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DRC-Uganda-Rwanda - Update: Rwandan Defence Forces and M23 Rebels Launch Military Operations in Rutshuru and Bwisha, DRC, Torture Civilians, Provoke Massive Congolese Refugees and Continue to Blame on FDLR and RUD-Urunana Rwandan Rebels

Rwandan Defense Forces in DRC - 2012

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On March 27 - 28, 2022, Rwandan Speciali Forces under the cover of M23 Congolese rebels launched major military operations in Rutshuru and Bwisha, in North-Kivu, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to AfroAmerica Network sources within the Congo Desk in Kigali, Rwanda and in the Nork-Kivu region of the DRC, the attacks follow days of systematic public tortures and execution of Congolese civilians in the region by  Rwandan special forces in M23 uniforms. DRC and Rwandan leaders have been in negotiations to address the situation and theUnited Nations peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO), International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL), and Ugandan military (UDF) have also been involved in finding a solution.

  Following the attacks on March 28, 2022, FARDC spokesperson confirmed the invasion by Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF). According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the latest military actions by Rwandan Defense forces (RDF) are a culminatiion of a more elaborate and complex military strategy to invade and balkanize Eastern DRC. As of March 29, 2022, heavy fightings  were still going on, with more than 80 troops in the  Congolese army forces, killed, including a Colonel, in just one day. MONUSCO has  been involved using combat airplanes.

On March 28, 2022, FARDC Congolese army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Sylvain Ekenge Bomusa Efomi confirmed that the invasion was by M23 rebels, supported by RDF troops.  However, the people contacted by AfroAmerica Network in the region gave more accurate information. They point to the fact that it was rather mostly Rwandan special forces, wearing uniforms of M23 rebels, who attacked the areas of Chanzu, Runyoni, Ndizi, and Kasebeya in Bwisha and Rutshuru. A large number of displaced people fled the combats to Kinyamahura in Jomba Catholic Mission.

According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the Congolese people have  increased their criticism of president Felix Tshisekedi. They accuse him of being very incompetent and selfish and having only enabled the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame and military leaders over the last three years in power.


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Worsening Situation Since 2021

 Rwandan special forces under the cover of M23 rebel group launched  military operations in Eastern DRC in January 2022, killing tens of FARDC soldiers and blaming Rwandan rebels of the FDLR, RUD-Urunana, and RPR-Inkeragutabara of  starting the conflict.

The invasion strategy was formulated and readied to be put into action in November 2021 (see DRC-Uganda-Rwanda: Like Ugandan Defense Forces, Rwandan Government Sending troops into Eastern DRC, Complicating Military Operations Against ADF.

Starting January 2021,  the strategy was reviewed, after AfroAmerica Network sources within the  Rwandan Defense Forces Congo Desk in Kigali leaked  leaked sensitive information (see DRC-Uganda-Rwanda - Update: Rwandan Military Under Cover of Congolese M23 Rebels in Eastern DRC, Blame on FDLR and RUD-Urunana Rwandan Rebels, and Coup Attempts). 

The strategy was reinforced  with the new dynamics  (see here: DRC-Uganda-Rwanda - Update: Additional Rwandan Military Special Forces Reinforcements for M23 Rebels Crossing in Eastern DRC; Continued Blame on FDLR and RUD-Urunana Rwandan Rebels).

On January 4 and 6, 2022, the troops of M23, a congolese rebel group created, funded, and reinforced by the Rwandan military, attacked FARDC troops and killed more than 41 FARDC soldiers killed. Following the attacks, M23 rebels, through their spokesperson, started blaming FDLR fighters, allegedly in FARDC uniforms. M23 spokesperson also added that FARDC have been supplying heavy weapons  and uniforms to FDLR and RUD-Urunana uniforms troops based in the the Masisi area.

Meanwhile, addressing the Rwandan Parliament on February 8, 2022, Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame  made it clear that he was ready for intense military operations  against the DRC and Uganda.

According to AfroAmerica Network sources,  the plan to reinforce M23 rebels with new troops, actually making sure that most of the alleged M23 troops are Rwandan special forces in M23 uniforms, was put into action following a two weeks tour by Gen. Paul Kagame across Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and West Africa.

The tour was aimed at gathering support from some leaders, especially those of French speaking countries, in preparation for the invasion of Eastern DRC under the cover of M23 rebels. The open invasion was to be preceded by tortures of civilians, blaming RUD-Urunana and FDLR, terrorising civilians to flee the targeted regions so that they may better control and contain operations by FARDC troops  and then claim the territories as conquered by M23 rebels to rid them of FDLR and RUD-Urunana rebels.

Concerns by Regional Leaders and International Organizations.

According to other unnamed sources close to UDF and RDF,  DRC leaders and Rwandan diplomats and military leaders have been meeting to discuss the situation. Pending the resolutions from the meeting, Rwandan military leaders have given orders to   Rwandan special forces in M23 rebels uniforms to halt the avances towards the site of Rutshuru administration headquarters.

Meanwhile, MONUSCO has been bombing the areas occupied by Rwandan Defense Forces in M23 uniforms.  As of the morning of March 29, 2022, these forces were visible in the hills of Rangira. According to the latest news, one of MONUSCO helicopters was shut down by RDF and M23 rebels.

 Meanwhile, RDC President Felix Tshisekedi  has asked CIRGL and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni  to send UPDF troops to support FARDC. CIRGL has agreed  with UPDF on the following actions:

  •  Prevent Rwandan Special forces, in M23 uniforms, to reach the town of Bunagana
  • Police the area to prevent looting and already increasing killings, similar to the what happened in Tshegerero in the afternoon of Monday March 28, 2022

 

AfroAmerica Network will continue to follow and update as the details become available and are checked.

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