Former rebels put Rwanda under spotlight

Matthew Green – The Financial Times

Copyright The Financial Times
November 11 2008
Rwanda has sought to portray itself as little more than a bystander to unfolding scenes of advancing rebels again forcing refugees to scatter across the border in eastern Congo.
But in interviews with the Financial Times, former rebels and independent observers on the ground said the uprising – led by Laurent Nkunda, the renegade Congolese general – relies heavily on recruitment in Rwanda and former or even active Rwandan soldiers.
Former rebels point to a close and, complex relationship in which Rwanda’s ­government is able to exert considerable leverage on Mr Nkunda.
Paul Kagame, the president, has sought to distance Rwanda both from the Congo crisis and international diplomatic efforts to resolve it. At a press conference in Kigali, the capital, last week he said: “What have I to do with what is going on in the Congo?”
The answer lies partly in the hillside villages and refugee camps in Rwanda that are a vital recruiting ground for Mr Nkunda’s CNDP movement. Former rebels say that in the past few years he has recruited Congolese Tutsi refugees there, as well as Rwandan nationals, who often are former soldiers acting as mercenaries. Military experts say Rwandans make up at least 25 per cent of his 4,000 to 6,000-strong army.
Click to read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *