Rwanda pulling peacekeepers from Darfur over UN report

Category: International
Published on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 07:18
Written by The New Sudan Vision (NSV), www.newsudanvision.com
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(DARFUR, NSV)-- Officials in Rwanda  are saying orders have already been communicated to the troops to be on standby as the country continues to intensify  threats of withdrawing from all peacekeeping missions, starting with Sudan's western region of Darfur.

Rwanda is citing , as reason for the pull out, a leaked report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in which over 600 crimes are said to have been committed by soldiers who were part of the peacekeeping force in Congo. In the report Rwandan soldiers have been accused of mass killing.rwanda_troops

"We are waiting to see what the United Nations does with this report, but we are very seriously considering pulling out our troops," said Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister and Spokesman for the goverment, Louise Mushikiwabo.

"How could the UN accuse Rwanda's army of raping and killing, and at the same time, want them to be the dedicated army that can protect people around the world," she said. "If they (UN) label us as a Genocidal army, then they should be able to find another army to do it."

To its credit  Rwanda has been known for its large contribution of troops, 3485 soldiers, now serving in the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) ---the overall UN Peackeeping Mission that is tasked with providing security and assistance to the people in Darfur.

A Rwandan general is in fact the one leading operations for the United Nations- African Union Mission in Darfur(UNAMID).

But Rwanda is saying flow of that goodwill is about to be cut short  if  the UN publishes a report alleging its contribution to atrocities in Congo between 1994 and 3003.

Reporting by Reuters said: "U.N. peacekeepers were widely criticized for failing to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda that ended only after Tutsi-led fighters under current President Paul Kagame retook control of the country. Rwanda's army then invaded Congo, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters who had taken part in the killings and fled into eastern Congo, then known as Zaire. In the process, Rwandan forces helped sweep the Congolese AFDL rebels of Laurent Kabila to power in Congo. Both forces have been accused of a string of rights abuses against Hutu fighters and civilians across the country U.N. peacekeepers were widely criticized for failing to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda that ended only after Tutsi-led fighters under current President Paul Kagame retook control of the country.Rwanda's army then invaded Congo, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters who had taken part in the killings and fled into eastern Congo, then known as Zaire. In the process, Rwandan forces helped sweep the Congolese AFDL rebels of Laurent Kabila to power in Congo. Both forces have been accused of a string of rights abuses against Hutu fighters and civilians across the country."

A news article in The New York Times about the same UN report described: "The report presents repeated examples in which squads of Rwandan soldiers, led by Tutsi commanders, and their Congolese rebel allies lured Hutu refugees with promises they would be repatriated to Rwanda, only to massacre them."

But the allegations are being termed "malicious" by senior officials in Rwanda.

The New York Times reported that "Until recently, Rwanda had been celebrated as one of the most promising success stories in Africa, a nation that had rebuilt itself after genocide in 1994, boasting impressive economic growth rates, low crime and innovative ways of fighting poverty."