There isn’t often I have gone through so many United Nations documents to pile up information about one single militias or guerilla force in the DRC. This is because I have had a suspicious feeling about the connection to the government of Uganda, as they have been busy before in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as they have done with their partners in Kigali, President Kagame and Government of Rwanda. As we will see here, this is the facts that the UN have claimed by their eye-witnesses, Amama Mbabazi is the man who has defended the Government of Uganda, he had to come with a threat towards the United Nations to silent this. Therefore you haven’t heard much about it…
As this will go first by year it is published, first you can read the defense of the Government of Uganda, then the evidence brought by the United Nations different committees and institutions from the “the Expert Group” and so on. This is interesting reading and should give you insights to a world the Rwandan and Ugandan government does not want the world to question, as much as they don’t want the questions come about the killing of Laurent Kabila… as that question the manner of how they brought a new regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this here is newer and fresher, close to today, as it then is more evidence that the UN has collected, and has pictured in their archives. Therefore take a look and hope it opens your mind.
Part of Uganda Government defense against the allegation made by Amama Mbabazi:
“About the same time, H.E. Joseph Kabila, President of DRC, contacted President Museveni and explicitly requested him to intervene and facilitate dialogue between M23 and DRC Government. In accordance with article 23(2) of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, President Museveni convened four Extra-Ordinary Summits of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the security situation in Eastern DRC, three of which were hosted in Kampala using Uganda’s own resources” (…)”The UN must sort out the malignancy against Uganda by bringing out the truth about Uganda’s role in the current Regional efforts” (…)”In light of the above, withdrawing from Somalia, CAR, etc., becomes inevitable so that we keep watch on the DRC territory donated to the terrorists by the DRC Government and the United Nations” (Mbabazi, 2012).
5th Extraordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region declaration on M23 and violence in DRC:
“Gravely concerned about the advance and capture of the city of Goma and the town of Sake in Kivu Province, of the DRC, by the M23 rebel movement in spite of the directive of the previous Summits of ICGLR to cease hostilities and remain in positions they occupied in July 2012” (…)”HEREBY DECIDE AS FOLLOWS:” (…)”MONUSCO to occupy and provide security in the neutral zone between Goma and the new areas occupied by M23” (…)”This process shall be supervised by Chiefs of Defence of Rwanda, DRC and led by the Chief of Defence Forces of Uganda, with the participation of other Chiefs of Defence Staff from other member states”(ICGLR, 2012).
First piece of evidence:
“The report also accuses Uganda of backing the M23, providing troops and ammunition for specific military operations” (P: 5, Gil, 2012).
Government of Uganda Support of M23:
“Senior Government of Uganda (GoU) officals have also provided support to M23 in the form of direct troop reinforcement in DRC territory, weapons deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice, and facilitation of external relations, Units of Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) jointly supported M23 in a series of attacks in July 2012 to take over the major town in Rutshuru territory, and the Forces Armees de la RDC (FARDC) base of Rumanbago” (P: 2, 2012). “Uganda’s more subtle support to M23 allowed the rebel group’s political branch to operate from within Kampala and boost its external relations” (P: 4, 2012). “UPDF Commanders sent troops and weapons to reinforce specific M23 operations and assisted in the M23’s recruitment and weapons procurement efforts in Uganda. Ugandan officials equally endorsed a “laissez-faire” policy authorizing local military and civil authorities to cooperate with M23 out of their personal ties to the RDF or the rebels” (UN, P: 9, 2012).
Weapons delivery to M23 from Uganda:
“Former M23 soldiers stated that UPDF officers based in Kisoro have been supplying M23 with small quantiles of weapons. One former M23 soldier said he hadaccompanied Makenga to Kisoro on three occasions at the beginning of July 2012” (…)”A former M23 soldier stated that UPDF commanders brought heavy weapons including 12,7 mm machine guns to the hill overlook Bunagana, on the Ugandan side of the border, in order to reinforce M23 during the attack, and subsequently left them with the rebels after they took the town” (…)”Two former RDF officers, two FARDC officers, one M23 cadre and one former M23 soldier stated that two trucks transported weapons and ammunition to Bunagana prior to the attacks on Rutshuru and Kiwanja. According to one FARDC officer, the two trucks mainly contained RPG-7 grenade launchers and machines guns” (UN, P: 11-12, 2012).
