Rwanda govt to Samantha Power: Don’t ignore origin of DR Congo conflict

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The spokesperson for the government, Yolande Makolo, has criticized Samantha Power, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for failing to address the real causes of insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Makolo made these remarks in response to a statement tweeted by Power on Saturday, May 27, expressing her shock at the escalating reports of sexual violence against women and children in the North Kivu province in eastern Congo.

The Government Spokesperson highlighted the ongoing conflict between the DR Congo’s military and the M23 rebels, which Power claimed is backed by Rwanda, as a key issue that has led to the displacement of over one million people since March 2022. Many of these individuals are now residing in unsafe and overcrowded camps, lacking access to sufficient food, clean water, and medical assistance.

“It is essential that the Government of Rwanda discontinues its support for the M23 and withdraws its troops from the DRC,” Power said in one of her tweets.

In response, Makolo noted that Power’s statement diverts attention from the real causes of insecurity and its severe consequences, such as sexual violence and exploitation.

“Power chooses to shift the blame elsewhere. What about the brutal violence perpetrated by the genocidal FDLR militia, which operates alongside and receives support from the FARDC?” Makolo asked.

Rwanda has consistently urged for an end to the blame game regarding the challenges faced by the DR Congo, emphasizing the need to address the underlying causes.

For instance, in September 2022, President Paul Kagame stated during the United Nations General Assembly that mere rhetoric will not resolve the longstanding security crisis in DR Congo.

“In eastern DR Congo, recent setbacks have highlighted that the security situation remains fundamentally unchanged from 20 years ago, when the largest and most costly United Nations peacekeeping mission was first deployed,” Kagame stated.

“This has exposed neighboring states, particularly Rwanda, to preventable cross-border attacks,” he added.

On a separate occasion, in the same year, Kagame pointed out that Congolese authorities have long sought to blame a group of their own citizens, falsely accusing them of being Rwandans, while simultaneously protecting members of the genocidal FDLR militia, who are Rwandan nationals.

The FDLR is a terrorist group formed nearly three decades ago by remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

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