Quoting Friends of the Congo executive director, Maurice Carney, the radio noted that the Rwandan government was training, arming and offering logistical support to rebel groups that had destabilised the Congo, where 200 000 people had been displaced.
According to Carney, in the radio report, “This is consistent with a pattern over the past 15 years where Rwanda has invaded the Congo and the United States covering for Rwanda whenever it has gotten involved in the Congo.
Carney said: “Nations function on interests. Some people say, well, the U.S. is guilty because it did not do enough during the genocide in 1994. But the U.S. has strategic and economic interests in central African region of Africa, and Rwanda, among a number of other nations in that part of the world, protect and carry out U.S. interests in the region. So whenever Rwanda is called to account by the international community, the United States usually runs interference so that there are no sanctions brought against the Rwandan government.”
The effects were devastating, noted Carney.
“Really, since Rwanda invaded Congo in 1996, millions of Congolese have perished, hundreds of thousands of women have been systematically raped, Congo’s wealth has been looted. So the impact of Rwanda’s role in the Congo in destabilizing the Congo has been tragic for the people of the region and especially the Congolese people.
“And this is really the sad part about the whole situation, because it’s within the means of the United States to hold its ally accountable, but it has not done so to date. We’ve had countries like Sweden and Netherlands who have withheld aid from Rwanda because of Rwanda’s activities inside Congo. But the United States has yet to hold to account Rwanda.”
According to Carney, Rwanda’s interests are severalfold.
“In their destabilizing the Congo, Rwanda is able to continue to benefit from Congo’s riches. Both Dow Jones and Bloomberg news have reported Rwanda has gained hundreds of millions of dollars in trading of Congo’s minerals, its coltan and its tin in particular. Bloomberg news said that Rwanda was one of two top traders of Congo’s conflict minerals-you know, tin, tungsten, and tantalum.”
Rebel groups controlled mines.
“They have access to the mines.” said Carney. “And they, you know, gather-the resources that are mined are then shipped across the Rwandan border without Congo taxing it, or it’s actually smuggled into Rwanda, and then Rwanda sells it to the global market.”
He said as long as the Congolese state did not have full control of over the east of the country and the borders were porous, then it was like “an open-air supermarket where Rwanda and Uganda can come in and basically take at will Congo’s gold, its tin, its coltan, its wolframite, and trade it in their own countries as if it was produced by Rwanda itself or produced by Uganda. So that’s been the pattern since 1996 when both Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo”.
He also said the role of the international mining companies were severalfold.
“One, they purchase the elicit minerals from Rwanda and from Uganda. Two, because you have a weakened Congolese state, they’re also able to enter into contracts with that Congo state and benefit tremendously from the natural resources of the Congo. So there are many beneficiaries. You have the Rwandan government, military officials in Rwanda, multinational corporations, elites in the Congo itself, and they all benefit at the expense of the Congolese people, who are suffering tremendously from the instability that’s been fostered and supported by the Rwandan regime.”
President Barack Obama had failed to act on the bill that was passed into law in 2006.
Carney said there was a particular section of the law that called on the secretary of state to hold Congo’s neighbors accountable, provided that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Congo’s neighbors were involved in destabilizing the country.
“And there’s an abundance of evidence. There’s more than enough evidence,” said Carney.
He said the U.S. response had been shocking.
“We have rebel groups inside the Congo that’s being led by one Bosco Ntaganda, who’s wanted by the International Criminal Court. So rebel groups were committing crimes, and these rebel groups are been supported by Rwanda,” he said.
“And then we have the United States that’s covering for Rwanda. So for all intents and purposes, the United States is supporting rebel groups inside of Congo that’s wanted by the International Criminal Court, because they have blocked and delayed reports coming out and covered for Rwanda. Even when the U.S. issued a statement-the U.S. ambassador in Congo issued a statement about the rebel groups, and they didn’t even mention Rwanda by name. They said those outside forces that are supporting rebel groups should be held to account.
“Today even the Rwandan foreign minister was at the United Nations, and the arrogance with which he spoke, as if Rwanda is not involved at all-it’s just incredible that the United States is putting its neck out as it is, to be embarrassed in the global community for supporting rebel groups inside the Congo through [its support of] Rwanda.”