By Alex Muhumuza
Over the past few days Chimpreports, a Kampala propaganda outlet known to be under the control of Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI), has been straining more than usual trying to establish a version of events in DRC that is not supported by any factual reality.
As usual the narrative, as tailored by Kampala in it’s long-running campaign of misinformation against Rwanda, aims to tarnish Kigali with claims of “atrocities” in eastern Congo, even when the sane world is aware that Kinshasa is establishing control over the entirety of its territory. Disregarding this fact, Chimpreports – an outlet that gets instructions from Brig. CK Asiimwe, CMI’s deputy director in charge of anti-terrorism – this Monday published a long article they titled, Big Story: Rwanda, Burundi tension escalates over Minembwe War. Its central assertion is that “Rwanda is running undercover operations in DRC”.
But in trying to support its claims Chimpreports begins by descending into what, in logical thinking is called non-sequiturs. “Tensions between Kigali and Gitega have intensified in recent days, with Burundian officials insisting Rwanda continues to run undercover military operations in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” writes Chimpreports’ chief editor Giles Muhame.
This sentence will leave the reader scratching their head. So Burundi now is reporting that Rwanda has military operations in DRC? It is at such moments that one realizes just how far down the rabbit hole the CMI propagandist media have descended in their anti-Rwanda campaign. Kinshasa has not complained of Rwandan forces allegedly on its territory, but “Gitega” is doing so?
On the other hand, even as the Kampala mouthpiece desperately labors to keep the expired, discredited narrative alive of Rwandan forces allegedly “operating in Congo” – with several alarmist allegations of “atrocities” that Chimp tries to link to Kigali – one feels there must be a very good reason why Kampala now also is running Burundian propaganda.
In the Ugandan regime’s long-standing plot to destabilize Rwanda through proxies like RNC, FDLR, RUD-Urunana and others in the so-called “P5” grouping, Bujumbura was cited as a central actor – most conclusively by a UN Group of Experts on DRC report published in December 2018. The reports described Bujumbura as a major transit point for illegally imported arms to be infiltrated to the illegal armed groups in the Minembwe region, specifically to Kampala’s proxies that also became allied with Burundi in the mutual goal of exporting violence to Rwanda.
According to the UN report, Bujumbura also was a major transit center for rebel recruits, many from Uganda enroute to training camps of “P5” of which Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC was one of the biggest groups.
The roots of Burundi’s alliance with Kampala and the anti Rwanda groups Kampala sponsors began, as objective observers will note, when Nkurunziza caused upheaval in his own country. That was in 2015 after the Burundian ruler – who was supposed to step down after his two terms in power were up – instead announced out of the blue that he was going nowhere!
That automatically caused massive disturbances in the country. Outraged people were in the streets protesting, saying they never were consulted on Nkurunziza’s decision to begin with. Burundi government forces resorted to massacring their own people, in full view of the world. Social media relayed images to the region, and the world. Burundian forces were daily committing atrocities against civilians and everyone saw that.
Then suddenly Nkurunziza and his people turned Rwanda into the scapegoat.
This, every unbiased analyst of Burundian affairs saw, was the Burundian ruler in serious trouble (as a result of his actions) trying to deflect blame. Bujumbura then took its blame games to their logical extreme, by following Kampala into alliances with anti-Rwanda terrorist groups. It is hardly surprising then, as informed readers will see, that CMI’s favorite vehicle of anti-Rwanda misinformation now is “reporting Kigali” on behalf of Burundi.
But the further one reads down the piece the more tenuous its claims become. “Rwanda prepared special forces operations teams to be embedded in the DRC Army,” writes Muhame, continuing, “the Rwandan combatants including military intelligence operatives wear the DRC army uniform. So it is not easy to identify them!”
But who is the source of this information? According to Muhame, it is some locals (unnamed), and some Banyamulenge leaders in the area (also unnamed), that have supplied the information. This is kind of like Muhame’s claims in April last year that “Rwandan troops had crossed to Kisoro looking for food and drinks.”
When challenged to show some evidence, the man claimed he “would produce video”. He did not, even after being reminded for several months straight. Muhame was just inventing his story. It is obvious he is doing the same with these mysterious “Rwandans in Congo” that “wear Congolese Army uniforms”, but who have only been seen by unnamed, unidentified locals.
But even as Muhame determinedly piles more fictions into his article he studiously avoids mentioning the crimes that Kampala proxy groups, (also Bujumbura allies) RNC, FDLR, or RUD-Urunana have perpetrated for years in the vast neighbor’s territory. For years these illegal armed groups, even as they kept up their preparations to attack Rwanda, terrorized Congolese communities.
They extorted money at roadblocks, and set up illegal taxation structures in areas where they were. They killed any Congolese that protested their acts or resisted their orders. They burnt, and illegally exported charcoal. They were illegitimately involved in a lot of moneymaking activities.
But now that the illegal armed groups have been suffering heavy defeats, their backers and allies have nothing left but to keep smearing Rwanda. RNC has lost top commanders such as Charles Sibo, who died mid last year along with hundreds of other RNC fighters. The loss that was compounded by the capturing alive of Habib Mudathir and dozens of others.
FDLR lost its top commander Sylvestre Mudacumura in September last year. A couple of months later RUD-Urunana’s overall commander Juvenal Musabyimana alias Jean Michel Africa was killed. Other commanders such as Gavana ran away, to go hide in Kisoro with the help of Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke.
But these and other successes against the forces of terrorism in the region apparently are not going down well in Kampala and Bujumbura (or Gitega according to Chimpreports).
Going by the record of their propaganda machine, it is certain they will come up with more tall tales.