FREE NKUNDA TO FIGHT FOR CONGO
To Orwell Today,
Here is a letter circulating on the internet since Nkunda's arrest last week on January 22, 2009:
AN OPEN LETTER TO RWANDAN AUTHORITIES
We, Congolese refugees in Rwanda, condemn without reserve
the arrest and illegal detention of our Freedom fighter
Major Gen. Laurent Nkunda Mihigo.
More than 15 years have passed that He and his brothers
are fighting against the genocide forces FDRL/Interahamwe.
Finally, Kinshasa and Kigali have taken their responsibility; therefore,
We obligate his immediate liberation without condition
to achieve his mission
together with Kinshasa and Kigali forces.
~ January 28, 2009
-from Sharangabo Rufagari
Thanks for sending a copy of the letter from Congolese refugees to Kagame's government demanding Nkunda's release.
And thank you too for being the person who first told me about Nkunda, and helped inspire my research into the Congo, above and beyond what I was learning about Rwanda. See articles under KNOW NKUNDA CONGO.
I was shocked when Nkunda was arrested last week by Rwanda and wrote about it in KAGAME HELPING NKUNDA NOT.
I read in yesterday's news that Congolese refugees in the camps in Rwanda staged a protest. It's admirable that they - the weakest of the weak - had the courage to stand up for Nkunda in his hour of need.
Rwanda puts down Nkunda dissent
BBC, Jan 27, 2009
Security has been tightened at refugee camps in Rwanda after protests calling for rebel Laurent Nkunda's release. Gen Nkunda, who claimed his fighters were protecting the Tutsi community in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested by Rwanda last week. A joint force of Rwandan police and soldiers put down the protests mainly by Congolese Tutsis, on Sunday - reportedly using live bullets. Correspondents says demonstrations against the government are very rare.
A Tutsi like Rwanda's leaders, Gen Nkunda had guarded Rwanda's western flank against attacks from ethnic Hutu Interahamwe militias who fled there after the Rwandan genocide of 1994. But in a change of policy, he was arrested after being invited by Rwanda to discuss a joint military force from both countries against Hutu forces. DR Congo has allowed at least 6,000 Rwandan soldiers into its eastern region to help Congolese soldiers disarm the Hutu militia. Rwanda, which hosts more than 50,000 Congolese refugees, has not yet said whether it will hand over its former ally to DR Congo, where he faces war crimes charges.
Thousands of Congolese refugees across Rwanda's two main camps - Kiziba in the south, and Gihembe in the north - took to the camps' street on Sunday in a co-ordinated protest. They called the arrest of General Nkunda "illegal", and expressed their anger at the way he was reportedly trapped and arrested. But a joint force of Rwanda police and army dispersed the protesters and many were injured in the skirmishes that followed.
"We could not go on with the demonstration as planned as the police and army stopped us," one man in Gihembe camp, which houses about 20,000 refugees, told the BBC. "What we want is that Nkunda is released so that he goes back to DR Congo to continue fighting against the Interahamwe for he's our only hope for any return to DR Congo," he said. "Nkunda was fighting for peace and we cannot understand why he was arrested.
In Kiziba camp, refugees claim that the army and police used live bullets and sticks to break up the demonstration. One woman who was injured in the fracas said they were protesting peacefully when they were surrounded by police. "They started beating us but we were not deterred by the beatings, for the anger we felt was more than the sticks' pain", she told the BBC's Great Lakes service. "Shortly afterwards, they were joined by the army and started arresting young men among us. We tried to resist this and this is when they started shooting - that is how I got shot," she said. The Rwandan authorities have not commented officially about the protests or commented on allegations that they were heavy handed in their attempt to quash them. A refugee speaking to the BBC on Tuesday from Gihembe says the military have set up tents around the camp and intend to prevent further demonstrations. Some 250,000 people have fled their homes in DR Congo's North Kivu province since August 2008, when Gen Nkunda began an offensive on the regional capital, Goma. Human rights groups [UN] have accused Gen Nkunda's rebel group - and also government [Congo] forces - of numerous killings, rapes and torture.
I'm not a Congolese refugee but I'd like my voice added to their's. I know, from my research, that one of Nkunda's main aims was to make Congo safe for Congolese refugees in Rwanda to come back home to Congo to live and prosper in peace. That is why he was fighting the Rwandan Hutus and the Congolese Mai-Mai and all the other "negative forces".
Now that Congo has allowed Rwanda's army in to supposedly fight the genocidal Hutu and Mai-Mai what possible reason could there be for not releasing Nkunda to help in that fight for Congo -- something his CNDP army has been doing on its own all these years.
RWANDAN GENOCIDE IN CONGO NOW
Mass slaughter of Tutsi by Rwandan Hutu in Congo (17,000 UN soldiers doing nothing to stop it). AFP, Nov 17, 2012
How Congolese refugees lost hope in Rwanda, IGIHE, Aug 13, 2011
...The eastern province of the DRC remains volatile with the presence of FDLR instilling great fear in the residents of North and South Kivu. Rwanda hosts approximately 55,000 refugees from its neighboring countries with 95% of the population originating from the Eastern DRC particularly from the North and South Kivu regions. Close to 97% per cent of the refugees in Rwanda are camp-based; they either reside in one of the 3 refugee camps, or are transiting in one of the two Transit Centers on the Congolese border. Among a rapidly grown population, in 2010 UNHCR’s Annual Program Budget was cut from USD $8,174,298 in 2009 to USD $3,999,256, a 48% reduction. Of the total operational budget for 2011, USD $10,550,075 was used for care and assistance programs for over 55,000 camp-based and urban refugees. That is barely USD 200 per person annually....
