On November 30, 2021 Uganda Defense Forces (UDF) launched attacks in Beni, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and carried out airstrikes against Allied Defence Forces (ADF) positions, in a joint operation with the DRC armed forces (FARDC). UDF then deployed its troops in various areas in Eastern DRC. The deployment of Ugandan forces followed terrorist attacks on Tuesday, 16th November 2021, in Kampala, Uganda. Meanwhile, according to AfroAmerica Network sources close to both UDF and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF), the joint operations are facing an unexpected serious hurdle: RDF has started to stealthily deploy troops into Eastern DRC, secretly sending small platoons of special forces into North-Kivu territories and towns. According to the sources, there is a risk of seeing a repeat of the Kisangani bloody incidents of 1999-2000 bbetween UDF and RDF, in which tens of thousands of innocent civilians were massacred.
In 1999 and 2000, Ugandan and Rwandan defence forces invaded the DRC, each supporting a different faction of the Congolese rebels of the RCD, seeking to overthrow Laurent Kabila, the president at the time. Then, in the Congolese city of Kisangani, Rwandan RDF troops fought against and almost decimated UDF troops, by May 2000. Tens of thousands of innocent Congolese civilians and Rwandan refugees were massacred. Both the UDF and RDF were accused of plundering the DR Congo's vast natural resources, including minerals, coffee, timber and livestock and of widespread human rights abuses and war crimes.
On Tuesday, 16th November 2021, in Kampala, Uganda, three suicide bombers attacked the parliament and military bases, killed three people and injured 33 people, mostly civilians. Ugandan government accused the "Allied Democratic Front" (ADF), an Islamist opposition group, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that has been fighting, among many, against the government of the Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, of being behind the attacks. The actions by ADF have been qualified as terrorism, and ADF group has been labelled a terrorist group by international organizations and some countries.
Meanwhile, within the UPDF structure and in other sources, there were serious troubling allegations regarding the links between the current Rwandan Defense Forces and ADF (see here: World-Africa: Africa At Center Stage, First US Black Woman President, US Sanctions Terminated for Burundi, Civil War in Ethiopia, Terrorism in Uganda and Rwanda, and Kleptocrats in DRC). Hence, when the allegations became public, Rwandan government started to plan for an immediate action to make sure they are not singled out and are not targeted, after operations against ADF.
After the terrorists attacks in Uganda, leaders of Uganda Defense Forces (UDF) and Congolese Government forces (FARDC) and defense ministers of the two countries met in Bunia in Ituri province to align on how to better work in "harmonizing military operations in the framework of pooling forces." United Nations Peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), that has been operating in DRC for more than 20 years, was left out.
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It is not the first time that Rwandan government presents a hurdle in military operations planned in DRC against militias and rebel groups. In 2019, military operations were planned in Eastern DRC against militias and foreign rebels troops. After a meetings was held in Goma on September 13 and 14, 2019 the military leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi agreed to conduct military operations in Eastern DRC over the months of November - December 2019 (see AfroAmerica Network: Military Operations Planned in Eastern DRC: RUD-Urunana and RPR 2008 Kisangani Roadmap Foils the Agreement). The meeting planned in Goma on October 24 and 25, 2019 was to finalize the operations plan. The meeting was going as planned, until two documents were distributed to the meeting participants.
The documents, known as the Kisangani Roadmap ( as shown here, Conclusions des Travaux de la Commission Technique de la Conference de Kisangani and here Kisangani Process: Feuille de Route Sur Le Desarmement RUD et RPR), were the result of intense negotiations held in Rome between the DRC Government and the Rwandan political organization group, National Democratic Congress, which includes the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana) and Rally of the Rwandan People (RPR - Inkeragutabara).
This time appears different. According to AfroAmerica Network sources close to the RDF, the Rwandan Government, better prepared, plans to use more elaborate schemes. First, in media outlets close to the Rwandan government and military intelligence, it was reported that Rwandan rebels based in the DRC are planning to launch attacks into Rwanda, allegedly based on recent meetings of commanders of these rebels, especially the FDLR-FOCA, that Rwandan military intelligence informants attended.
Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) Slowly deploying special forces platoons into Eastern DRC territories and towns.
According to sources close to UDF and UPDF, small squads of Rwandan special forces have started to enter the Eastern DRC. Initially, they will conduct raids across the Rwandan border from RDC. The attacks will be blamed on FDLR-FOCA and RUD-Urunana and RPR-Inkeragutabara. Then, a large number of forces will cross the border from Rwanda, claiming to retaliate and pursue the attackers based on DRC. The initial focus will be in the Rutshuru territory, especially in Rumangabo, Masisi, Bunagana, and Nyamilima. The next phase is to go further north into Lubero territory, especially Kanyabayonga, Lubero and Butembo and then cross into Beni territory.
The sources added that, once the deployed platoons reach Lubero and Beni territories, the Rwandan Defense Forces plan to attack the Ugandan Defense Forces and blame the ADF for the attacks.
AfroAmerica Network will continue to follow and update as the details come.
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