KIGALI - Rwandan fugitive, Patrick Karegyeya, is reported to be raising an armed force purportedly to help the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), with funding from the United Nations (UN).
Karegyeya, who is exiled in South Africa, is among the fugitives wanted in Rwanda for creation of a terrorist group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a spate of grenade attacks in Kigali City. He was recently sentenced to 20 years in jail.
There are serious concerns that the UN could be funding Karegeya’s insurgent activities against Rwanda and fanning insecurity in the region.
According to a regional magazine, The Independent, Karegyeya confirmed that he had held talks with the TFG and the UN and even signed a contract with the Somali Ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya.
The UN official at the centre of the covert operation has been identified as Bruno Mpondo-Epo, a Cameroonian-French national who worked for UNESCO and UNICEF in Rwanda in the 1990s, though it was widely believed that he had links to the intelligence world.
During his tenure with the UN in Rwanda, he was closely associated with Patrick Karegyeya.
“AU forces currently in Somalia are not only inadequate but also hampered by lack of equipment and a restrictive operation mandate. The TFG needs to urgently boost its military, police and security services capability in order to secure the government and stabilise the country. There is currently no local ability to neutralise the above threats, hence there is a need to acquire this capacity from outside Somalia,” reads parts of the minutes of the meeting taken by Karegyeya.
In his proposal, the funds would be provided by the Somali government and the UN.
“Where they are unable to provide the arms and equipment, funds would be availed to the security team in order to purchase the equipments”.
Despite the Government of Rwanda’s protests, the UN went ahead and signed an agreement with the fugitive, and money was transferred from Commercial Bank of Africa in Nairobi to Karegyeya’s personal account in the First National Bank in Sandton, South Africa.
“Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials were therefore shocked when the UN was willing to go ahead and grant Karegyeya the lucrative contract in the face of their objections,” wrote The Independent.
Security sources say that this operation is causing a rift between the UN and the African Union (AU) as it is been carried out behind the Pan-African organisation’s back, and yet it already has peacekeeping forces from Burundi and Uganda in Somalia.
The US $ 4 million renewable six-month mercenary contract is said to involve two south African security firms.
A UN Security Council Group of Experts’ report, last year, revealed that both Kayumba and Karegyeya have strong links with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and were involved with armed groups in the DRC.
Col. Amri Bizimana, a top commander in the FDLR terrorist organization, corroborated the UN Security Council report.
“For almost a year now, Kayumba and Karegeya have had sustained contact and high level meetings with senior FDLR leaders and this has led to the merging of resources and efforts between the two sides,” Col. Bizimana told reporters recently at Mutobo reception centre, where he arrived after escaping from the FDLR camps in the Eastern DRC.
Bizimana further revealed that after the merger of the Kayumba-Karegeya group with the FDLR outfit, Gerald Gahima emerged as the most active coordinator in Europe and North America, where he, and Theogene Rudasingwa, have linked up with Paul Rusesabagina and the remaining top FDLR officials after the arrest of Ignace Murwanashyaka, Straton Musoni and Callixte Mbarushimana
Regional security chiefs, representing the Economic Community of Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), recently confirmed that the fugitives, had formed a new armed group based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the aim of destabilizing the region.
According to minutes of the most recent CEPGL security meeting, the Kayumba-Karegeya armed group, based in Binza, North Kivu, is commanded by Col. Suki and Col. Gaheza. They are, so far, estimated to number about 200.
“The group is carrying out recruitment inside Rwanda and the region and infiltrating the recruits to DRC for future use in subversive activities against Rwanda,” said Col. Augustin Mumbiay Mamba, the DRC’s chief of border security.
Karegeya, Kayumba, Gahima and Rudasingwa were convicted and sentenced to prison terms after they were found guilty of forming a terrorist group, threatening state security, undermining public order, promoting ethnic divisions and insulting the person of the President of the Republic.
Read full story in tomorrow’s Sunday Times.