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DRC Pastors Tie Rwanda to Mai Mai, Say FDLR No Menace, Cite Hege Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 5 -- When three Congolese pastors took the podium at the UN on Wednesday afternoon, their topic was Rwanda. They said, including in a petition, that "Rwanda has created from scratch the M23 movement." Inner City Press asked if that is true. Video here, from Minute 27:42.

  Didn't the Kinshasa government of Joseph Kabila agree in March 2009 to integrate into the FARDC army fighters of the former CNDP?

  Dieudonne Mbaya Tshiakany acknowledged that happened, but argued that the integrated soldiers refusal in 2012 to be deployed elsewhere in the Congo, away from the Kivus, proved their point.

   The mutineers reportedly complain of the killing of 50 of their colleagues in Dungu, with the perpetrator still in the FARDC.

  Mbaya's answer included a reference to "new Tutsis" in North Kivu.

  The Congo has been a ground zero of suffering for too long, with the UN despite spending having done too little. But to some, it seemed these pastors blamed all of the DRC's problems on Rwanda.

   Inner City Press asked about the mass rapes in Wakikale, and about the Mai Mai. Video here, from Minute 23:04.

  Mbaya's response was that the Group of Experts report, a/k/a the Hege report, ties Rwanda to all of the armed groups. He said, "according to the report... Rwanda is not only behind the M23 movement but behind all these different rebel or militia groups in the DRC."

  He said that they repatriate the FDLR, but Rwanda "recycles" them as militia into the DRC.

  Mbaya estimated the FDLR at 1400 fighters, and said as Hege has written that they are not a danger -- or menace -- to Rwanda.

  Inner City Press also asked if the pastors believe that Bosco Ntaganda should be taken to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Video here, from Minute 35:45.

  Mbaya replied first that it is up to him, then that if he is arrested in Rwanda he will go straight to the ICC, while if arrested in the DRC "authorities will decide."

  Tellingly, they said that the order to arrest Bosco came after the mutiny began, while others reverse the order.

  Afterward an attendee -- not this one -- asked who had paid these pastors' traveling expenses. "It is a delegation of 32 people," Mbaya said.

  One of their party, the leader of mosques in the DRC, has traveled to Turkey. Another, the Catholic bishop, is down in Washington "talking with the American administration." Pierre Marini Bodho said the next stop is Canada. Watch this site.

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