Rwanda: Sorting Out The Congo Mess


January 17, 2011: The Rwandan government has jailed four former officials, including Lieutenant General Faustin Nyamwasa (who was wounded in an attempted assassination in June 2010 in South Africa). The four men were convicted of threatening state security. In the case of Nyamwasa he was allegedly linked to a series of grenade attacks in Rwanda. In response to this, opposition politicians accused the government of attempting to suppress dissent and impose a dictatorship.

January 12, 2011: US Africa Command's (AFRICOM) Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) hosted a military logistics conference for several East African countries. Both Burundi and Rwanda had officers at the seminar. Rwanda is trying to professionalize its forces and improving logistics is an absolute requirement in order to achieve that goal. Only South Africa and Nigeria (and perhaps Angola) have any real national logistics capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa (that can extend their military's reach beyond an immediate national border). For example, Uganda has (with U.S. help) conducted operations in the Central African Republic.

January 10, 2011: Former Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda had another court hearing in Rwanda cancelled. The Congo has been trying to extradite him so that he can be tried for crimes committed by him and his militia forces in the eastern Congo. The word is that Rwanda does not really want to give Nkunda to the Congo, though they promised to do so when Rwandan forces arrested him in January 2009,  as Rwandan and Congolese forces conducted a combined anti-militia operation in the Congo.

January 6, 2011: Several former officers in the notorious Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia have been surrendering over the last six weeks. Those who surrendered to Congolese forces have been returned to Rwanda. The Rwandan government has been telling FDLR members who were not involved in the 1994 genocide that they will be well treated if they turn themselves in voluntarily. Former FDLR members have passed the word on to fighters still in the field that the government is honoring that commitment. The government says that since 2009 around 2,270 former FDLR fighters have returned to Rwanda.

January 1, 2011: A grenade attack in Bujumbura (Burundi's capital) killed three people. Investigators called the attack indiscriminate and was intended to disrupt New Year's celebrations. Everyone in Burundi is on edge. While local rebels have used grenade attacks in the past, Somalia's militant Islamist group Al Shabaab has threatened Burundi with terror attacks. Burundi has peacekeeping forces in Somalia. Burundi increased internal security during the Christmas and New Year's holiday season.

December 23, 2010: Somalia's al Shabaab militant Islamist rebels said that they would launch more attacks on both Burundi and Uganda. Al Shabaab claims it is retaliating since Burundi and Uganda supply troops for the African Union's peacekeeping operation in Somalia.




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