Subject: NEWS ON CONGO 056: Solidaire on the situation & EU troops
From: (Rolf Martens)
Message-ID: <wlULa.994$>
Organization: A Customer of Tele2
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 10:33:00 GMT

European intervention in Bunia

By Tony Busselen, Solidaire, 11 June 2003


Intro Note by Richard Moore

Since August 1998, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is being subjected to a large-scale aggression, instigated by the US imperialists above all, with the rulers of Rwanda and Uganda acting as their proxies. After the Congolese rebellion against the dictator and imperialist lackey Mobutu, which won final victory on 17 May 1997, the new leadership under L-D Kabila set itself the goal of freeing the country from foreign exploitation and building up a truly democratic state based on that modern form of government, committees of the people's power everywhere.

This was intolerable to the imperialists and caused them to instigate that aggression, which has already cost millions of lives and caused enormous devastation in the country. Several so-called peace treaties and agreements on joint governing between the lawful government in Kinshasa and various “rebel”, aggressor puppet, groups, the latest signed yesterday 29.06. 2003, have so far not caused that war to end. And the United Nations during many years have *condoned* that aggression, in flagrant contravention of the UN Charter.

Very much does the Congolese people need the support of the people in all other countries.

Below is reproduced, in my translation from the French, an article on the present situation and on recent developments by Tony Busselen, published in issue No. 24/2003 of the weekly Solidaire, organ of the PTB (Parti du Travaille de Belgique) in Belgium, on 11 June 2003.

The European Union this week [the second week of June 2003, and later, Sweden, from where I’m writing, has decided to participate with a small contingent too]—RM] is sending an intervention force to Bunia. 1,500 soldiers will safeguard the airfield and protect the population in the city and in the refugee camps against the terror of the militias. How should this be assessed?

“What about the killings outside the city of Bunia (where the intervention force has no mandate—ndlr) and what will happen after 1 September, when the intervention force will depart?” (Note 1: Le Phare—Congolese newspaper—5 June) This the president of the DR Congo, Joseph Kabila, has asked.

The European Union continues to think [”to pretend”, it would be justified to say—RM] that the conflicts in the Ituri region are essentially conflicts among Congolese and that the situation has deteriorated because of the presence of ethnic militias. A quick and energetic intervention, thus, might solve the problem.

But the basic underlying cause is not mentioned: It was the United States that started the war [in August 1998—RM] against the nationalist regime of Mzee Kabila [Laurent-Désiré Kabila, later assassinated on 16.01.2001; the Congolese title of honour “Mzee” means “sage”—RM]. This war already has killed 4 million people. Today the war continues, by means of the Rwandan and Ugandan US lackeys.

The closest American ally in the region, the Rwandan president Kagame, has “retaken” the UPC, the “rebel” movement of Thomas Lubanga. He has armed this militia heavily, and has provided it with well-trained Rwandan officers. Kagame since six months back is using Lubanga as a trump card for sabotaging the peace process in the Congo, for preparing for the secession of the rich Kivu province and for threatening his personal rival, the Ugandan president Museveni.

Thomas Lubanga is a warlord who in April 2002 broke with the “rebel” commander Mbusa Nyamwisi, whose “defence minister” he was. Nyamwisi on his part broke with Wamba dia Wamba, who had broken with the “rebel” movement RCD-Goma, whose president he was originally… All of those “rebel commanders” above all are henchmen of the Rwandan and Ugandan armies.

When, in November 2002, Museveni (under strong pressure from Kinshasa and from the international community) signalled to his Congolese puppets Nyamwisi and Lubanga that the time had come for peace (Note 2: The New Vision—Ugandan newspaper - 18 November 2002), Lubanga opted for an alliance with Museveni's rival, Kagame. On 6 January, Lubanga made an “agreement on military, economic and political cooperation” with the pro-Rwandan “rebels” of the RCD-Goma. (Note 3: Irin, 13 January 2003)

A report on the situation in the Ituri region, originating from the coordination of the European NGOs on the Congo, points out in more detail:

“The Rwandan forces, which had been absent from the Ituri region since 1998, are openly supporting the UPC. During February 2003, they reportedly transported some 50 men each day to Mongbwalu with trucks from Goma. On 9 March 2003, some 10,000 troops of the RCD and the APR [Rwandan army—RM] started to attack the Beni and Lubero areas in order to link up with the UPC in Ituri. This attack had been prepared in Vitshumbi and in Bwito by the men of Kigali, notably by general Alexis Kagame of the Rwandan army.” (Note 4: Réseaueuropéen Congo [REC], 24 April 2003)

This new alliance constituted a direct threat against Uganda. In fact the Rwandan and Ugandan armies had waged three wars against each other on Congolese soil since 1999, in order to get control of the diamond-rich city of Kisangani. The attempt by Kagame to control the entire border region between Uganda and the Congo since that time has amounted to a declaration of war for Museveni. During February and April, a war between Uganda and Rwanda in the Ituri region was expected.

On 6 March, the Ugandan troops chased Lubanga out of the city of Bunia. Today, three months later, the Ugandan army, under strong international pressure, finally has withdrawn from the Congo. The pro-Rwandan militias of Lubanga are stronger than ever. Despite all peace agreements, they have been able to occupy Bunia and install a regime of terror there. The only explanation for this is that Lubanga has continued to get enormous quantities of arms and support from Rwanda.

Does Europe really want to put an end to the genocide in the Congo?

The doubts of the Congolese president Kabila concerning the European intervention in Bunia are well-founded. In return for his green light for the European intervention, Kagame, supported by the United States, has obtained that condition that the UPC militia is not to be disarmed. The UPC will simply retreat during three months, to the camps and bases outside the city of Bunia. Bit it continues to claim the right to administrate the city and the region. It continues to threaten the population in radio transmissions and retains control of economically important resources, including the gold mines of Mongbwalu.

The risk thus is great that after 1 September, the pro-Rwandan militias return to Bunia and resume control of it. This would be unacceptable to Uganda and would provoke a new chaos.

One in fact has to ask whether the European Union really wants peace and stability in the Congo. It rather looks as if Bunia is considered by the European powers to be an occasion and an exercise for their developing, in the shadow of the United States, an imperialist military policy of their own.

A British government official has stated, as justification for sending an European intervention force, the following: “The Europeans have had an obvious wish to show that we can, after Iraq, work together on defence problems and not only on economy problems.” (Note 5: The Daily Telegraph, 29 May)

Solana, the European Union's spokesman on foreign affairs, has said straightforwardly that the military intervention in Bunia is a starting point for a European defence policy. (Note 6: Le Soir—Belgian newspaper—20 May) The French defence minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, has let there be no doubt about it: “Defence Europe, that's a means to confirm the continent as a power.” (Note 7: Le Soir, 20 May)

Verhofstadt [Belgian prime minister—RM] has utilized the situation in Bunia for reopening the debate on a Belgian military presence in central Africa.

Le Soir wrote: “The perspective of a multinational force in Ituri, led by the French and with the support of British troops, while Belgium would have to limit itself to ‘peripheral’ operations, has shaken the last obstacle.” (Note 8: Le Soir, 8 June)

Europe is utilizing the 4 million Congolese deaths in order to further its own plans for interventions of aggression.

Belgian and European progressive people must denounce the American imperialism as the main culprit responsible for the four millions of victims of the war in the Congo. They must support the policy of independence and of autonomous development of the Congo, while combating all forces of neo-colonialist European interference in the economic and military areas. It is up to the Congolese government to decide how to exploit the contradictions between American hegemonism and European imperialism while, all the time, safeguarding its independence.