More on the connection with GoU:
“Four Ugandan officials, an FARDC officer based in Bunagana, border agents as well as a former CNDP politician told the group that the Jomba Groupment chief based in Bunagana, Vincent Mwambutsa, regularly travels to Kisoro to organize recruitment and financial contributions for M23 with the Resident District Commander (RDC) of Kisoro, Milton Bazanye, his ally Willbaforce Nkundizana and local UPDF officers. One former M23 soldier confirmed that the rebels recruited 28 Ugandan civillians in Kisoro. A Ugandan official in Kisoro personally witnessed the UPDF taking recruits to the border” (UN, P: 12, 2012).
Ugandan known leaders and personalities involved in support of M23:
“A UPDF officer, a Ugandan leader, an M23 cadre, politicians, intelligence sources, a Kampala based diplomat and several businessmen stated that Gen. Salim Selah has been principal responsible for UPDF support of M23” (…)”A Ugandan Civil Society member, two M23 cadres and a Ugandan counter-intelligence report also affirmed that UPDF Western Division commander, General Patrick Kankiriho, has overseen military support to M23, including providing orders to Mukasa” (…)”Three Ugandan officials stated that in May and July 2012, General Kayihura held meetings with the rebels at Kisoro” (UN, P: 13, 2012).
Ugandan trading with illegal DRC gold:
“The Group estimates that 98 percent of the gold produced in DRC is smuggled out of the country, and that nearly all of the gold traded in Uganda – the main transit country for Congolese gold – is illegally exported from DRC. As a result, the governments of DRC and Uganda are losing millions of dollars annually in tax revenue, and tolerating a system that is financing armed groups in DRC” (UN, P: 1, 2013).
One Connection between M23 and Uganda:
“The Ugandan army spokesperson stated that the former M23 “are not prisoners; they are soldiers running away from a war so we are receiving them and helping them because it is our responsibility.”28 He also compared the reception of M23 to what Uganda had done in 2012 when a Congolese army battalion had fled into Ugandan territory following fighting with the M23. President Museveni later indicated that he would not hand over Makenga to Congolese authorities and compared protecting him to the same support he gave Laurent Kabila against Mobutu in 1996” (…)”After being disarmed and registered at a Ugandan army facility in Kisoro on 13 November 2013, most of the former M23 fighters were transferred to the Bihanga military training center near Kasese” (…)”According to latest reports, Makenga and Kaina remain under Ugandan surveillance, while other former M23 officers and political leaders are reportedly able to move freely in Uganda” (SSPC, P:4-5, 2014).
“Uganda, it is important to note, has received relatively little reprimand despite its implication in supporting M23. Its contribution of roughly one third of peacekeeping troops to the high-priority AMISOM mission, and threat to withdraw those troops in response to the GoE’s allegations, is likely a major factor in that lack of attention” (Jackson, 2013).
Findings from the M23 declaration:
“Recalling its declaration at Kampala, Uganda, on the 5th November 2013 that it had renounced rebellion and requested its ex-combatants to prepare for the process of disbarment, demobilization and social reintegration” (…)”Declares as follows: End of rebellion. M23 confirms it has renounced its rebellion. Amnesty: The M23 accepts that to benefit from the amnesty, each member of M23 shall be required to make a personal commitment in writing to refrain from the use of weapons or from participating in an insurgency movement to ensure success of any demand. Transitional security arrangements: The M23 commits itself to comply with and implement the transitional security arrangements, the details of which will be defined by the proposed Annex A as adjusted to reflect the changed situation on the ground, including the fact that some members of M23 fled to Uganda where they were received” (…)”M23 members reserve the right to change its name and become a political party accordance with the constitution and laws of DRC” (M23, 2013).
Risky move of amnesty to M23 member and combatants:
“The FIB’s impact was twofold. Most obviously, it had a military role, both in supporting the Congolese military (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo, or FARDC) and in taking the fight directly to the M23, deploying sophisticated technology such as South African attack helicopters. But perhaps more importantly, it changed the dynamics of regional politics. In raising the political stakes for the M23 and its putative backers, particularly Rwanda, it forced them into a choice between allowing the group to be defeated or – in essence – declaring open war on the SADC. The result is that the east of the DRC, for the first time in many years, is no longer held hostage by rebel groups with significant links to neighbouring governments, though these undoubtedly remain. It was a high-risk move, and one that could have led the region back into inter-state conflict. But M23’s backers instead chose to disengage, allowing the group to fragment, signing a series of agreements known as the Nairobi Declaration in December 2013. Though it has not faded entirely – former M23 combatants, many of whom are currently in Uganda and Rwanda, represent a latent threat of re-mobilization that urgently needs to be addressed – the group is no longer able to directly shape events in eastern DRC” (Shepard, 2014).
