PROXY WARS IN CENTRAL AFRICA?
Profits, Propaganda and Luxury Goods for the West --
Pacification, Rape and Slavery for the Rest
by keith harmon snow
Brigitte Botsi is a seven year-old girl living in the village of Yalisenge,
in Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At 4:00 PM on
April 30, Brigitte was raped by a soldier. Related directly by e-mail from
a humanitarian aid worker based in the area, Brigitte's rape went otherwise
unreported. (The aid worker's life would be endangered if name or position
were revealed.) The soldier, loyal to the DRC transitional government of
President Joseph Kabila, remains unpunished.
On May 6, a girl was raped in public in Mondombe, Equateur. Villagers
watched as she was stripped naked and beaten by DRC government troops. The
previous day, DRC troops had abducted two young daughters of a family in
Equateur--the girls were freed after a foreign aid worker complained to
Brigitte's people have seen a decade of unspeakable horror: waves of
killing, indiscriminate torture, the massacre of hundreds of thousands of
refugees, scorched-earth campaigns annihilating entire villages, civilians
repeatedly brutalized by all sides.
Everything was destroyed by war. Families gave daughters to the military in
return for their lives. Soldiers came and went, leaving girls as young as
twelve alone with children of rape that are now starving, the husbands and
fathers lost as adult males were conscripted or slaughtered. Teachers'
salaries are 1,000 francs a month, less than three US dollars, and teachers
weakened by hunger cannot last to noon. Parents in small villages cannot
pay school fees of about one US dollar a month per child.
From April to June, Brigitte's village was again invaded. Rebel soldiers of
the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) emptied entire villages and
terrorized people already traumatized by eight years of unrelenting war.
Reports from different parts of Equateur documented both RCD and government
troops--officially the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces
(FARDC)--looting, destroying and confiscating property, homes and schools;
conscripting males for forced labor; raping and abducting women and girls.
"Armed groups have been implicated in human rights abuses ranging from
attacks on villages to pillaging, intimidation and harassment," reported
the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs June 14, "while the systematic
abduction and rape of women and girls continued, mostly with impunity,
throughout the country."
While some 10,000 international "peacekeeping" forces under the United
Nations Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) now occupy much of Congo to uphold
recent peace accords, powerful interests continue to pillage land and
people with impunity. Behind the headlines of "tribal warfare" splashed
over western media are secretive intelligence operatives, private military
companies, arms merchants, multinational corporations and their agents, and
mining executives operating through offshore bank accounts.
CONGO DESTABILIZATION: RWANDA'S SECRET WAR?
On the recent 10th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, few noted that
Rwanda's war is still being played out on the soil of neighboring DRC. On
approximately April 21, troops of the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) suffered
a military defeat in eastern DRC after a failed operation against soldiers
of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group
seeking to overthrow the one-party regime of Paul Kagame. The Rwandan
troops were in DRC in violation of the peace accords.
Observers reported that the FDLR routed the RDF, which retaliated with a
scorched-earth campaign against non-combatant civilians. MONUC observers
reportedly witnessed uniformed RDF officers commanding troops of the
Congolese Rally for Democracy--a force now ostensibly being incorporated
into the DRC army under the peace accords.
The international press attributed the retaliation to Rwandan rebel forces
in DRC that are universally described as Hutu "genocidiares"--veterans of
the Interahamwe militias responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. However,
not all Rwandan rebel groups operating in Congo are the same. The US State
Department lists the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) as a
terrorist group seeking "to topple Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated government,
reinstate Hutu control, and, possibly, complete the genocide." But the FDLR
is not listed as a terrorist group, and the State Department notes: "Though
directly descended from those who organized and carried out the genocide,
identified FDLR leaders are not thought to have played a role in the
killing. They have worked to build bridges to other opponents of the
[Rwandan] regime, including ethnic Tutsis."
In a May 5 interview with this reporter, Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro, leader
of the FDLR, warned of a planned destabilization of DRC led by a new
military alliance called the Front for the Liberation for Eastern Congo, or
FLEC, comprised of Rwandan Defense Forces and their Congolese allies such
as RCD, as well as units from Burundi.
