Continuation of conflicting reports after the Beni attack on the MONUSCO Soldiers, as the UPDF prepares for deployment!
There are always an aftermath after a massacre, clearly the lights into darkness, you never know what you find or who you find. The ADF or ADF-NALU has gotten the blame for the attack on 7th December 2017. However, there are questions if they could do such a well based attack on MONUSCO and FARDC soldiers on that day. This will be a question as long as the Democratic Republic of Congo isn’t delivering or telling who they believe is behind it.
I will go through recent days report as the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) are preparing to deploy new forces in a joint mission together with the FARDC. This happens as there been consultation meetings in Mbarara, in the same days as the attack in Beni occurred. The reasons for this strike and attack is not known. The basic leverage of doing so is neither seen. If the ADF really did it or not. The ADF or ADF-NALU has not taken responsibility. Neither is the certainty of former M23 or any other group in the region having the capacity to strike this heavy against the peacekeepers on the move. With knowledge of their movement and knew exactly when to shoot.
Therefore, I have complied certain parts of news and reporting during the past few days. From different sources, as the UPDF are preparing to enter. Do a mission again inside the Congolese territory. This isn’t new, but new in the prospects, that the Kinshasa government is on overtime and extending their reign without any elections. While certain regions are filled with insecurity and rush of soldiers. With the use of foreign soldiers to clear out internal issues. Also ex-militants who are creating more trouble in a already conflicted region, where peace seems to evade.
“The neutralization of the ADF and the security of the borders between the DRC and Uganda are two topics at the center of a meeting, Thursday, December 14, between the armed forces of these two countries. The talks are taking place in Kasindi-Lubiriha, a Congolese town about 90 km northeast of the city of Beni, bordering Uganda. This meeting brings together some senior officers and generals of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) as well as those of the Ugandan army (UPDF). According to security sources, the FARDC and the UPDF are discussing the planning and start of joint operations to neutralize the terrorist group ADF, active in the territory of Beni. The meeting between the Ugandan army and the Congolese army comes as new FARDC reinforcements from Kisangani have been deployed since Wednesday, December 13, in the Beni region. The Ugandan army delegation is led by Brigadier Michael Kabango, commander of the 5th Infantry Division of the Ugandan army. That of the Armed Forces of the DRC is led by General Marcel Mbangu commander of operations Sokola 1 North” (Radio Okapi, 2017)
“National MP Paul Muhindo opposes planning a joint military operation between Ugandan and Congolese armies against Ugandan rebels from the ADF. During a briefing on Friday, December 15, this elected North Kivu, believes that this operation “will amplify things” on Congolese soil. “We think it’s a bad thing to associate these people [Ugandan soldiers] with coming to fight the ADF who are their brothers. This is a way for us to believe that we want to further amplify the situation on our territory, “said MP Paul Muhindo. He said a mixed military operation is not appropriate for bringing peace to eastern DRC. MP Muhindo believes that the FARDC are able to end the activism of this rebel group, with the support of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), “if there is a clear will.”” (Radio Okapi, 2017).
Denouncing UPDF presence already in March 2017 in the DRC:
“The provincial assembly of North Kivu opened its March session on Monday, March 31st. A session that starts with the denunciation of the presence of Ugandan army soldiers in some parts of eastern DRC. The chairman of this deliberative body clarified the areas where these UPDF soldiers are concentrated for unclear reasons. Jules HAKIZIMWAMI cited, for example, the Sarambwe Gorilla Reserve, about 100 kilometers north of Goma, in Rutshuru territory. They have been there since March 26, he said. He continued that these UPDF soldiers occupy important hills in the Sarambwe and Kisharo villages in the Binza group. The already occupied hills include Kazingiro, Kabumba, Risura and Kanyabusanane, more or less 20 kilometers from the Congolese-Ugandan border, according to the president of the provincial assembly of North Kivu. Jules HAKIZIMWAMI lamented the fact that these Ugandan soldiers say they came to secure their compatriots, who preceded them to make fields in Sarambwe. In his opening speech of this parliamentary session, the president of the provincial assembly called for the involvement of national authorities and regional and international cooperation structures to put an end to this presence” (Masimengo, 2017).
Museveni order UPDF to DRC:
“Observers say UPDF’s anticipated operations could stretch deep into the volatile and unstable region to create a buffer zone for Uganda. “This time the President is extremely serious,” said a source. “He will not allow anyone to stand in his way as soon as DRC commences joint operations with UPDF.” Multiple sources said Museveni insisted Uganda obtains consent from DRC to avoid legal ramifications of an “invasion” and “work with all stakeholders to pacify that region.” “We intend to go there officially and work closely with DRC forces to stabilize the region across our border,” said an official informed about Uganda’s preparations for combat action. By Friday, heavily armed troops and artillery pieces were still being deployed at the border, confirming widely held perception UPDF would be inside DRC for quite a long time” (Muhame, 2017).
