UN Expert Report says that DRC gold smuggling increased during COVID-19 lockdown to Burundi and Rwanda…

Yet again there are exploits of conflicts and the resources. The latest UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) establishes this fact. This isn’t a shocking revelation, as this has persisted for so long. The illicit and trade of minerals in the DRC to the neighbours have been going on for years. Where the militias and other “rebel” outfits have exploited the porous borders.

What was striking was a few of the sentences and that this of business continues. That the ones enriching themselves continues in haste. Producing, exporting and trading illicit gold. This is being exploited and extracted in the DRC. Later illegally exported to Burundi and Rwanda. We know this also happens to Uganda in the report. However, they have not stated the scale there. As we know the Gold Refinery in Entebbe for illegal gold exports.

Here is excerpts from the Report:

Three mining authorities confirmed that cross-border gold smuggling between South Kivu (see S/2020/482, annex 45) and Burundi and Rwanda had increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Two authorities explained that this was because, while gold production continued, border closures reduced the value of dollars hand-carried into the Democratic Republic of the Congo for illicit gold transactions. According to official mining data, 30.6 kg of gold were officially exported from South Kivu between January and October 2020, while official gold production was 7.1557 kg between January and September 2020 according to mining authority data” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 19, 2020).

The Group noted that, as was also the case in 2019 (see S/2020/482, annex 16), as of October 2020 official recorded gold production for South Kivu was far lower than the volume of gold exported. Total gold production as of September 2020 was 7155.7 grams, while exports were 30.6 kilograms for the year up to October 2020. Following the COVID-19 border closures, only two gold trading comptoirs – Etablissement Namukaya and Etablissement ML – exported gold in the second half of 2020 until the time of drafting this report. Bukavu-based gold trading house Mines Propres SARL suspended its operations in South Kivu as of February 2020, but confirmed to the Group that construction of Congo Gold Raffinerie (see S/2020/482, annex 25) continued in its place (Karim Somji, an associate of Congo Gold Raffinerie also owns Mines Propres SARL” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 186, 2020).

This here story isn’t a new, but it shows a pattern. Where there is more production than recorded. More gold produced than what is initially registered. This here is proof of the illicit trade, as the records itself states.

The Est. Namukaya is even mentioned an export to Kampala to Muzira Bravia Ltd. A company the UN Group of Experts couldn’t find in a registry. Therefore, that is easy an front and not the true company who imported this gold. That could easily be another concealment.

However, all this here just shows that its big business to trade gold illegally and illicit trade of conflict minerals. Where the DRC is not getting reported wealth out of their resources. While the militias and others are profiting on the mines. That is reality of this. Peace.

RDC: FDLR – Declaration de Soutien de Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda – Pour les Mesures Entreprises par le Gouvernement du Burundi de Chasser les Envahisseurs Hamities dans le Pays (12.10.2020)

Opinion: The RNC is weakened as a fraction starts the RAC

This isn’t the first time a sponsored militia goes separate ways. The Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) have created many different outfits and the biggest currently of those is the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD).

In July this year the Rwanda National Congress is split into two parts. This being the RNC run by Kayumba Nyamwasa, who has support from Kampala. While in Canada, the diaspora of RNC have launched the Rwanda Alliance for Change (RAC) on the 6th July 2020. The signatories to the manifesto, which is also online is Bellamin Bakamira, Tabitha Gwiza, Achille Kamana, Anicet Karege, Saleh Musoni Karuranga, Pacifique Mukobwajana, Dr. Etienne Ndagijimana, Jean Paul Turayishimye and Benoit Umuhoza.

Clearly Nyamwasa is losing his support in Canada and that is weakening the RNC. The RNC have been run by him and with his orders. That has over time caused friction and therefore, the new one is created. We can wonder, if the diaspora based RAC will try to convene a meeting in Kisoro or elsewhere in Uganda too. As the RNC have been recruiting in Uganda.

The MRCD is already weakened, as they caused issues for Kigali last year. However, we can wonder how the operations are going. As they have been known for attacks from Burundi. While the RNC have only lost people after high ranking officials held talks in Uganda last year.

This has all created diplomatic entanglements between Kigali and Kampala. As the proxy wars are hitting home. The Kigali based diplomats wants Kampala to stop supporting efforts to undermine their reign. While Kampala doesn’t listen to it. They are continuing it.

We can wonder, other then t he main objective to topple the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). Like all of these outfits are claiming is their will. While they cannot work together for too long.

Now that its another militia with goal and objectives in the sphere. That for some reason will be around. We can wonder how big it is and where it will recruit. Even the manpower and their planned operation. Other than going after the RPF and President Kagame.

The only looser here is Nyamwasa and his allies. They are loosing support and getting another competition. While Kigali will get it easier, as there are smaller fractions and will have less suction. It will also be easier for intelligence operations get a whiff of what is going on.

However, we cannot know until more information is out. Clearly, there are shady works being done behind closed doors. Nevertheless, 2020 continues to deliver and we can wonder what costs the RAC will have. Peace.

UN Experts Report says NDC-R finance itself on illegal gold trade to Uganda and Burundi

Again, there is illegal gold trade to the neighbour republics of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This time its the NDC-R whose trading illegal gold to Uganda and Burundi. That means the militia is funnelling funds by illegal mining and trading. Also, that the Ugandan and Burundian authorities are earning fortunes on the soldiers of fortunes in the province of North Kivu.