Higiro claimed that Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan forces amassed on the
borders signal an imminent invasion of DRC under the pretense of "defending
national security" against "genocidiares." Rwanda and Burundi are both
currently under Tutsi-dominated regimes, and are said to be playing for
loyalty of the Banyamulenge, or ethnic Tutsis of eastern Congo.
The claims were given credence by renewed fighting in DRC's North and South
Kivu provinces, and especially the city of Bukavu, beginning May 26 and
exploding into all-out war during early June. Fighting involved Rwandan and
Burundian soldiers and allied Congolese RCD, against opposed RCD factions
and FARDC forces--all in violation of international ceasefire agreements.
"The Front for the Liberation of Congo has not declared itself," said
Higiro in a July 2 interview. "Publicly there is no FLEC, but most
observers know that the FLEC exists." Higiro and the FDLR believe that
Rwanda seeks to annex eastern DRC to create a powerful Tutsi/Banyamulenge
empire, rich in natural resources.
The FDLR and local Congolese journalists claim that the Rwandan military
and their criminal networks and militias continue to plunder raw materials
from the DRC and ship them out through Rwanda. In turn, the Kagame
government claims the FDLR seeks to destabilize Rwanda and finish what the
1994 genocide started. As violence escalated this spring, officials in
Rwanda claimed "genocide against the Banyamulenge" was underway in eastern
"We would certainly not use the term genocide," said Andrew Philip,
spokesman for Amnesty International's Central Africa Team, in a June 15
interview with this reporter. He dismissed claims by RCD commanders and
Rwandan officials, noting that all combatants looted, raped and killed
civilians of all communities. "Banyamulenge were not, according to our
sources, specifically targeted as an ethnic group by pro-government [DRC]
forces in Bukavu."
Philip confirmed that thousands of Banyamulenge have fled DRC citing fears
of persecution. As of July 1, the UNHCR counted some 34,000 DRC refugees in
Burundi and 3500 in Rwanda. But Philip said that some Banyamulenge
representatives condemned claims of genocide as a ploy by forces "seeking
to destabilize eastern DRC" through "the exacerbation of ethnic tensions."
He also cited multiple sources in DRC asserting that RDF soldiers were
present alongside the rebel Congolese RCD forces.
The UN's IRIN news service reported Dec. 26, 2003 that MONUC commanders
attempting to confirm reports of Rwandan troops in DRC were blocked by
"certain military commanders" who "denied us access to certain bases and
certain camps and prohibited us from speaking with their men."
William Pike of Uganda's New Vision newspaper says Rwanda's involvement "is
a common supposition" in eastern Congo. "The problem is an RCD faction
composed of Banyamulenge... Rwanda supports them morally, they don't deny
that, but do they support them logistically or provide covert leadership?
Rwanda denies that hotly."
But FDLR leader Jean-Marie Higiro has no doubts. He said on May 5: "The
third DRC war is underway."
The first DRC war was the 1995-6 insurgency against longtime dictator
Mobutu Sese Seko (under whom the country was called Zaire), led by the
guerilla army of Laurent Kabila and massively supported by Rwanda and
Uganda. The second war began in 1998, when Kabila (then president of the
newly-dubbed DRC) broke with Rwanda and Uganda, throwing out their military
advisors, along with US AID--and cancelled plans to have Bechtel rebuild
Congo's mining sector. This was dubbed "Africa's First World War," with
Angola and Zimbabwe backing Kabila against (US-backed) Rwanda and Uganda,
which first supported anti-Kabila rebel groups in the east, and then
intervened directly as well. The country was effectively partitioned, with
the government losing control of much of the east. Laurent Kabila was
assassinated in 2001, and succeeded by his son Joseph. South Africa and the
UN brokered an accord, and peacekeepers moved in--although some key warring
parties were excluded from the accords. Now Higiro says the peace is
definitively breaking down, as Rwanda makes a play for permanent control of
Higiro also claimed in his May interview that RDF and Rwandan-allied
soldiers were infiltrating the DRC capital Kinshasa with the intent of
removing President Joseph Kabila. Higiro's assessment was born out by an
attempted coup d'etat against Kabila on June 11, which briefly made world
"REPUBLIC OF VOLCANS": BALKANIZATION OF CONGO PLANNED?
