Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, has again while delivering his New Year’s message, accused two countries neighbouring Rwanda of supporting armed insurgents whose intention is to destabilize his country.
He said that the two neighbors have tried to revive the danger posed by FDLR, RNC, and other negative forces.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is an armed rebel group active in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo while Rwanda National Congress (RNC) is a Rwandan opposition group in exile which was founded Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Gerald Gahima, and Patrick Karegeya.
President Kagame said that in the year 2018, Africa became more united and that Rwanda contributed to that process. He also noted the achievements registered in growing Rwanda’s economy which he said reinforced the unity and solidarity of Rwandans.
Kagame said in his message that 2018 saw Rwanda’s relationship with “our African brothers” grow stronger but was quick to add that challenges remain in the East African Community (EAC) regional block.
“Our relationship with our African brothers is stronger today. But there are still challenges in our region. Some neighbours have tried to revive the danger posed by FDLR, RNC, and other negative forces,” he said.
This, he said, jeopardises the otherwise good progress in East African integration, as well as regional security.
“For one neighbour, we expect it. However, we are surprised by another neighbour, where the evidence we have, and which they must also have, shows clear complicity, despite public denials,” Kagame said, hesitant to disclose which neighbours he was making reference to.
He said that the matter is being handled, and that “we continue talking with our neighbours in the spirit of African solidarity”.
This was the second time in one month, Kagame was accusing neighboring countries of backing elements considered as hostile by Rwanda.
In December 2018, two people were killed after unknown raiders struck a district in Rwanda’s southern province bordering Burundi.
Rwanda’s military issued a statement saying the attackers in Cyitabi Sector of Nyamagabe District also set on fire three passenger buses and injured eight other people.
While addressing a news conference in December, President Kagame said that some neighbors and beyond were working with FDLR and RNC and that they posed a security threat.
“There are those in the region and across the world who have been linked with our history, much as perpetrators were Rwandans. We have had invasions from neighbouring countries. Those challenges have been changing forms but they remained in substance as security threat,” he said.
“FDLR is working with RNC and some of our neighbours. There are many other groups with different names. We will take care of that,” he added.
Like the attack in December, Rwanda’s biggest security threat has previously been from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where armed groups that Kigali accuses of having been involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, are based.
The year 2018 saw sour relations between Rwanda and Uganda. The relations had been strained by counter accusations between Kigali and Kampala administrations, and culminated into countless publications by the two countries’ media carrying stinging accusations.
Kigali in a protest note to Kampala in December 2017, had accused Uganda of facilitating rebel elements tied to the diaspora based opposition group, RNC and arresting Rwanda nationals. This was preceded by Uganda’s arrest and deportation of Rwandan nationals following a number of murders in Uganda.
Uganda explained that the arrested and deported Rwandans were involved in espionage and crime perpetrated with the aid of some elements in Uganda Police Force who have since been charged by the General Court Martial. Kampala also accused Rwanda of committing kidnappings and illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees living in Uganda.
When Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Kagame met in Entebbe in March last year, they blamed the friction in bilateral relations to unverified intelligence by security agencies in both countries.
Museveni said they had discussed the need for close cooperation within security intelligences so they can get enough facts, a point that was emphasized by Kagame.
In his New Year’s address, President Kagame asked the people of Rwanda to remain vigilant, while not allowing themselves to be distracted.