull out of peacekeeping operations came last week following the leak of a UN draft report claiming that Rwandan troops were involved in mass killings in the DRC from 1994-2003.
Government described the draft report as “malicious, offensive and ridiculous”, and pointed out that the timing of the leak was “quite revealing” as it appears that the UN was trying to divert international attention from “its latest failure in the Great Lakes Region.”
Just last week, it was revealed that the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Congolese Mai-Mai militias attacked and gang raped nearly 180 Congolese women and some children in a series of attacks between July 30 and August 3, in the Walikale region of eastern DRC’s North Kivu Province.
The UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO) did not know about the Walikale atrocities until more than a week after an aid group – International Medical Corps (IMC), revealed the incident. IMC said a UN base was only 10 kms away from the area of the atrocities.
“Hundreds of Congolese women were savagely raped under the watch of its peacekeeping force MONUSCO,” reads part of a recent government statement.
The government has accused the UN of “failure to manage the post-Genocide refugee crisis of 1994 in the then Zaire.”
“It is immoral and unacceptable that the United Nations, an organization that failed outright to prevent genocide in Rwanda and the subsequent refugees crisis, a direct cause for so much suffering in Congo and Rwanda, now accuses the army that stopped the genocide of committing atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” said Ben Rutsinga, an official from the Foreign Affairs Ministry.