In a June 6 press release decrying ongoing atrocities committed by all
sides throughout the DRC, Survivors' Rights International (SRI), based in
Alexandria, VA, called "on the international community to address
escalating conflict and the climate of impunity and lawlessness in the DRC,
to demand governments and other warring parties to order their soldiers to
stop committing acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, and to
withdraw troops that remain in DRC in contravention of international peace
SRI called on the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to immediately demand
that "all military leaders order their troops to stop ongoing atrocities
and sexual violence by their respective forces, to investigate abuses and
suspend or arrest those responsible, and to desist from arming, or
otherwise supporting, diverse factions and militias serving as their proxy
armies in DRC."
SRI urged all parties to "demand the immediate release of women and girls
who have been abducted and who remain captive sexual slaves to government
soldiers and affiliated militias, to arrest the perpetrators, and
investigate the complicity of military leaders and government officials in
condoning or participating in the widespread sexual violence, including
rapes, torture, disappearances and abductions of women and girls."
A Human Rights Watch statement of June 12 echoed the SRI demands. It also
pointed to accounts of Rwanda grooming Congolese proxy forces. "Local
sources claimed to have identified Rwandan military working with the
dissident forces," HRW noted, "an accusation Rwanda has emphatically
"Troops allied with Rwanda in eastern DRC are recruiting soldiers today,"
said FDLR's Higiro on July 2. London-based Congolese journalist Antoine
Roger Lokongo reported in his on-line Congo Panorama some 8,000 Rwandan
troops crossing into DRC in May and June.
"The Congolese Chief of Staff, Admiral Liwanga confirmed that Rwanda has
gone too far already in creating what he called the new 'Republic of the
Volcans,'" wrote Lokongo, "using Congolese insurgents fighting under the
banner of the so-called 'Front for the Liberation of Eastern Congo' (FLEC).
The movement has made a deal with Rwandan Chief of staff James Kabarebe to
supply it with logistic support until the Republic of the Volcans becomes a
"Over our dead body!" Lokongo thunders--a sentiment already true for
millions of Congolese. In 2001, the International Rescue Committee cited
over 3.5 million preventable deaths as a result of war in DRC since 1998:
deaths due to hunger, disease and forced displacements. Recent IRC
estimates are approaching 5 million.
"The RCD rebel movement in DRC was founded in 1998 by Paul Kagame," Lokongo
says. "Since then Kagame has always masterminded and used RCD as a front
for the Rwandan occupation of Congo."
And many see the hand of Washington behind Rwanda's perceived designs on
Congolese territory. Kagame is a graduate of the US Army's Command and
General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Prior to taking power in
Rwanda in 1994, Kagame was head of military intelligence for US-backed
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's Internal Security Organization.
BLOOD-DRENCHED ITURI: PAWN IN THE SECRET COLTAN WARS?
DRC's Orientale province borders Uganda and Sudan, and its Ituri district
is arguably the bloodiest corner of the world. From 1999 to April 2003, at
least 50,000 civilians perished in the region. All parties committed
summary executions, abductions, disappearances, forced labor, extortion,
mass rape, sexual slavery and routine conscription of child soldiers.
Human Rights Watch reported in a 2003 paper, "Ituri: Covered in Blood":
"The war in Ituri is a complex web of local, national and regional
conflicts, that developed after a local dispute between Hema and Lendu
ethnic groups was exacerbated by Ugandan actors and aggravated by the
broader international war in DRC."
While the Ugandan army claimed to be a "peacemaker" force in Ituri, HRW
said, in reality the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) "provoked
political confusion and created insecurity in areas under its control,
helping to launch, arm and train ethnically-based militia..." Fighting
continues in the region, despite peace accords.
On February 13, 2004, William Swing, the head of MONUC and UN Special
Representative to the DRC, declared from Washington that despite a UN arms
embargo, "the flow of weapons into the region, purchased through the
illegal harvesting of precious resources, is virtually unhindered."
