RWANDA IS BACKING ATROCITIES IN CONGO
Ethnic massacres. Torture. Widespread sexual violence. Children abducted and forced to the frontlines of war.
This is the worst it has been in years. The UN humanitarian agency reports nearly 100,000 Congolese have abandoned their homes to escape the violence. Many of them will die in squalid refugee camps. Others will become victims of sexual violence. Others will be abducted and sent into battle by rebel militias.
Fighting began barely a month ago when Congo’s president called for the arrest of Congolese Army general/warlord, Bosco Ntaganda. Bosco is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and enlisting child soldiers. His terror campaigns are so notoriously destructive that he is widely known as the “Terminator.”
In response to President Kabila’s demand, Bosco’s rebel army (CNDP) defected from the Congolese Army and launched a fierce retaliation. In March, these same rebel troops broke into a Falling Whistles-funded safehouse in Mweso, a town in Masisi District. That night they raped 12 of our girls, killed 2 of our children, and abducted 6 more. Another three were enlisted into Bosco’s rival militia force (FDLR). Six of our kids are still missing.
Amid the chaos, Human Rights Watch uncovered a troubling alliance between Bosco and Rwanda. This week they released their report accusing the Rwandan government of providing Bosco with weapons, ammo, and up to 300 recruits. Their findings are based on a combination of field research, UN reports, and eyewitness testimonials.
The report features firsthand accounts from a number of escaped Rwandan recruits, further proof that Rwandan officials are supporting the bloodshed. These witnesses said they were forcibly conscripted in Rwanda to fight for the CNDP, and personally escorted over the Congolese border by Rwandan Army officers. Many said child soldiers are being actively recruited. Many tell stories of senseless, gruesome, executions.
Why is Rwanda supporting a war criminal? How can we stop this injustice? What can you do to help? Tomorrow we will provide you with context and answers to these questions.
For now: Speak up. Mass atrocities are happening right now in the Congo, and Rwanda’s government is making things worse. Whether you are in Chile, or Sweden, Australia or Canada, we must not be silent.