However, this is not really new that militias and that there is illegal gold trade in the Great Lakes region from the DRC. What was new now, is that athe NDC-R is involved in this. There been other groups in the past and shown that the African Gold Refinery (AGR) of Entebbe, the refinery owned by Gen. Salim Selah, the half-brother of the President Museveni have been involved in this trade. Also, selling the gold to the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, what is in this months report. Shows, another pattern, but says what militia who does it. Which is an interesting tale, as the illegal trade is boosting the NDC-R and their capabilities to cause havoc in the province.

NDC-R:

The Group has found that the armed group Nduma défense du Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) has remained active in North Kivu and has continued to recruit and expand. NDC-R engaged in fighting with the Collectif des mouvements pour le changement (CMC) comprised of Nyatura factions, the Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS) and FDLR-FOCA in Masisi and Rutshuru territories” (Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, P: 6, 20.12.2019).

Financing of the militia:

A senior NDC-R combatant with first-hand knowledge of the matter and three NDC-R members recounted that gold sales brokered by close relatives of Guidon, who sold to gold buying houses in Goma, also generated cash for the movement. Sales were cash-based and were not usually documented. The Group is aware of two occasions on which senior NDC-R ex-combatants sold gold to buyers in Uganda and one on which they did so in Burundi” (Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, P: 10, 20.12.2019).

This is a worrying sign. Not that its new, but this shows how the NDC-R is financed. Through illicit financing through illegal gold-mining and illegal gold trade. There been trade between Butembo/Goma and over to Entebbe through back-channels. If the NDC-R does this, that wouldn’t be shocking either. Not that the UN Experts Report is specific about this matter.

However, it again reveals more details and reports about one specific group. Which is interesting for the world to know. That it happens to be a group, which has FDLR-FOCA fighters is even more special. Since, there been reports of meetings and supporting arms to them over the last few years. Therefore, the revelation of NDC-R connection with FDLR-FOCA opens more questions, than what it answers. Peace.

Uganda-Rwanda Tensions XIV: RNC Diane Rutabana letter to Uganda Security Agencies (13.10.2019)

Rwanda: L’opposante Victorie Ingabire, presidente des FDU interrogee par le bureau d’investigation (08.10.2019)

FDU-Ikingi – Rwanda: Nous denoncons les assassinats qui ont eu lieu a Kingi et Burera, dans la Province du Nord (05.10.2019)

Opinion: Was it the FDLR who attacked Rwanda this Friday?

This Friday, there was reports of killings, of insurgency in the Musanze district in the border district to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It isn’t new that militias and rebels are crossing borders from Rwanda into the DRC or returns back. What is striking is the level of deaths and the favourable reporting from the authorities on the Rwandan side.

This is happening the same week, as the Rwandan authorities has displayed 25 Rwandan National Congress members in the Courts. The RNC, FDLR and MRCD have been working together of late and this weekends raid to be in response to this. However, that is just speculation. But wouldn’t be shocking that the RNC/FDLR/MRCD would react in this way after the losses of 25 members taken from them by the help of allies within the DRC.

Just take a look!

19 Assailants responsible for killing civilians in Musanze On Friday, have been killed by Security organs, according to Rwanda Police’s statement. 5 more suspected assailants responsible for the attack have been captured Rwanda Police says the hunt is still on going” (Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, 06.10.2019).

As for Musanze sector, it is next inside Musanze district, raising more questions as to how the attackers managed to reach this far inside Musanze district without detection. By virtue of it being such a key economic source for the country, and proximity to DR Congo, the region has obvious heavy military presence. There will be more questions as to how such an attack could have happened. According to initial reports from local villagers who were fleeing from the area into other sectors and Musanze, the attackers were speaking Kinyarwanda, with heavy accent. The villagers also said the assailants were rebels of the democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)“ (The Chronicles Rwanda, 05.10.2019).

We can really wonder whose behind this, even if the Rwandan authorities will tell or the militias itself. Because, the militias would like to take credit to boost their moral and say they won over the state at one battle. Even if the state has killed several of their members and now have detained 5 more. Surely, the militia in question bled a bit out of this, but the state has done too. Even if their numbers are kept close its chest.

What is odd, is that the M.R.C.D., nor RNC or FDLR have taken any responsibility. If it was them, than they should have stated something or through their channels. However, it is silent. They have enough backers. Whose been peddling information over the years. That if they want it out. They get it out. But now its nothing. The state only showing signs of “victory”, even if the victories part is lacking. Since, it is only loss of lives and nothing substantially gained.

We only have the little information from the Chronicles, but nothing else. As the state are not saying anything. Neither, the possible militia behind it all. Not like when the MRCD did their raid a little while back. They took all responsibility and wanted to tell stories. Now it is utter silence.

We cannot know at this point, it is mere speculation, until the verified reports are out. But what is striking is that these issues are reoccurring and at a rate, that is not favourable to Kagame and his authorities. Peace.

IREME News Website Blocked Again in Rwanda (03.10.2019)

Uganda-Rwanda Tensions XIII: RNC Internal Letter to Jerome Nayigiziki on disappearence of Mr. Rutabana (02.10.2019)