The situation of M23 by August 2015:
“At this stage, the amnesty provision and the repatriation process of the reportedly over 1,400 ex-M23 combatants which fled to Uganda and Rwanda in 2013 are amongst the most contentious. To date, only 182 ex-M23 combatants have been repatriated from Uganda to the DRC, while 13 have been repatriated from Rwanda. According to Ugandan sources, as of 4 August, 817 ex-M23 combatants are cantoned at the Bihanga Military Camp. About 327 residents of the camp have deserted, with no clarity on their whereabouts, 14 are admitted in hospital, 25 departed on sick leaveand are yet to return, 4 are deceased. The presence of hundreds of ex-M23 and are yet to return, 4 are deceased. The presence of hundreds of ex-M23 combatants in Rwanda and Uganda remains a serious source of concern for the GoDRC and the host authorities in Uganda and Rwanda. Yet, despite several attempts by the GoDRC to expedite the repatriation of the ex-M23 combatants, in line with the Nairobi Declarations and relevant decisions of the ICGLR Summits, there has been no progress in this process due to lack of even focus in the implementation of the Nairobi Declarations” (UN, 2015).
As we can see there is a connection and the deflection from Government of Uganda (GoU) is expected, but if I had showed the riches gained by the imported gold from the areas that M23 took, would have showed the value for supporting the army as the common sense for the cooperation and support directly from the GoU.
He might have called President Kabila and told he would work on the matter and have the discussions in Kampala as a way of swaying away from the fact that they are behind and servicing the M23. We can see that and knowing that they gave arms, training, army men from the UPDF and even technical training. The pictures of the arms with Ugandan origin after the retreat and stop of violence from M23 should be proof enough of their involvement into the matter, what is worse is the witnesses claiming that certain big men in the government has supported and set things in order to fix the problems that M23 had at one point. That is something that we all should consider, as Salim Selah has been involved in a lot of shady arrangement in DRC before and has only backed away from the “Wonga Coup” to deliver arms to Thatcher’s son. Rest of the time he has done transport arrangements and fixing the army to keep Uganda in parts of DRC when needed. So the stories of him being involved would not be a shock in any way.
The suspect issue is how easy they could stay in Uganda, cross the borders and even get personnel and recruit in border areas. As this suspect connection together with the history of using military force from Uganda to get wealth out of the DRC. As they did in the late 1990s and in the beginning of 2000s; they haven’t just cooperated with the world to fight together will alliances to force away LRA and ADF-NALU. That is not the whole story, though the Government of Uganda won’t it to seem that way, as a way to clean their hands from the mud they have been swimming in. Takes a lot more than a shower to get the dirt off, you smell me?
Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum – ‘Consolidating the Peace: Closing the M23 Chapter – Prepared on behalf of the DRC Affinity Group December 2014’
Jackson, Henry M. – ‘DEFENSE, DIPLOMACY AND DEVELOPMENT: MAKING A 3D STRATEGY WORK IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION OF AFRICA’ (Winter 2013)
Gil, Manuel Manrique – ‘The M23 and eastern D.R. Congo: An intractable problem or an opportunity to engage?’ (12.11.2012) – ‘European Parliament: Directorate-Generale for External Affairs: Policy Department’
International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) – ‘DECLARATION OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE GREAT LAKES REGION (ICGLR) ON THE SECURITY SITUATION IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) 5th EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT’ (24.11.2012).
M23 – ‘Declaration of Commitments by the Movement of March 23 at the Conclusion of the Kampala Dialogue’ (12.12.2013) – Nairobi, Kenya.
Mbabazi, Amama – ‘Uganda’s Stand and Response on the allegations made by the UN Group of Experts and the subsequent endorsement of the allegations by the UN Security Council about Uganda’s purported support of M23 rebels’ (01.11.2012) – Statement in Parliament of Uganda
Shepard, Ben – ‘Beyond Crisis in the DRC The Dilemmas of International Engagement and Sustainable Change’ (December 2014) – Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs,
United Nation – Letter dated 12 October 2012 from the Group Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo
United Nation – ‘Letter dated 12 December 2013 from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo The members of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo have the honour to transmit the final report of the Group, prepared in pursuance of paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2078 (2012)’
United Nations – ‘OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION -Neutralization of Armed Groups’ (26.08.2015)