Did Rwanda really invade the DRC last year?
I heard a disturbing story on the BBC World Service's Newshour program last week.
Late last year, it was widely reported that the Rwandan Army had (again) invaded the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both the United Nations and the Congolese government made the accusation. Curiously, Rwandan officials went out of their way on several occasions to avoid explicitly denying the allegations. The Rwandan authorities also repeatedly insisted that they had the right to intervene in the eastern DRC under the pretext of their own national security and territorial integrity... all while not commenting one way or the other on if such an intervention was actually underway.
Last week, an intelligence analyst, who was with the UN investigative commission at the time, claims that false information was published in the UN report on the alleged invasion.
[A] dissenting member of the UN panel, William Church, has now told the BBC that the Rwandan invasion was a false claim added by other panel members who had come under pressure from un-named sources. The chair of the UN investigation, the Algerian diplomat Abdulahi Baali, has told the BBC that he is now looking into what he called "serious allegations".
In the late 90s, a huge war broke out in the eastern DRC. It was frequently referred to as Africa's First World War, since at its height, the conflict involved almost a dozen countries. Later, Rwandan and Ugandan troops even fought each other on Congolese soil. Rwanda even occupied land as deep as 1000 km (about 650 miles) into the mineral rich eastern part of the DRC. This was under the pretext of creating a security zone; by contrast, the Israeli 'security zone' only extended 9 miles into south Lebanon.
Yet, the UN is charged with the unenviable task of helping sort out the mess in Central Africa. After numerous allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers in eastern Congo, more questions on its credibility is the last thing the beleaguered international institution mission needs.