M23 'Capture' Tanzanian Soldier In DRC
“M23 have captured a Tanzanian soldier on front line today in Kinyandonyi, North Kivu,” the rebel group said in a brief statement seen by Chimpreports on Saturday morning.
“The serial number of his assault AK47 rifle is 1372,” it added.
M23 publicist Rene Abandi could not be reached for comment as his known mobile phone was switched off.
But the Movement said the soldier “is safe and in good hands because we treat him as our brother.”
M23 also alleged that at the time of his capture, Yohana was commanding a unit of FDLR militants, an outfit that draws majority of its fighters and leaders from perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
If true, the revelation is likely to embarrass the Tanzanian government which has in the past been accused of secretly supporting the terrorist militia.
The rebels also posted the photograph of Yohana’s passport before promising to release a video of the detainee on Sunday.
Tanzania and South Africa recently deployed troops in DRC to support FARDC operations against M23 rebels. The Malawi contingent is expected to beef up the so-called UN intervention Brigade in August.
Clashes between the rebels and the allied forces broke out last Monday, leaving scores dead and thousands of refugees fleeing through the Bunagana border to Kisoro in Uganda.
MONUSCO has also been accused of supporting the FDLR, actions that might lead to the destabilization of Rwanda. The group vehemtnly denies the allegations and instead accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels.
Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Eugène-Richard Gasana, recently wrote to the President of the Security Council, saying “the actions and behavior recently observed in the intervention brigade of the Mission of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) were very worrying.”
“As you know, Rwanda has supported the adoption of resolution 2098 (2013) of the Security Council authorizing the creation and deployment of a brigade intervention in MONUSCO. The resolution seemed to us indeed move towards peace and stability in the region, and the brigade intervention seemed an effective deterrent to renewed violence, pending efforts at regional and international levels lead to a political settlement,” wrote Gasana.
He said from reliable sources, however, since their arrival on the field, some elements of the intervention brigade MONUSCO engage in activities contrary to their mission and the interests of peace and stability in the region.
“First, the commanders of the brigade intervention of the highest ranks have met several times with their counterparts from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), with which, according to credible, reliable and detailed information available the Government of Rwanda, they discussed various forms of tactical and strategic collaboration. Their actions, suggesting they favor one of the armed groups they are supposed to discourage military activities, are of great concern,” charged Gasana.
He further warned that there are equally disturbing cases of collaboration between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the FDLR, often openly and some members of the intervention brigade.
“We are in possession of reliable reports of several cases, some endorsed by the commanders of the brigade intervention, integration of units or FDLR commanders to units of the FARDC commandos near the Rwandan border,” warned Gasana.
He also said the FARDC’s delivery of large quantities of weapons and ammunition by FARDC officers have increased, with the full knowledge of the commanders of the intervention brigade.
“Activities and behaviors mentioned above, which are taken very seriously by my government, is not only a serious threat to the security of my country, but also undermines the credibility of MONUSCO and activities of peacekeeping ,” warned Gasana.