News / Africa

DRC Official Applauds US Aid Cut to Rwanda

M23 rebel fighters rest at their defense position in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in north Kivu province, near the border with Uganda, July 12, 2012.M23 rebel fighters rest at their defense position in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in north Kivu province, near the border with Uganda, July 12, 2012.
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M23 rebel fighters rest at their defense position in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in north Kivu province, near the border with Uganda, July 12, 2012.
M23 rebel fighters rest at their defense position in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in north Kivu province, near the border with Uganda, July 12, 2012.
James Butty
An official of the Democratic Republic of Congo said he hopes the U.Ss decision to withhold $200,000 of military aid to Rwanda will help enhance efforts to restore peace to the Great Lakes region.  

The United States cut its military aid to Rwanda saying it had evidence that Kigali was supporting Congolese rebel groups, including M23.  The Rwandan government has repeatedly denied helping the rebels.

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, told the French Press Agency (AFP) that “Rwanda is neither the cause nor the enabler of instability in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”  

But, Congo’s information minister, Lambert Mende, said the U.S. decision to cut its aid to Kigali reinforces his government’s claim that Rwanda has been supporting Congolese rebel groups.

“We think that this is a very positive signal to have Rwanda cooperate with the pacification of this region that has suffered a lot.  It is a good move because it is a matter of life of death for millions of Congolese, who have suffered a lot during the last 20 years,” he said.

Although the U.S. action cuts off aid allotted to a Rwandan military academy, U.S. spokesman Darby Holladay reportedly said Washington will continue to provide assistance to Rwanda to enhance its capacity to support peacekeeping missions.

Mende said, even though the DRC has problems with some criminal elements, it does not want to see a cut-off of aid to Rwanda.

“For us, the problem is not to make Rwanda disappear.  It’s a neighboring country; they are brothers and sisters.  Though we are having some criminal networks there, we have to live together.  So, what we need is such [a] signal that a country like the United States sends such a message to tell Rwanda to be cautious with the security on the Congo and Rwanda border,” Mende said.

The Rwandan government has repeatedly denied helping Congolese rebel groups.  Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the French press agency (AFP) that “Rwanda is neither the cause nor the enabler of instability in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Mende said Rwandan meddling in DRC is a known fact.

“I think that we are not the only one to have given such information.  This information has been confirmed by many other sources, and now I think that the government of the United States is confirming this information,” he said.

Washington's withholding of military aid comes a week after the presidents of Rwanda and the DRC agreed to the deployment of an international force to fight the rebellion in eastern Congo and to patrol their border.

Mende said it is time for Rwanda to move beyond denial to neutralizing the M23 rebels.

Butty interview with Mende
Butty interview with Mendei
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“We think that we [are] in a state of implementing what we have convened with Rwanda and nine other countries of the region in Addis Ababa,” he said.

He said the DRC government has already written to the UN Security Council and the African Union to expedite the implementation of the task force as soon as possible.

“We have even proposed that the mandate of MONUSCO [the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC] be transformed so as to give MONUSCO a way of being that force.  But, we have to wait for feedback from New York and from Addis Ababa,” Mende said.

Mende described the M23 rebellion as an aggression from abroad and that the Kinshasa government is not ready to negotiate with people he accused of trying to import ethnic war into the DRC.

“We have chased them from our army; we have launched even warrants of arrest against them, but they are not part of the problem and they are not going to be part of the solution,” he said.

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by: Hope from: India
July 31, 2012 5:24 AM
Honestly, cutting Rwanda's aid and trying to turn it into another DRC is neither possible nor going to improve the situation in Congo. I think the international community efforts should now be oriented at bring the two countries together instead of distancing them.

by: Gatera Alphonse from: Kigali Rwanda
July 30, 2012 3:55 AM
Why FARDC can't stop the M23? Try to solve your own problems and stop accusing your neighbor Rwanda...Rwanda is in development process while in DRC brothers are fighting...very ridiculous.

by: Fugi from: Kiborogo
July 25, 2012 1:57 AM
The DRC have to negotiate with all oppositions in order to persue ongoing eastern congo crisis as well as to own responsibility of protecting the interest of whole mass than individual business deals in Mineral rich country.Trading accusation to neigbouring countries is not the right way of solving your problem,how many are your neighbours?more than 8 countries.How many labour group from within more than 20,from outside None.
Come on it is you guy to be clear in some internal issues and settle them once and for all.Politicians in congo,army in Congo(generals)dont stuff people resources in trading accusations to Rwanda,one time the DRC people we know the games you are playing against them and you will be traded to ICC.

by: Jean Kapenda from: USA/DRC
July 24, 2012 10:44 AM
As a Congolese college professor in the United States, and concerned with massive violations of human rights in Africa's Great Lakes region, I urge all key players in the region to work towards the creation of a Dictatorship-free Zone (DFZ) in Eastern and Central Africa. This is the only and most viable long-term solution. A bon entendeur, salut!

by: roger from: s.a
July 23, 2012 8:36 PM
wooh,you think congolese peoples are stupid is that your thinking?everithing your doing is just liying the nation firstly paul kagame asking if in congo they,s no president? so the gvment is unable to maintenent peace in drc,just stealing ,they,s no army,congo soldiers carrying they stuff with famelly in walk no transport for them,how you are allow to made a road of 5km rwanda to congo,mande stop they way your thinking to said rwanda,is ours brother if you from rwanda you must know that one day you will see the one will a really a congolese to make peace in congo, ours peace doesnt ask any others country just congolese hemself,that all, you not the wiseman that can rule that big country ,how many tutsi are working in drc gvment?where is congo army ?contunous dreaming....

by: Alfred Cossi Chodaton from: Benin (Republic), Cotonou
July 23, 2012 5:42 AM
Sometimes, the US does understand its role in the world and stops supporting destabilizing forces. Rwanda has been a destabilizing force in the region for awhile. US should stop supporting countries or organizations which later can turn to be one of its deadliest enemy as the Taliban are today, after receiving military, logistic, financial, and political assistance from US in their fight against the Soviet Union.

by: Kinshasa Makambo from: Kinshasa
July 23, 2012 5:33 AM
I like Mende... "M23 are not part of the problem and they are not going to be part of the solution". Hahahah. Once the border with Rwanda is monitored, you hope M23 will disappear. You hope MONUSCO will just die for DRC, while FARDC are relaxing!!! Just put east under UN tutelage, since you have failed to do what a responsible government is supposed to be doing.

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