Oct. 14 marked the sixth anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest, and Oct. 24 will mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda and Uganda’s invasion and occupation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report on these intertwined anniversaries.
On Wednesday, July 17, Nick Long reported for the Voice of America that the Congolese army’s recent successes at driving the M23 militia from their positions in eastern Congo have caused euphoria amongst Congolese, particularly in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province on Congo’s border with Rwanda. Here’s that Voice of America radio report:
This letter, signed by Diaspora Congolese women in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and South Africa, was delivered to Ambassador Carson on March 20. We are writing to you with regard to the current U.S. policy position on “Lasting Solution to Instability” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which you presented on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
An AP newswire posted to outlets all over the world said that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sent 500 troops to join a Uganda-led military effort to hunt down Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA rebel group, bringing the number of African soldiers deployed against the LRA up to 3,350, assisted by U.S. Special Forces.
Congolese problems should have Congolese solutions. We ask that the United States of America and the United Kingdom immediately withdraw all forms of financial and military aid to Rwanda that is a state sponsor of terrorism in Africa. We must pledge to ourselves that we will never again betray our people and ourselves by staying quiet and passive.
Imprisoned Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and her supporters await a Kigali court’s verdict in her case this coming Friday, Sept. 7. Ingabire has been in prison for nearly two years, charged with giving financial support to a terrorist group, planning to cause state insecurity, and divisionism, a violation of Rwanda’s “genocide ideology” statute.
On Saturday, July 21, 2012, the United States officially announced that it was withholding $200,000 in military aid from the Rwandan government. Although a materially insignificant sum, the symbolism has serious implications for Rwanda’s image and reputation in the global community.