DRC-RWANDA: Potential tensions amid returns in Kivus, IRIN News, Mar 1, 2010
GOMA, - For the many thousands of people displaced by conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kivu regions who have returned to their villages, home has its many hardships. “Return has not always been durable, as the reduction of food rations in camps [for displaced people - IDPs] and the arrival of the new planting season rather than any improvement in security have led people to go back,” the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) stated in a 24 February report. “Many people returned home to find their land occupied, while renewed clashes in return areas also forced people to flee again soon after their arrival home,” it said. Across eastern DRC, “access to basic necessities … has deteriorated over the last year in the context of military operations and reprisals and continuing abuses against the population. The vast majority of IDPs and returnees have no access to health centres and schools, or to clean water, food, seeds, tools or building materials,” according to the report. During 2009, according to IDMC, about a million people returned to their villages in North and South Kivu - about the same number who fled because of clashes, mainly between government forces and Rwandan Hutu rebels. In North and South Kivu, there are 1.36 million IDPs, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In the North Kivu capital of Goma, some 77,000 people live in IDP camps, against about twice that number two years ago. "Many have gone back to their land, and we are getting noises that more want to return," Masti Notz, head of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, in North Kivu told IRIN. “Positive change is progressively taking place in Eastern DRC,” Alan Doss, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, wrote in the East African newspaper on 1 March.
Aid workers believe that in the wake of a tripartite agreement between Rwanda, DRC and UNHCR, many of the 50,000 DRC nationals living in Rwandan camps could soon return home. Before the accord, thousands had already returned spontaneously. "In 2009 in Masisi, more than 6,000 people told us they had returned from Rwanda since 2000, under the auspices of various groups that controlled the area," Karl Steinacker, UNHCR coordinator for eastern DRC, said. "The challenge is to identify genuine civilians." The status of the returnees, according to Refugees International, needs to be resolved given that some are Rwandans. There is also a need for stronger verification mechanisms to regulate future population movements. In a 19 February statement, the group said locals had told its researchers of an area inside the Virunga National Park called "Coline Banyarwanda" ("the hill of those who come from Rwanda"), where they should not be. Another large group of recently arrived Rwandans was living illegally in Bwiza, in a settlement inside the national park. In nearby Matanda, armed cattle herders had reportedly occupied land by force. "It is important to note that these tensions are taking place in zones that are controlled by the former CNDP [The Congrès national pour la defense du peuple ] rebel group, who are clearly protecting these Rwandans," it added. The CNDP, led by Bosco Ntaganda, theoretically ceased to be a rebel movement with the integration of its elements into the Congolese army in 2009, but security sources in Goma say it has retained some of its structures.
Competition for land, exacerbated by the destabilizing effects of enforced or spontaneous migration, is more commonly a source of conflict than generally supposed, according to analysts. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), for example, argues that reallocations of land during conflict or the profit from sale or use of land can provide a means of sustaining such conflict. In the Kivus, notes the Goma-based Pole Institute, the economy is historically based on agriculture and long-distance trade, while the economic dimension of ongoing conflict is about rights of access to land and control of trade routes, not about minerals.
NKUNDA CONGO'S ONLY PROTECTOR
A TRIBUTE TO COMMANDANTE NKUNDA
COMPATRIOTS DEMAND NKUNDA RELEASE
watch NKUNDA LAST CONGO INTERVIEW (in CNDP Held Territory, January 3, 2009). You Tube, Georgianne Nienaber
Former Rwanda allies arrest Tutsi leader Nkunda, 22 January 2009. Al Jazeera, You Tube
Congo: rebel integration into army fails. AP, Jan 28, 2009
RUMANGABO, Congo — An attempt to integrate hundreds of rebel soldiers [Nkunda CNDP] into Congo's army failed Wednesday, casting doubt on whether a hasty recent change in alliances that spurred hopes for peace can hold. Hundreds of rebel soldiers gathered in Rumangabo along with foreign diplomats and army commanders for what was supposed to have been a ceremony marking the opening of a camp that was to retrain rebels and integrate them into army ranks. But even before the ceremony began, rebels began leaving, some complaining about a lack of planning and one saying he would never change his uniforms. Army officials declined to comment on what went wrong. Congo's Tutsi-led rebellion had controlled a large swath of territory north of the regional capital, Goma, but senior commanders and longtime ally Rwanda turned on rebel chief Laurent Nkunda, who was detained by Rwandan authorities last week as part of a deal between the two nations, which have been enemies for years. As part of the deal, rebels of a splinter faction led by Bosco Ntaganda, said they would operate under army command and eventually integrate into army ranks. The rebels [Nkunda CNDP} have also given back territory they controlled to ill-disciplined government troops [Kabila FARDC], who they forced into a humiliating retreat just months ago...
RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME and HOW KAGAME BECAME LEADER
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~