MONUC forces were increased in Ituri in June 2003--but they have also been
accused of atrocities. MONUC soldiers reportedly raped Congolese girls and
spawned a sex-for-survival trade as women and girls impoverished by war
sold sex for a pittance to feed their families. Some western media reported
the MONUC sex scandal, but mass rape and prolonged sexual slavery committed
by all sides against tens of thousands of Congolese women largely remains
Ituri is rich in petroleum, gold, ivory, diamonds, timber and
columbo-tantalite (coltan)--raw materials coveted by international
commodities traders. In "Blood for Mobile Phones," from his Black Book on
Brand Companies, German journalist Klaus Werner tied corporations like
Bayer AG to the coltan-scramble bloodbath in DRC. Coltan micro-capacitors
are used in cellphones, Sony Playstations, laptop computer screens, and
high-tech info-warfare gadgetry.
Observers say the UPDF and RDF have stripped coltan, gold and diamonds out
of eastern DRC as rapidly as possible. Rights groups accuse UPDF and RDF
troops of forcing prisoners under inhuman conditions to mine coltan later
shipped out of Rwanda and Uganda. Before the UPDF and RDF themselves came
to war on Congolese territory over whether Uganda or Rwanda would control
eastern DRC, both were involved in directly overseeing the mining of
coltan. Rwanda was even accused of shipping in Hutu prisoners charged in
the 1994 genocide for coltan mining, as well as using captured Congolese.
UPDF troops that helped topple Congo's longtime dictator Mobutu and later
occupied eastern DRC have also been cited for some of the most egregious
atrocities by numerous rights bodies.
A 2002 UK Parliamentary report, "Cursed by Riches: Who Benefits from
Resource Exploitation in the DRC?", documents massive resource plunder by
both UPDF and RDF networks in Congo. Israeli military agents and
businessmen have also been accused of profiteering in the region.
Belgian diamond import statistics show remarkable quantities of diamonds
coming from DRC, Uganda and Rwanda. Exports from Rwanda and Uganda
increased markedly during military occupation in DRC since 1998.
Cited in the UN's October 2002 "Final Report of the Panel of Experts on the
Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo," UPDF Gen. Salim Saleh, half-brother to
Ugandan President Museveni, is accused of maintaining a network of
extortion and racketeering in Ituri. The UN report estimates Rwandan forces
made at least $250 million from exploiting Ituri's resources.
Other factions also got in on the coltan scramble. The government of Joseph
Kabila has recently rewarded Congolese military leaders like Jean Piere
Bemba, cited by rights groups for egregious atrocities, with posts in the
transitional government; Bemba channeled coltan through criminal networks
linked to the Central Africa Republic.
Several western corporations eye an eventual bonanza in Ituri--and many of
them are conveniently linked to the international arms trade and mercenary
outfits. Barrick Gold is a long-time stakeholder in Ituri's Kilo Moto gold
mines. A Canadian-based multinational, Barrick's principals include former
prime minister Brian Mulroney, former US president George HW Bush, former
Tennessee senator Howard Baker, and Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton's lawyer
and confidant. Barrick has multiple joint ventures with the South African
mining giant Anglo-American. Barrick's founder is Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi
billionaire arms trafficker, famous for his illegal weapons sales to Iran
in the Reagan era.
In 1997 Canadian-based Heritage Oil & Gas began petroleum explorations with
the support of the Museveni government on the Uganda side of the border,
and Belgium's De Standard reports they have now also secured DRC
concessions through Joseph Kabila. Uganda's New Vision newspaper reports
sizeable petroleum and natural gas reserves discovered in the Semiliki
Basin, beneath Lake Albert which straddles the DRC-Uganda border.
Heritage Oil & Gas was founded by Tony Buckingham, an executive linked to a
confusing network of front companies and offshore island holdings. De
Standard reported June 19, 2003, on Heritage Oil's maneuvers in DRC and
Uganda, and its links to companies like Branch Energy and Diamond Works,
both exposed for operations in war-torn Angola and Sierra Leone. Buckingham
is a veteran of the UK's elite SAS military corps, and played a founding
role in the private military companies Executive Outcomes of South Africa
and Sandline International. De Standard suggested that Buckingham seeks the
pacification of Ituri to exploit minerals in the region.
Buckingham's ties to US government officials are detailed in Wayne Madsen's
book Genocide And Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999 (Edwin Mellen
Press, 1999). The mercenary soldier Simon Mann arrested this March with a
posse of followers in Zimbabwe (allegedly en route to institute a coup in
Equatorial Guinea) is a co-founder with Buckingham of Executive Outcomes.
