Congolese Populist Movement Requests Urgent Meeting With S.O.S. Clinton and U.N. Secretary Rice

Dear Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice,

The humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is disintegrating and it is time for the United States to intervene publicly and forcefully. According to report after report from human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), the violence is escalating, and the United Nations does not have enough peacekeeping troops to contain the violence. Already more innocents have died than in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The world cannot say again that it had no idea of the scope of this disaster. Rwanda can no longer be given a free pass because of its suffering during the genocide, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame must be held accountable for the alliance he has formed with Congolese President Joseph Kabila who is turning a blind eye to the crimes committed against innocent Hutu civilians in eastern Congo.

In an urgent communiqué to independent media, the Congolese National Congress for the Defense of the People (French acronym, CNDP), is asking to meet with you precipitously regarding the Rwandan government’s unwarranted detention of CNDP leader, General Laurent Nkunda, and the corresponding increase in massacres of Congolese civilians since his January 22nd arrest. As documented by Human Rights Watch on February 13, 2009:

“The rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes elements of the Interahamwe responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide) brutally slaughtered at least 100 Congolese civilians in the Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between January 20 and February 8, 2009.”

“The FDLR have a very ugly past, but we haven’t seen this level of violence in years,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher in the Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “We’ve documented many abuses by FDLR forces, but these are killings of ghastly proportions.”

In addition, Human Rights Watch has accused Rwandan Tutsi elements of the joint “peacekeeping” forces of “having raped several women since the start of operations against the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda).” HRW also said the joint force’s “information-sharing has been scant and too late to permit the UN forces to be able to plan for providing the needed protection” of civilians.

“The Congolese government nominally leads the joint operations against the FDLR, but the coalition troops that attacked the FDLR in Ufamandu were largely soldiers from the Rwandan Defense Forces. These Rwandan soldiers were allegedly responsible for having raped several women since the start of operations against the FDLR,” HRW said.

Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice, in order to facilitate this urgent meeting on behalf of General Nkunda and the people of Eastern Congo, the CNDP will offer a delegation to meet in Washington with State Department officials and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. It is imperative that you understand that with every passing day since the General’s detention, Rwandan Tutsi troops have slaughtered more and more Hutu civilians. Unless immediate assistance is provided and high level dialogue is initiated with the United States, the General will remain in grave danger (including the possibility of assassination), and civilian massacres will continue to rise.

You should be further aware that reports issued by corporate media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC and Voice of America regarding the General’s unprecedented detention have neglected to include interviews with the General himself or testimonies by Hutu government officials. As a result of these omissions, the U.S. State Department and the people of the United States have not received the full story of the tragedy of Eastern Congo – including the deaths of 45,000 innocent people who are tragically and unnecessarily killed each month. These cataclysmic numbers should be sufficiently alarming to warrant America’s immediate intervention.

The CNDP identifies itself as a populist young political party. It was created in 2006 on the eve of the first democratic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It prides itself on its vibrancy and its democratic ideals. Its leader, General Nkunda, has always proclaimed his goals were the protection of civilians and the fight against the corruption of the Congolese Government and its President, Joseph Kabila. Independent journalists, Georgianne Nienaber and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Helen Thomas, who visited the CNDP controlled territory in early January 2009, report that the local population supports the CNDP because of the protection it offers. Nienaber and Thomas’ complete unedited interview with General Nkunda prior to his January 22nd detention, can be seen in the five YouTube videos, two of which are provided below below:

Video 3:

Video 5:

Underscoring the dire situation in East Congo, “Hotel Rwanda” humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina sent an open letter to Barack Obama on January 27, 2009, asking him to intervene in what is becoming an apocalypse of violence, aided and abetted by mining interests from nations in the west. According to Rusesabagina, “The international community needs to intervene to prevent the lives of more innocents from being lost.

Regarding the arrest and detention of General Nkunda, Rusesabagina says:

“It [the arrest] is not a panacea for the violence. Rwanda’s President Kagame bankrolled and directed Nkunda in the past. His arrest is a “chess move” on Kagame’s part to try to get back on good terms with his [Kagame’s] international donors. Both Sweden and the Netherlands, two of the four biggest donors to the Rwandan government, pulled their funding after the release of the U.N. Security Council report on the Congo in December 2008.”

Ambassador Rice, you are already on record in your pledge of a new era in U.S. support of human rights. In a powerful statement during your first appearance in the United Nations Security Council as the United States Representative to the U.N., you stated the following on behalf of the protection of citizens:

“Civilian protection is not just a moral duty; it must be a core element of military operations. The United States government understands that protection of civilians is a vital priority – indeed that it must be an essential part of our missions.”

It is clear from this heartfelt statement that you plan to oversee a more proactive and humane policy toward international human rights.

Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice, in order to solicit your intervention in this monumental and ever growing catastrophe, civilian and military representatives from the CNDP reached out to the independent journalists who recorded the last video interview with Laurent Nkunda, prior to his detention by Rwandese officials on January 22nd. Through an ensuing series of emails and phone conversations with these journalists, the CNDP is providing you the following points of concern:

  • President Paul Kagame should immediately free General Laurent Nkunda who is being illegally detained.
  • The Congolese parliament is not in agreement with the central Kabila government. The Congolese Government has stopped the legal proceedings initiated against Major General Laurent Nkunda Mihigo, President of the National Congress for people’s Defense-CNDP. This has not been reported in western media.
  • General Nkunda was arrested because he has created powerful grass roots populist movement in eastern Congo, which exists to protect the riches of Congo for the Congolese people. Powerful business interests in Kigali, Rwanda, needed the CNDP to be placed under the control of Rwanda so that exploitation of Congolese minerals (which has been documented by the UN) can continue.
  • Nkunda’s arrest is a major setback for the Nairobi peace talks. There was about to be a breakthrough in which Congolese refugees now in Rwandan detention camps would be allowed to return to Congo. If this were allowed to happen, the CNDP movement would become too strong for Rwandan interests to control.
  • Powerful intelligence sources in Kigali, with or without the knowledge of President Paul Kagame, suggested that the removal of General Laurent Nkunda by assassination would assure political victory for Kinshasa, which was losing territory to the strong CNDP movement.
  • There was pressure on the Rwandan government when Great Britain and the United States accused Rwanda of responsibility in the growing insecurity in the eastern DRC, especially the Kivu Provinces and its capitol city, Goma. American and British interests threatened to pull monetary support to Rwanda. As a gesture to this pressure, Rwanda offered up Laurent Nkunda as a concession.
  • The chief of the Rwandan defense Forces, James Kabarebe, was sent to Kinshasa to strike a bargain with Rwanda for the removal of Nkunda. He is an ethnic Tutsi who helped Rwandan President Paul Kagame mastermind the overthrow of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. He is also on the United Nations list of 54 individuals linked to the exploitation of Congo’s natural resources.
  • The plan was for Rwandan troops to dress in FARDC (Congolese) uniforms, assassinate Nkunda, and claim that his death was caused by his defense against FARDC forces in the fight against the FDLR. This would satisfy intelligence interests that already understood that the Kabila government has been in collusion with the FDLR to perpetuate unrest through displacement of the population, rape, lootings and killing.
  • Bosco Ntaganda is a former member of the Rwandan Patriotic Army and allegedly a former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC) who was used in an attempt to destabilize the CNDP. Rwandan intelligence infiltrated the CNDP and tried to bribe certain officers, telling them they would receive promotions and money in return for their betrayal of Nkunda. Ntaganda was promised a good position in the Congolese military hierarchy and $250,000. He was also offered a deal through Rwanda in which his indictment by The Hague for war crimes would be forgiven and erased. On 22 August 2006, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Ntaganda bore individual criminal responsibility for war crimes committed between July 2002 and December 2003, and issued a warrant for his arrest.
  • As of May 2008, Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court for the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen and using them to participate actively in hostilities. Ntaganda is also known as “the Terminator.” In early January, with support from the governments of Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila, Ntaganda did attempt to unseat Nkunda and proclaimed himself to be the chairman of CNDP, but hefailed in his attempt because the 7,000 CNDP soldiers were solidly behind Nkunda.

Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice, you should also please consider that in a horrible twist of fate, the testimony of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo was released hours before news came that Dr. Alison Des Forges was killed in the crash of Flight 3407 from New York to Buffalo on February 12, 2009. Des Forges, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch’s Africa division for almost two decades, dedicated her life to working on Rwanda and was the world’s leading expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide and its aftermath.

Des Forges represented all that is good with humanity in a region of the world that seems to have lost its grip on what it means to have human compassion. Before her death, President Paul Kagame banned her from entering Rwanda.[ad#go-daddy-468×60]

The following recent testimony from Human Rights Watch (HRW) says it all. There is no need for a filter or more explanation. Please do not allow what happened during 1994 to be repeated upon people who have absolutely no voice:

“The Tutsi [Rwandan] soldiers accused me of being the wife of an FDLR combatant, just because I’m Hutu,” said one woman who was raped by a Rwandan army soldier in Remeka. “After they raped me, they burned my house, saying it was the house of an FDLR. I was pregnant, but there’s no more movement in my womb. I think I have lost my first child,” says the February 13th press release from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

A woman from Lulere village in Ziralo told HRW that the FDLR said they would not leave Congo without “first exterminating the Congolese people.” The FDLR forces then killed her 73-year-old father and 80-year-old uncle by smashing their skulls with small hoes.

Linda Milazzo and Georgianne Nienaber

Linda Milazzo and Georgianne Nienaber

Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice, it is critical that you intervene in this matter. By complying with the CNDP’s urgent request, the United States can compensate in a small way for our inattention and negligence during the horrific days of 1994.

by Linda Milazzo and Georgianne Nienaber

Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations & community development projects, and educational programs. Linda began her writing career over 30 years ago, starting out in advertising and promotions. From 1976 to 1989, she operated an independent public relations service providing specialty writing for individual and corporate clients. For the past six years, Linda has focused on political writing. Her essays, letters and commentaries have appeared in domestic and international journals, newspapers, magazines and on dozens of respected news and opinion websites. She’s an educator and creator of a writers’ program she’s taught privately and in public schools. She currently facilitates an advocacy writing workshop and is developing an advocacy writing program to be implemented in public and private educational institutions and in community based organizations.

Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer with a focus on Africa. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists’ Online Quill Magazine, The Ugandan Independent, Rwanda’s New Times, India’s TerraGreen, COA News, ZNET, OpEdNews, The Huffington Post, The Journal of the International Primate Protection League, Africa Front, The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, and Zimbabwe’s The Daily Mirror. Her second book, Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey, was released in 2006. Nienaber spent much of 2004-2009 doing research in South Africa, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was in DRC as a MONUC-accredited journalist, and has been living Southern Louisiana investigating hurricane reconstruction and getting to know the people there since late 2007.


  1. ludoke says

    Kagamé was at the military school in the USA before 1993.
    At that time an Angola-leader disappeared for one year…

    -Kagamé and Kabilla had to be friends till 1996.
    -Ils devaient ^etre des ennemies de 1996 – 2008.
    -They are friends from 2008….untill Bemba comes from De Haag ?

    The Belgian Maoist Leader Martens Ludo changed also his friends.

    In 1994 there is the USA propagandist Adalm Hochchild…

    In 2009 we are at the end of the wild recolonisition of the private garden of Leopold II.
    Clinton will now come to Goma to celebrate the USA-victory of the planning in 1993 of all this.

  2. says

    cmitchell’s question to “AfroVoltaire – “”this is a blatant, and criminal lie”. Based on what? What evidence to you have to support such a strong statement? Show me where anything other than what this article says is true?”

    The answer is that the report by the UN proved that Nkunda was supported by the Rwandan government, so how can this article claim that “General Nkunda was arrested because he has created powerful grass roots populist movement in eastern Congo, which exists to protect the riches of Congo for the Congolese people.”

    Nkunda was arrested by Kagame because of this report and the effects it had on Rwanda’s western donors. That’s the truth, and it’s obvious.

  3. issi says

    This article seems to be the new propaganda of Sharangabo, disappointed by his best friend Kagame.

    Reade more about him or google his name….

    Nkunda, like all other tutsis are genocidaires of congolese people. 6 millions dead in this country according to IRC.
    Nkunda like Kame should end like germans nazies because their actions caused similar humanitarian catastrophes.
    Please stop immeduatly supporting those type of people .. tell me who is your friend and I will tell you who you are…


    Created by sharangabo rufagari on June 14, 2006, 4:05 pm

    Show this petition to your friends:


    False accusation against the President of Rwanda and the ongoing negation/ revisionism of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide here in Canada

    We, the undersigned, members of Rwanda-Canadian associations and friends are outraged that the Honourable Pierre Poilièvre, one of our elected members of the Canadian Parliament, has endorsed a petition, on behalf of some groups of Rwandans and their allies who have among their members, a large number of people suspected to be directly or indirectly linked to the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis and the massacre of moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Some of these individuals have now disguised themselves as “Political opponents to the Rwandan Government” and it is in this framework that they have used the office of the above-mentioned Member of Parliament to deliver a petition on Rwanda’s human rights situation.

    Due to the lack of information on the reality in Rwanda today, and deliberately ignoring the emerging positive dynamics in the Great Lakes Region, those who are behind that strange petition are the activists of the former Rwandan extremist regimes that led the country for three decades on the principle of exclusion based on the ideology of “Hutu power”. They are the same people who carried out the 1994 Tutsi genocide that claimed the lives of more than one million people in 100 days.

    By claiming that President Kagame is responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, those revisionists , on one hand, are trying to shift their blame from the culprits who planned and executed genocide to the person that stopped it, and on the other hand, they are maliciously considering the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda as inter-ethnic massacres, which is the genocide denial.

    It is on this ground that they cannot tolerate President Paul Kagame and his army for not only having stopped the genocide but also for having put to an end the system of governance based on the ideology of exclusion and genocide from which the extremists had enjoyed self-serving privileges.
    In relation to the above, Kagame defeated the former Rwandan army and Interahamwe militias who are known for killing innocent people.

    With the exception of negationists/ revisionists of the Rwandan Tutsi genocide, the World now acknowledges the outstanding efforts employed by the current Rwandan Government to bring forth peace, unity and reconciliation in Rwanda within a good governance framework, and has fostered unprecedented economic and social progress. Despite the many challenges pertaining to the reconstruction of Rwanda, the new leadership has managed to refurbish the image of Rwanda in a short time after the genocide. This is now an open book, and reliable sources across the World acknowledge positive achievements. The indicators in the last ten years, by reliable sources like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and UNDP …show the current government of Rwanda achievements.

    In order to hinder the ongoing reconstruction of Rwanda, those negationists/ revisionists have conceived a campaign to confuse people’s opinion in Canada and abroad, by making false accusations aimed at misdirecting the crimes committed as well as tarnishing Rwanda’s image, in an attempt to sabotage the international support.

    We take this opportunity to applaude the Universities of Western Ontario and Sherbrooke, and the Canadian Council on Africa for having remained objective, despite intimidations from the above-mentioned extremist groups, by honoring President Kagame for restoring peace in Rwanda and for his endeavours and accomplishments in the field of education in his country.

    We call upon members of the Canadian Parliament not to consider the allegations of the above mentioned groups and to take necessary measures in order to fight negationists/revisionists that is increasing across Canada and elsewhere in the world. We reiterate the call to our honorable representatives in the Parliament of Canada, a country known for its strong commitment towards human rights to consider introducing a bill prosecuting any one found guilty of negation and revisionism of genocides recognized as such by the international community, so as to contribute to the realization of the world wide objective of “NEVER AGAIN”.

    May 2006

  4. Sharangabo Rufagari says

    This the most accurate report in what is happening in the Great lakes area.Congratulations to Mrs Linda Milazzo and Georgianne Nienaber.

    General Nkunda has been a victim for doing the right thing for the peoples of the DRC and the entire region.The plain truth is that the Rwandan current regime is seeking a way to set permanently a foot in the Congo so as it exploit the minerals not for the benefit of the Rwandan peoples as such but for a small clique which hold the power there and also of course to advance the interest of few of their western friends.Like LUMUMBA before him Nkunda stood in their way.

    I have personaly written extensively in regard of the situation in that region and I can certify that greed,deceit and the will of the man in Kigali is at the base of this current sitution.

    Sharangabo Rufagari

  5. cmitchell says

    AfroVoltaire – the statement you quote is from the CNDP and presented by the authors. So, true or not it does not undermine their credibility. But, you say it “is a blatant, and criminal lie”. Based on what? What evidence to you have to support such a strong statement? Show me where anything other than what this article says is true?

    Tonie – You hint at the major source of the problem. The majority of those who have the ability to help will not because their own interests lie on the wrong side of truth and human rights. Even MONUC and the whole of the UN.

    Ultimately, the situation in the Kivus is not about Nkunda and the CNDP, but about those who would continually exploit the region and the people for ethnic and material purposes. Nkunda has come to the forefront because he is an obstacle in their path; the only one to say ‘No!’ Removing Nkunda does not stop the exploitation and suffering of the people; it increases it.

  6. says

    If you know the region, you are probably aware the Clintons are friends with the powerful man in Kigali and Ms Rice according to some sources, is a friend of Kabila. How could either of them solve the murky situation over there, and how could either of them help Nkunda?

  7. AfroVoltaire says

    You need to stop misinforming your readers with half-truths. You rightly point out the central role of Kagame and his govt in the conflict, yet you exonerate one of his key agent-provocateur in this conflict, namely Nkunda and his CNDP. All of them: Nkunda, Ntaganda, Kabarebe, Kagame, the FDLR, the mining magnates and even Kabila should be answering for their crimes against the Congolese and Rwandan people and nations, right now. They are all equally, individually and collectively responsible. You cannot single-out one of them (Nkunda in this case), and simply bleach him of all faults.

    This: “General Nkunda was arrested because he has created powerful grass roots populist movement in eastern Congo, which exists to protect the riches of Congo for the Congolese people.” is a blatant, and criminal lie. It brings discredit to some other valid points you make, about the need for the US to be more progressively proactive.

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