Projection of the M23 problem on Rwanda is a Déjà vu, presentation of false evidence has become an automatic reaction by FARDC

Once again the Congolese army, FARDC, is blaming upon Rwanda it’s failure to deal with internal security issues. They loudly proclaim that M23 is “a problem of Rwanda.”

We should remember that this is not the first incident where a clique of Congolese army and civilian officials have shown malevolent intentions to project Rwanda in bad light by advancing false malicious accusations.

Rewinding into the recent past when Rwanda and DR Congo armies signed an agreement to conduct joint operations – Umoja Wetu – in 2009, against hostile armed groups operating in Eastern Congo, with specific emphasis on FDLR. The RDF special forces had to pull back prematurely in 2012 after malicious accusations were being generated by cliques within DR Congo army, claiming the Rwandan special forces operating in Eastern Congo were actually M23.

The malicious claims labelled the Rwandan troops as Rwandan ‘invaders’ who had entered Congo under disguise. The claims were later found to be merely malicious when the Rwanda special forces withdrew officially and were accorded a colourful farewell military ceremony attended by military top brass from both FARDC and RDF. Present at the ceremony from the Congolese side were Brig. Gen. Bauma Lucian Ambamba, the FARDC’s 8th military region commander, Col. Jean Claude Yav, deputy J2 of FARDC; in addition to US military attachés accredited to Rwanda.

During the ceremony, the 357 (two companies) Rwanda Special Forces removed the FARDC uniforms they had been wearing during the mandate of their operations with their FARDC counterparts and handed it back to FARDC.

Coincidentally, the malicious falsehoods arose after M23 started clashing with FARDC within the same timeframe. The withdrawal by the RDF special forces in 2012 was purposely to demonstrate goodwill, hoping to discredit the rumours that the RDF special forces were M23 disguised in FARDC uniforms! Yet, after that departure by RDF that happened in broad daylight witnessed by regional and international media as well as thousands of Congolese nationals who lined the streets, M23 rebels went ahead and overran FARDC positions in Rutshuru and captured Goma.

In March this year, the military leadership in North Kivu paraded two individuals who they claimed were from the Rwandan army who had been captured at the battlefront in the ranks of M23. The two individuals were later to be identified as barbers from Goma who had been rounded up during door-to-door operations by FARDC. This time round, the same FARDC clique is again overzealously parading a tattered military uniform and pieces of military ammo which they claim belong to Rwanda. What gives away the malicious intentions is the fact that neither the uniforms nor the artillery pieces in question bear any Rwandan insignia. Without a flag, the uniform could have been made from any textile in Congo.

FARDC will always apply the same futile strategy of concocting similar baseless accusations to scapegoat Rwanda over their failure to protect the DR Congo territories.

The question is, when will the Congolese ever learn to own their failures?

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