Clashes broke out last week in the Eastern Congo between General Laurent Nkunda’s rebels and the Congolese army which includes Rwandan rebel group FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda).
During the intense fighting, 20 FDLR rebels were captured by Nkunda’s troops. Reports from Nkunda’s camp indicate that there are 12000 FDLR soldiers recruited by the Congo government army to fight against Nkunda.
Two senior FDLR colonels are among the high hierarchy of the Congo army.
Monuc, which comprises of 17200 strong UN peace-keeping forces, and was mandated to guard the Eastern Congo, has not made a good record of the events.
It has been accused in the past, for collaborating with Rwandan rebels in the exchange of arms and supplies from the peace keepers, for gold and other minerals from the FDLR; which unites elements of the defeated Genocide Ex-FAR/Interahamwe.
The peace keeping mission in Eastern Congo is the biggest UN force in the world.
Rwanda’s Foreign minister, Charles Murigande, says the existence of FDLR in Eastern Congo is the root causes of instability in the region. The ultimate aim of the FDLR is the total cleansing of the Tutsi.
According to the minister, this has led to the emergency of the “Nkunda phenomena.”
Nkunda has come out to say he is fighting to protect his Tutsi countrymen who are a constant target of the FDLR.
The Rwandan government has consistently called upon the DRC government to disarm, demobilise and repatriate the FDLR.
ORTPN and the international community must be concerned and worried about the Virunga National Park which is largely under the control of Nkunda’s rebels; this will adversely affect the young and booming tourism industry in Rwanda and Eastern Congo.
The park is home to the world’s precious gorillas, and at the same time harbours rebel camps belonging to FDLR. Nine gorillas have so far been killed since the beginning of the year.
To set the record straight, Murigande has announced that Rwanda is not in any way supporting Nkunda’s forces, but was ready to act, should the conflict spill over to affect Rwanda. Murigande was last week in Kinshasa to ask the DRC government to hold negotiations with Nkunda.
According to Mbusa Nyamwisi, the DRC Foreign Affairs Minister, Congo prefers to solve the conflict in Eastern Congo by military approach.
“Rwanda has no side, let them fight till the stronger wins,” said Murigande.
The fighting continues while the gorillas are in a state of terror, because the fighting is taking place in their neighbourhood.
However, by last Friday, Nkunda’s troops and the DRC army had agreed to a cease fire and find an amicable solution to the conflict.
In a related development, President Yoweri Museveni and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila were involved in a high level meeting yesterday in Tanzania.
The two nations are at loggerheads over oil drilling beneath Lake Albert, which straddles their borders.
Last month, Congolese soldiers and Ugandan oil explorers had clashes near the boarder between Uganda and Congo.
A British oil expert and a couple of Ugandan soldiers were killed.
The two countries are also disputing a small island in the middle of Lake Albert.
As Congolese military men continue to fight in the bushes of Eastern Congo, Rwandan politicians continue to battle in boardrooms of political parties.
Protais Mitalli, the Minister of Commerce and president of the Liberal party, continues to wrestle in the fight to keep his integrity and post intact.
His party members have been liberal enough to ask him and his cousin sister, Senator Odette Nyiramirimo who is also the vice president of to party, to resign.
Mitalli has not appreciated their Liberal spirit; the president has stood his ground.
He has not only vowed to keep fighting to retain his authority over the party, but has also suspended the party members who are disagreeing with him.
As a result, the party treasurers, Honourable Elie Ngirabakunzi, one MP Isaie Murashi, along with two other senior members, have been shown the door from their Kicukiro headquarters.
Divisions have rocked the Anglican Church, following the recent wave of US Bishops that have been ordained by African countries.
This was after a break-away from the US Anglican church because of homosexuality.
Three US bishops are set to be consecrated by the Rwanda Anglican Church, after Kenya and Uganda.
Homosexuality is contentious issue that can take the morality of the Anglican Church at theological crossroads.
This follows the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to lead the church of New Hampshire in the US.
Reverends Terrell Glenn, Philip Jones and John Miller will be consecrated on 26th January 2008 in Dallas but will serve the mission of the Rwandan Anglican Church.
Also in the news:
President Paul Kagame had a state visit to Malawi where he was honoured for his contribution to the development of Rwanda and Africa by his counterpart President Bingu Wa Mutharika. A 3.5 km road in Lilongwe’s central business district was named after President Kagame.
Rwanda’s President is among other African leaders at the forefront of the New Partnership for African Development-NEPAD. Wa Mutharika also promised to repatriate Rwandan refugees from his country back home.
The 10th Rwanda trade Expo closed on Monday with Akagera aviation scooping the best exhibitor award from the Private Sector Federation.
Akagera Aviation organised the popular tour around Kigali in their charter choppers at only Frw20000.
Among the prizes for the leading exhibitors included a trip to Canton Fair in China, one week study tour in South Africa, and a DSTV kit among others.