Saturday, 1 September 2012

Rwanda Special Forces Withdraw From DRC On Saturday

2 Rwanda Special Forces withdraw from DRC on Saturday
RDF Commandos on training at Nasho, eastern Rwanda
The two battalions of elite Special Forces of the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) could be headed for a total withdrawal from Rutchuru in eastern DR Congo, a day after the Defense Minister, Gen James Kabarebe confirmed their existence.
On Friday evening, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) media department sent out a message to media houses asking them to prepare for coverage of the withdrawal. “You are invited to cover withdrawal of our Special Forces from Rutchuru tomorrow (Saturday) at Kabuhanga, Rubavu…” read the message in part. No more details were provided.
There had been for some time rumours of Rwandan Special Forces in eastern DRC, but that was not officially confirmed. However, in a surprise wide ranging interview with a Belgian newspaper Le Soir on ThursdayDefense Minister Gen Kabarebe hit the bombshell.
“It is two companies of Special Forces, along with two companies of Congolese Special Forces. For two years they are there and they are still there…,” said Gen Kabarebe. “Yes, they were destined to fight the FDLR.”
Untitled5 Rwanda Special Forces withdraw from DRC on Saturday
Congolese residents in Goma watch as Rwandan troops march
Gen Kabarebe’s statement did not give any indication the soldiers would leave anytime soon, instead, it sounded like they would stay for as long as the Rwandan militias are still there. The Special Forces have been there with agreement from DRC, as part of joint efforts to battle the FDLR militia, whose combatants are wanted in Rwanda for executing the slaughter of Tutsis – and fleeing across.
As revealed by the Defense Minister, in many of the meetings they have had with DRC officials since April, Kinshasa has asked Rwanda to help quell the M23 rebellion probably with the use of these Special Forces or send a new force from Rwanda. But Gen Kabarebe said Rwanda refused.
“We asked them to stop fighting so we can see what to do, how to help…our Congolese interlocutors explicitly asked us to move our forces into the Congo to help solve the problem. We refused to move our forces…” said Kabarebe in the interview.
Following a deal with Kinshasa, Rwandan troops were sent for joint operations against the FDLR with the Congolese army FARDC back in early 2009. They withdraw later after what was said at the time a successful operation. 


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