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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/21/12

Did Media Collude With Rwanda to Set Up Congo General Laurent Nkunda?

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Laurent Nkunda explaining CNDP military code of conduct: Death by firing squad for rape

The Kiwanja incident is one of several in which hindsight proves that there is no absolute truth in warfare. A cable tells a different story from the one carried by all international media outlets in 2008.

The CNDP accused FARDC, in collaboration with FDLR and PARECO Mai Mai, of targeted killings of civilians in Kiwanja on November 5 in retaliation for cooperation with CNDP during the latter's occupation of the town on November 2. The CNDP denounced what it labels a "defamation" campaign carried out against it by the Governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku.

The Hutu leaders of Kiwanja backed Nkunda's story.

"All 69 civilian killings belong to all ethnicities, contrary to declarations of deputies/representatives who abusively attribute them to their ethnic group. We are not able to attribute the responsibility for these events to the CNDP. "

It is the wild discrepancies in the Nkunda narrative that are troubling.

In fact, no media outlet, no State Department spokesperson, no humanitarian organization has spoken out about Nkunda's denials as well as the denials of the Hutu leadership of Kiwanja.

Why would the United States act in virtual collusion with the storyline put forth by the Congolese government? Why has the United States continued to prop up the regime of Rwanda's Paul Kagame as it continues to trample on the free speech of anyone offering opposition to his rule? Look no further than the new state of the art embassy in Kigali -- a sop to silence -- the three-headed dog of Rwanda, the U.S. and Congo guarding the gate to strategic interests.

Payoff in US dollars at border for war criminal Ntaganda Source: Public UN Document

The factionalized CNDP was "integrated" under the command of Ntaganda with the regular Congolese army (FARDC), was promised influencial cabinet posts, and has gained control of lucrative mining interests near Walikale. The United Nations reports that smuggling by Rwanda has increased, and attacks against civilians continue, but deep in the forests and away from the cameras. Today, it is innocent villagers who are paying the price as they pay bribes for protection that brings no relief from atrocity.

Rwanda has never made good on its pledge to route the FDLR genocidaires from eastern Congo.

Today, Congolese tell me that they wonder now whether they were better off with Nkunda. In the same breath they say that they will be killed if identified.

Are the Congolese better off without Nkunda? Apparently not.

The United Nations High Command on Refugees issued a press release today saying in part that renewed violence variously involving "government troops, FDLR forces, and local defence groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile eastern region has forced over 100,000 civilians out of their homes since late November." In South Kivu alone,  attacks in Shabunda have displaced some 70,000 people since November.

Nkunda can't be blamed for the last three years of mayhem.

N ote: Additional information included from UNHCR press release. Original article at Huffington Post, expanded article at LAProgressive.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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