"The situation in Ituri remains unstable," wrote Survivor's Rights
International on June 6, "with recurring acts of genocide and crimes
against humanity being perpetrated by miscellaneous forces on their
opposition ethnic groups, many of which have been armed, supported and
manipulated by the Ugandan People's Defense Forces. The indigenous Mbuti
pygmies continue to suffer the brunt of abuses from all sides."
On July 9, Nairobi's East African Standard reported that hundreds of
refugees fleeing fresh fighting in Ituri had crossed into Uganda.
THE GOAD OF SHABA: DIAMONDS, COBALT, URANIUM
Even where the government has control, things are grim in Congo. Atrocities
by DRC soldiers (FARDC) are widespread throughout the country. The
Congolese Union for Democracy and Social Progress, a civil opposition
group, reported some 100 government Rapid Intervention Police attacking
students protesting at two universities in Kinshasa in April. In both
incidents hundreds of students were reportedly attacked; scores were raped
The IMF and World Bank favored Kabila's transitional government with loans
worth $ 1.2 billion in June 2002, while Sweden, Belgium, France and South
Africa loaned some $522 million. In January, 2004, the Belgian government
authorized the dispatch of 190 military advisers to Congo to train a new
Congolese military brigade in Orientale.
South Africa and DRC recently signed a bilateral agreement on defense and
security. DRC also signed a $ 8.4 million deal with South Africa to
rehabilitate the state mining company GECAMINES.
Chairman of GECAMINES from 1999-2001, Belgium's George Forrest controls the
most diverse private mining portfolio in the DRC. One of his partners in
DRC is the OM Group of Cleveland, Ohio.
Forrest's roots in DRC predate 1945, and his companies outlasted the long
Mobutu dictatorship and subsequent wars. Forrest also owns Belgium's New
LachaussŽe company, a leading manufacturer of cartridge casings, grenades,
light weapons and cannon launchers. His George Forest Group also has
munitions plants in Kenya and Tanzania.
Forrest's mining interests include copper, cobalt and germanium concessions
in Shaba, DRC's southern province, long the site of separatist movements..
Shaba's plight also revolves around factions seeking to maintain or wrest
control of resources. Shaba (formerly known as Katanga) is rich in
diamonds, cobalt, copper, palladium and germanium. Uranium from Shaba was
used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Cobalt is a strategic alloy used in the aerospace and defense industries,
and was stockpiled by the US Defense Logistics Agency during the Cold War.
Maintaining Shaba's "cobalt connection" was paramount to the Mobutu
dictatorship. Keeping the region safe for Mobutu's cobalt empire was long
the purview of Lawrence Devlin, a CIA operative in Shaba later employed by
diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman.
Falling within the Kinshasa government's sphere of control, Shaba has seen
its share of repression and warfare. The Kabila family is from Shaba, and
Kinshasa maintained control the region in the recent years of war with the
aid of troops from the allied Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF). The ZDF has
officially pulled out of DRC, but unconfirmed reports suggest some ZDF
"An elite network of Congolese and Zimbabwean political, military and
commercial interests has maintained a grip on the main mineral resources of
government-controlled areas," concluded the UN Panel of Experts in 2002.
The UN reported this network had transferred ownership of at least $5
billion in assets from the state mining sector to private companies from
1999-2002 with no benefit to the DRC. "The network's representatives in the
Kinshasa Government and the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) have fueled
instability, by supporting armed groups opposing Rwanda and Burundi," the
UN report found.
A few notable businessmen said to be calling the shots in Shaba are
American Maurice Tempelsman, Zimbabwean Billy Rautenbach, South African
Marc Rich, British John Bredenkamp, Swede Adolph Lundin and Jean Raymond
Tenke Mining, owned by Swedish mining magnate Lundin is one of some 15
multinational mining companies partnered with GECAMINES in Shaba. Lundin
is called a longtime associate of George HW Bush; African Confidential
reported in 1997 that the ex-president telephoned Mobutu on Lundin's behalf
after the dictator had threatened to terminate a mining contract.