Who is behind the December attack on MONUSCO:
“Tuesday, December 06, 2017. The FARDC officials whose camp is based near the base of the peacekeepers Camp, more or less 700m away, phone that they will send soldiers to fetch food, as they are used to doing. Around 17:30, they call their partners to announce that they are en route. A few minutes later, they arrive at the edge of their well-identified vehicle known to Tanzanian peacekeepers. They are around 35. They are familiar with the configuration of the camp. They are used to going there to refuel. Those who stand guard recognize some of them. They let them in. Everything is going fast! While one of those on guard is calling his superiors to warn them of the arrival of their « friends », the vehicle stops in the middle of the camp. A group of 5 or 6 goes towards the structures of communication, passes immediately to the attack and in the blink of an eye all the structures of communication are destroyed and all the camp is under attack. The peacekeepers are more trained than the attackers. They manage to repel the enemy. Moments later, another FARDC group arrives while the peacekeepers continue to repel the attackers. Great surprise! The peacekeepers note that the Fardc arrive to reinforce the attackers. This reinforcement will continue until dawn. Whenever attacking Fardc units feel weakened, others come to replace them. To believe a FARDC soldier who has just contacted Benilubero newsroom, while the fighting continues, Colonel Papy Kasongo, the head of the FARDC regiment, will constantly communicate with his superiors and tell them that the ADF have tried to take the camp of the peacekeepers but that everything returned in order a few minutes later” (…) “Thursday, December 08, 2017 Monusco is alerted in the early hours that one of its camps was attacked at night. Without delay, it sends a reinforcement. The consternation is total on arrival. Injured people moan in the bush. Lifeless bodies are strewn everywhere: 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers and 5 Fardc killed, among whom we can identify 3 Rwandans. The camp is literally looted. All materials and food were taken away. But no combat is reported in the area and no body of a so-called ADF-Nalu is found. Injured people testify and the facts speak for themselves. Monusco is very embarrassed. It will limit itself to giving the human balance sheet” (Beni Lubero, 2017)
With all of this, we can just speculate and wonder. Who did what and where. The reality is that innocent lives are taken. This time both FARDC soldiers and Tanzanian peacekeepers. Also the deaths of the attackers, who we don’t know if they belonged to ADF or if they we’re even a parallel FARDC-Network. At this moment, we don’t know. The speculations and the intelligence on the matter is mere opinions and not facts.
There are two stories being told and its hard to know, which ones to believe, what is striking is the quickly resolve of sending forces from Uganda into this. How easily the FARDC accept to play second fiddle on their own soil. How the UPDF and Museveni can deploy his forces in Northern Kivu. Without sort of acceptance of MONUSCO or anyone else supporting the peacekeepers. We can wonder who will pay or what will be the pay for these soldiers in the DRC. Since the UPDF has to pay them and give them shelter while fighting militants in the Beni area.
If the MP Muhindo is right, that it will amplify things, then the next coming weeks will be bloody. Also with the possible troops there already near Goma. They are already in the region and ready to arrive on the scene, as they have put soldiers and artillery in the Kisoro region combined with the ones reported in March 2017 20 km away from Goma. This proves that the Ugandans was ready prepared long in advanced for this sort of strike close to their border. That shouldn’t shock anyone, since they have been in the DRC plenty of times and used it to export valuable minerals and timber for a long time. This combined with the Consultation Meeting in December in Mbarara. Proves that something was-up, but the official agreement between the DRC and Uganda in this matter. Has not been official. Neither has the minutes for that meeting. In the hours and days ahead of the attack on MONUSCO in Beni. That should also be questioned.
We should be worried about that, because secrecy like that, makes it even more questionable, the reasons for the deployment and also the sudden attack on MONUSCO. There are enough pieces that is missing and the picture is not clear. If it is Kabila who needs insurgency as a reason to stay in power or Museveni wants soldiers deployed, because he has a smaller contingent in Somalia (AMISOM). Peace.
Beni Lubero – ‘The whole truth about the assassination of Tanzanian peacekeepers: A signed attack by FARDC’ (16.12.2017) link: http://benilubero.com/the-whole-truth-about-the-assassination-of-tanzanian-peacekeepers-a-signed-attack-by-fardc/
Radio Okapi – ‘La neutralisation des ADF au centre d’une réunion entre les FARDC et l’armée ougandaise’ (14.12.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/12/14/actualite/securite/la-neutralisation-des-adf-au-centre-dune-reunion-entre-les-fardc-et
Radio Okapi – ‘Le député Muhindo s’oppose à l’opération militaire mixte RDC-Ouganda contre les ADF’ (17.12.2017) link: https://www.radiookapi.net/2017/12/17/actualite/securite/le-depute-muhindo-soppose-loperation-militaire-mixte-rdc-ouganda
Masimengo, Eve – ‘Nord-Kivu : Des militaires Ougandais s’installent dans certaines localités’ (13.12.2017) link: http://benilubero.com/nord-kivu-des-militaires-ougandais-sinstallent-dans-certaines-localites/
Muhame, Giles – ‘Museveni Orders On DRC Operation as UPDF Amass Troops at Border’ (17.12.2017) link: http://chimpreports.com/museveni-orders-on-drc-operation-as-updf-amass-troops-at-border/