Rwanda: Old Grudges Never Die

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June 13, 2009: UN and Congolese army troops have been unable, after nearly a year of trying, to dismantle or push into Rwanda, the FDLR rebels (formed by Hutu participants  in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda). Despite fifteen years of peacemaking in Rwanda and Burundi, the hostility between Hutus and Tutsi remains.

The demobilization of Hutu rebels in Burundi during the last year did not result in all weapons being turned in. Hundreds of hand grenades ended up on the black market, where they sell for as little as a dollar each. The grenades are used by criminals, or to settle feuds, and last year, killed nearly 150 people. There are still over 100,000 (and as many as 300,000) illegal weapons in Burundi (which has a population of nearly seven million, of whom 83 percent are Hutu and 13 percent Tutsi.) Not all of the FNL rebels have given up violence, and some are still running death squads and attacking government officials they disagree with. But this is low level, with one or two deaths a month.

May 15, 2009: Rwanda has a major criminal problem with smuggling (via Lake Kivu) from Congo. The eastern Congo has been lawless for over a decade because of banditry, renegade militias and civil war. Rwanda is seeking to obtain speedboats for the police so they can deal with the Lake Kivu smugglers.

May 14, 2009: In Burundi, 203 members of the FNL (Hutu National Liberation Front) were freed from jail as part of a peace deal. The FNL also registered itself as a political party (joining 41 others) and released the last 136 teenage soldiers from its combat units. Some 2,000 adult fighters were also demobilized from the FNL.

May 12, 2009: Many of the 20,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees in Uganda are fleeing refugee camps, rather than return to Rwanda. The UN ordered the refugee camps emptied by the end of July, and many of refugees fear prosecution for participation in the 1994 massacre of Tutsis.

 

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