Pardoned by outgoing President Clinton for tax-evasion charges, Marc Rich
operates the Swiss-based Glencore company.
Rautenbach, a former GECAMINES director, and Bredenkamp teamed up with
Zimbabwe's strongman Robert Mugabe to plunder Shaba behind ZDF troops. The
Bredenkamp family's Brecon Mines Ltd. is partnered with GECAMINES. Africa
Confidential and independent newspapers in Zimbabwe have reported on
Bredenkamp's role in shipping weapons to Zimbabwe for probable use in the
Tempelsman is affiliated with the Oppenheimer/DeBeers diamond conglomerate
of South Africa. The executive privileges he enjoyed during the Clinton
years were reportedly secured through a romantic interlude with Madeleine
Albright. Tempelsman accompanied Clinton on his 1998 Africa tour, sailed
with the Clintons off Martha's Vineyard, and met with Clinton on Air Force
One. He is said to employ CIA veterans who protected the Mobutu
dictatorship as his private staff for his Congo operations. Tempelsman is a
trustee of the Harvard AIDS Institute and Africa-America Institute, and
former chair of the Corporate Council on Africa.
The Corporate Council on Africa represents 85% of all US private-sector
investment in Africa. Members include Asea Brown Baveri (whose former
director is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld), Halliburton (Cheney), the
Washington Post Company, Raytheon, Military Professional Resources Inc.,
and oil majors such as ExxonMobil, Chevron-Texaco, Conoco-Philips, Sunoco
According to Wayne Madsen, the Virginia mercenary firm Military
Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) supported Kagame's US-backed invasions
of Rwanda (from Uganda in 1994), Zaire (1996) and then Congo (1998).
The Africa-America Institute, another industry interest group, recently
presented the AAI African National Achievement Award for 2002-3 to
President Museveni of Uganda for "history-making advances that justify
optimism for the future of the African continent."
AAI trustee Gayle Smith in 1998 was appointed special assistant to
President Clinton and senior director for African Affairs at the National
Security Council, a position where she negotiated a cease-fire between
Uganda and Rwanda, after the ex-allies battled for the spoils in DRC.
U.S. SUPPORTING TERROR
On March 9, 2004, Le Monde published a report by French anti-terrorist
judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who found that Paul Kagame, then commanding the
Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi-led guerilla group operating with
the support of Museveni's Uganda, gave orders for missiles to be fired at
the airplane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, both ethnic
Hutu, on April 6, 1994. The assassinations provoked the Hutu-led genocide
in Rwanda--which left up to 800,000 dead, overwhelmingly Tutsis. In the
wake of the genocide, the RPF took power, and hundreds of thousands of Hutu
fled Rwanda for Congo (then Zaire).
Critics now say Kagame is cynically using the 1994 genocide to deflect
scrutiny of his own war crimes. Human rights organizations have documented
RPF atrocities, with perhaps hundreds of thousands of killings from 1990 to
1996. In 1994, UN Special Rapporteur Robert Gersony documented "an
unmistakable pattern of RPF killings" of Hutu refugees returning to Rwanda:
the report was quickly buried. Amnesty International and other rights
groups documented killings of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees
(mostly Hutu) in DRC by the UPDF/RPF-led insurgency.
Wayne Madsen reports that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root set
up a military base in southwestern Rwanda in 1995 in preparation for the
US-backed invasion of Congo/Zaire to topple the abandoned Mobutu
Amnesty International in 2002 reported US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
and Special Forces' involvement in the 1996 invasion of Congo/Zaire. The
report said that DIA assisted Rwandan and Ugandan forces through a program
code-named "Falcon Gorilla." In 1997, the DIA held a Pentagon symposium on
privatization of African security operations with Executive Outcomes,
Sandline International and mineral interests.
Madsen also maintains that Carla del Ponte, special prosecutor for the
International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) was removed due to her
unwanted scrutiny of RPF atrocities. In 1997 and 1998, when UN
investigators turned their eyes on the RPF, the US, through then-Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, pressured the ICTR to halt the investigation,
Madsen claims. Kagame blasted efforts to investigate RPF atrocities as
"evidence of the politicization of the tribunal's functions."
