Uncovering anomalies in DRC’s accusations against Rwanda

On 4 June 2022 at 01:01

Congolese might have been surprised recently on 31st May 2022 when the United Nations (UN) Security Council requested the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to engage in dialogue with Rwanda and implement signed agreements on security matters in eastern part of the country.

Apparently, the request was not among Congolese expectations considering their previous statements through the media.

During the recent Security Council, DRC filed an accusation that Rwanda supports M23 rebel group expecting many countries to side with it, officially condemn Rwanda or impose sanctions as it happened when M23 captured different parts including Goma town in 2012.

DRC explained that it was attacked by Rwanda and submitted seized military uniforms and equipment including guns apparently belonging to Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) to the Regional Extended Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM).

However, military experts say that it is difficult to consider the evidences because Rwanda does not have own market for uniforms and equipment.

The expert has told IGIHE that these equipment and uniforms are not enough to be considered as evidences proving Rwanda’s support to M23.

“It would be true if DRC can show the Batch Number and convince people how these equipment were bought by Rwanda. Having the items looking like Rwanda’s equipment is not enough. DRC is trying to forge evidences because it can also get them manufactured by its suppliers,” he said.

He went on to explain that it is not unusual across the world to see rebels wearing uniforms of a particular country including great powers like the United States of America (USA).

“It is possible to know used military equipment like radios but it requires experts to confirm this. It cannot be validated by one person because it requires experts who must thoroughly analyze all details up to the manufacturer,” he noted.

Another presented evidence is about Rwandan soldiers arrested. DRC says that the two Rwandan soldiers were arrested by citizens in Rutshuru (North Kivu) in 20 kilometers away from Rwanda’s border.

However, Rwanda has been insisting that these soldiers were kidnapped on patrol along the border between both countries following an attack plotted by Congolese Army (FARDC) in collaboration with FDLR.

According to experts, it is hard to understand how two soldiers can be arrested in 20 kilometers from the border equipped with guns without fighting.

They also challenge how civilians can arrest two soldiers with their guns and hand them to the military without defending themselves.

Failed diplomacy

As experts explain, DRC rushed to externalize its matters indicating that there are forces behind insecurity in the country.

This is part of the message echoed by Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’apala, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the UN Security Council requesting it to issue a warning against Rwanda and M23.

Contrary, members of the council did not condemn Rwanda but urged DRC to opt for dialogue and implement Nairobi accords aimed at decimating armed groups in the country.

One of international diplomats closely following the issue of DRC has told IGIHE that the UN Security Council gathers enough information before convening a meeting where it can hardly make a biased decision.

“That is the failure of DRC. It is apparent […] I think members of the council are also fed up with the incessant failure to solve problems over the years where more than 130 rebel groups have been formed. It can’t be understood how Congo can accuse Rwanda of supporting one rebel group and assume that the member countries acknowledge it as a reality. They know the problem and have embassies in Congo,” he noted.

The diplomat has disclosed that the UN Security Council has clearly understood the nature of insecurity in Congo.

“Even in 2012, Congo requested that Rwanda should be delisted from UN member countries because it doesn’t conform to its norms […] Members of the Security Council are familiar with such issues because you can realize that suggestions raised in that meeting are almost similar to the ones put forward in 2012/2013. Problems of that region are not new to them. They cannot immediately endorse Congo’s accusation against Rwanda,” he stated.

Among others, the Security Council did not endorse DRC’s request to declare M23 as a terrorist group.

Doing so, would annul the request for dialogue with the rebel group which has been claiming for implementation of signed accords with DRC in 2013.

Negotiations to solve the tension between Rwanda and DRC have begun on mediation of Angola. DRC has accepted to release two Rwandan soldiers kidnapped last week.

DRC presented evidences backing its accusations against Rwanda to EJVM last week.