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Exclusive: New details show how Ugandan authorities nurtured marriage of convenience between RNC and FDLR

By The New Times

FDLR leaders LaForge Fils Bazeye, Theophile “Abega” Kamala and Uganda’s regional cooperation minister, Philemon Mateke (M).

When high-ranking FDLR officials LaForge Fils Bazeye and Theophile “Abega” Kamala received an order from their superior in December 2018 to travel to Uganda, their “mission” was part of a plan by Kampala to forge a marriage of convenience between the two main anti-Rwanda rebel forces.
Col. Bazeye (real names Ignace Nkaka) is the former spokesman of FDLR. He together with Lt. Col. Abega (Jean Pierre Nsekanabo) the group’s former head of intelligence have since early last year been in jail, with the Nyanza-based High Court Chamber for International Crimes recently charging them with seven counts of serious crimes among them treason, belonging to an illegal, armed terrorist group, and launching attacks into Rwanda.

At the time the Congolese border authorities arrested the men, on 15 December at Bunagana, that very day they were coming from that “mission” to Uganda – namely a meeting at the Kampala Serena chaired over by a Ugandan cabinet minister and also attended by officials of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC.

Now, in an exclusive interview with The New Times, Bazeye and Abega have divulged a lot of new details about that meeting.

It was organized by the Ugandan regime as part of ongoing plots to “remove the government in Kigali”, according to both men. The convener of the meeting was Uganda’s regional cooperation minister, Philemon Mateke, and he did so on the instructions of President Museveni, it has long since come to light.

In our interview with the FDLR men, they once again confirmed what has repeatedly been reported in local media: Mateke is the focal point of plans “to forge a united front” between RNC and FDLR – a group more known as the offshoot of the ex FAR and Interahamwe militias that perpetrated the 94 Genocide against the Tutsi.

During the meeting at the Serena Mateke was there to represent Kampala’s interests, with Nkaka and Nsekanabo representing FDLR, while Frank Ntwari and one Rashid represented RNC. Ntwari, a brother in law of Nyamwasa also is RNC “Head of Youth Commission”.

Talking in a low and weary-sounding voice Bazeye, 54, says that he and Abega were first notified of their impending trip to Kampala by their immediate superior, “Maj. Gen. Omega” aka Pacifique Ntawunguka – at the time the deputy commander of FDLR. Bazeye says when Omega summoned them, he told them: “You two are going to Kampala.

“You are going to meet RNC officials. You will listen to what they have to say, and you will agree to what they have to say!”

The briefing ended there and then, says Abega, 47, a short, stocky man with a completely shaven, round head. Abega added that the very following day, on the morning of 14 December 2018 is when they set off for Kisoro. “We used Congolese travel passes that we got on false pretenses that we were Congolese,” he says.

When they crossed into Kisoro, a man named Tito Gisesa received them. Gisesa, who also is known in rebel circles as Lt. Col. Nkuriyingoma, is an FDLR liaison officer in Uganda but on the payroll of Mateke, according to Bazeye. Gisesa took the two men straight to the Umubano Hotel in Kisoro town. This hotel belongs to Philemon Mateke, as everyone in the area knows.

“We relaxed in the Umubano Hotel after we arrived. We waited for nightfall, then we boarded a bus to Kampala,” Abega said. They arrived in the Ugandan capital in the morning, and went straight to the FDLR liaison officer’s home in the Nakulabye neighborhood. They narrate that they relaxed and had lunch.

“Then in the afternoon the car of Minister Mateke came and we got in. Minister Mateke himself was inside to take us to our meeting place,” Bazeye says. “It was one of those big cars; a Landcruiser four wheel drive with dark glasses and the Minister was inside,” added Abega.

Observers would point out that a Ugandan cabinet minister using his official vehicle to personally collect members of a rebel group sworn to destabilize another country underscores “just how invested in anti-Rwanda terrorism Ugandan authorities are.”

Bazeye says that inside the vehicle Mateke asked him and Abega: “FDLR, are you ready and willing to work with Tutsis?” Their answer was “yes”. The Minister then said, “good, I have a message for you from President Museveni.”

Analysts say the “marriage of convenience” that the Ugandan government has been nurturing between FDLR and RNC is a mere ploy “to try to hoodwink the public that ‘the struggle against the Rwandan government’ is ‘broad-based’, and not one ‘based on ethnicity’”.

In actual sense, the analysts continue, “These are unscrupulous opportunists who each think they will use the other for the ultimate goal of capturing power.”

According to the two FDLR men, when the meeting started the agenda was very simple: how prepared FDLR was to work with RNC.

Bazeye and Abega say they assured the meeting that FDLR was “ready to collaborate in every way with RNC”. To them absolutely “anything to topple the Kigali Government was alright.” Mateke was beaming with happiness at that point, Bazeye told this paper. The two FDLR men then went ahead to thank the Ugandan Government for the initiative of bringing them together with RNC.

According to them, Mateke said he would pass his message on to President Museveni. The Ugandan minister then informed the meeting: “This only is a preliminary meeting. Greater things are ahead in this collaboration!”

Abega discloses that as the meeting neared conclusion, “Minister Mateke told us that the next time, he would bring us together with Kayumba Nyamwasa himself.”

Frank Ntwari and Rashid declared themselves “very satisfied with the way the meeting had gone.”

That gathering is one of the very many incidences of anti-Rwanda activities facilitated by Uganda that Kigali has protested in different fora: through diplomatic notes verbale by Rwanda’s High Commission in Kampala; and in talks to implement the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding.

Kigali has been categorical that RNC and FDLR activities on Ugandan territory like these and others like recruitment for the rebel groups, abuse of Rwandan nationals that includes kidnapping, illegal jailing, and torture, all are issues that Uganda must demonstrably put an end to. That is if normalization of relations between the two countries is ever to happen, Kigali officials have repeatedly emphasized.

At Serena after the meeting, which took like a couple of hours, concluded Mateke gave Bazeye and Abega transportation fare, they say. They thanked him and set off to the bus station that very afternoon and boarded one to Kisoro. When they reached there and crossed into DRC however, their luck ran out.

Congolese authorities, fed up with the presence of illegal armed groups on their territory, nabbed them.

Source: By The New Times

Link: Exclusive: New details show how Ugandan authorities nurtured marriage of convenience between RNC and FDLR

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