The Pentagon maintains International Military Education and Training
(IMET), Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET), Africa Crises Response
Initiative (ACRI), and African Contingency Operations Training Assistance
(ACOTA) programs with both Rwanda and Uganda. The Washington Post's Lynne
Duke's reported August 16, 1997, that the RPF benefited from
counterinsurgency and combat training from US Special Forces. The Falcon
Gorilla operation in support of the Rwanda-Uganda intervention in DRC
reportedly came under the purview of JCET.
Gen. Charles Wald, head of US operations in Africa (under the Pentagon's
European Command), has substantiated direct US support for the Museveni
government's fight against the Sudan-backed Uganda rebel group Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA), defined as a terrorist organization by the US. The
LRA are a brutal and fanatical group, but critics in the Ugandan opposition
charge Museveni exploits their terror for propaganda purposes--and that
some atrocities attributed to the LRA were carried out by UPDF troops.
US Ambassador to Uganda Jimmy Kolker told Voice of America April 2 that US
aid has consisted mainly of trucks and radios, along with training. He said
its total value was some two million dollars. He dismissed reports of
greater US military assistance as "grotesquely exaggerated."
But it is clear that the US has tilted to Uganda and Rwanda in Africa's
ongoing First World War. Rwanda's Paul Kagame spoke at least twice at the
Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University, and has met with George
HW Bush at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston, and at
the Council on Foreign Relations. Kagame was a guest, with Joseph Kabila,
at a Washington prayer breakfast soon after George W Bush assumed office.
Ugandan's Museveni was a guest speaker at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC on June 11, 2004.
Rwanda and Uganda continue to be rewarded with World Bank and IMF loans,
despite accusations that funds are diverted to purchase military equipment
and prosecute war in their own and neighboring countries. One recent Rwanda
grant was a $20 million aid package of June 15, 2004. According to
Congolese journalist Lokongo, the UK government has given up to 60 million
pounds a year in "development aid" to Rwanda and Uganda.
And US military involvement in the region is about to deepen. Preceding his
trip to Africa in July 2003, President Bush announced a $100 million aid
package for east African countries to fight terrorism, pointing to greater
US strategic interest in the region. "We will work with Kenya and Ethiopia
and Djibouti and Uganda and Tanzania to improve capabilities... We will
give them the tools and the resources to win the War on Terror."
NEXT MONTH: THE FRENCH CONNECTION
PHOTOGRAPHS:Images from Central Africa
1. Supporters of Robert Mugabe gather at a pro-government rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, in June 2000.
c. keith harmon snow 2000
2. Directors of Royal/Dutch Shell Hans an Luijk (3rd left) and Bernard Legrand (5th left)-- Shell General Manager for Africa -- with Paul Kagame.
3. Paul Kagame with several officers at a rally in Kigali.
Top Shona commanders of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces at a pro-Mugabe rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, at the height of Zimbawe's involvemen in the DRC, June 2000.
6. Family struggles to cross a bridge in Ituri in 1991, where planks had been mostly stolen as infrastructure in Zaire (now DRC) totally deteriorated under Mobutu Sese Seko's dictatorship.
7. Wreckage from the plane carrying the two presidents of Rwanda and Burundi that was shot down on approach to Kigali airport on April 6, 1994, that sparked the ongoing conflagration in the great lakes region.
8. UPDF soldiers ride aboard a troop carrier in Uganda after a UPDF celebration of their warfighting capabilities.
9. Tony Buckingham (far right), chairman of Heritage Oil and Gas exploration program in the Semiliki basin, and delegation meeting with Ugandan President Yoweiri Museveni (shaking hands) in a Kampala, July 1998, as the second war for DRC was getting underway.
10.UPDF soldiers ride on a troop carrier in Uganda after a celebration of their warfighting capabilities.
11.Congolese refugees in Zambia forced to flee Shaba during the wars for DRC work under brutal conditions (with malaria and scorching temperatures) all day long, scavenging and hauling scrap metal -- weighing hundreds of pounds -- to bring them less than $5 daily.
12. The open pit mines (background) are an environmental nightmare.
Photo credits: New Vision Newspaper, Kampala, Uganda, except for #'s 1, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12 , keith harmon snow
Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, July 18, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution