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UN report on Rwandan deals

Networks of Death: Rwandan Hutu Terror Militia Launders Money in Germany

AUTHOR:   François MISSER & Dominic JOHNSON

Translated by  Susanne Schuster

An unpublished UN report about deals of the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) incriminates countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. It has been made available to the German paper Taz in advance.

Bank accounts in the USA: FDLR fighter in Masisi

On Wednesday the agenda of the UN Security Council in New York includes an explosive confidential expert report which will probably be embarrassing for many of its members. The UN expert group for the monitoring of sanctions against armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo reveals in the report, which was made available to Taz in advance, which networks support the war of the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) in Eastern Congo. The FDLR is partly led by the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Their president Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy Straton Musoni have recently been detained in Germany.

Ignace Murwanashyaka

According to the report the UN sanctions as well as the UN arms embargo were broken from Germany. Murwanashyaka was involved „in the coordination of arms and ammunitions transfers to FDLR units” as well as “in the administration of large sums of money originating from the illegal sale of natural resources from areas controlled by the FDLR,” it said in the report.

In the report all five permanent members of the Security Council get what they deserve: France, because it is home to other FDLR leaders; Great Britain, because the companies involved have their head office there; the USA, because the bank accounts are there; Russia and China, because they buy minerals from Eastern Congo. In addition to that, China, Ukraine, Belgium, Spain and Sudan supply arms to the Congo. There is a risk that the UN Security Council will not publish the report in its entirety. China is said to have demanded that the report be translated into all five languages first of all, which is seen as a delaying tactic. It seems very unlikely that the council simply would not acknowledge the report at all.

The Hutu militia and its aides

Networks of Death

Officially, UN sanctions have been imposed on the FDLR militias, but they receive support from everywhere – from Tanzania and even from the Catholic church.

A FDLR fighter watches on as civilians are destroying a bridge by command in Eastern Congo.

The most curious clue led to the Balearic Islands. The government of the Spanish holiday islands in the Mediterranean finances two Spanish charitable institutions of the church, Fundació S‘Olivar and Inshuti. Why is the UN expert group for the monitoring of sanctions against armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo interested in that? Their new report which is on the agenda of the UN Security Council today and which has been made exclusively available to Taz provides an insight into the hidden world of global networks enabling the permanent war waged by the Hutu militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) who are partly led by perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

The president of Inshuti, Joan Casoliva, promised 200,000 US$ to the FDLR, according to the report. The FDLR received “regular financial, logistical and political support” from the members of the two institutions sponsored by the Spanish state. Specifically, the Fundació S'Olivar financed the foundation Brothers of Charity of the Belgian priest Constant Goetschalck, until recently based in Kigoma in Tanzania – a hub for arms shipments. This foundation forwarded money to an Ahadi Institute, from where money reached the FDLR. An Italian missionary in the Eastern Congo, Pier Giorgio Lanaro, confirmed to the UN experts that he had passed on money collected in Europe to the militia.

Not only the details about the inner life of the Catholic church mean that the new UN expert report is an explosive read. The UN experts reveal new details of the inglorious role of Germany where the FDLR leadership lived until recently unbothered by anyone (see Text below). They analysed the FDLR  field commander’s satellite phone connections from the Congo into 25 countries worldwide, among them Germany, Belgium, France, Norway and the Netherlands. In France, where the FDLR executive secretary, Callixthe Mbarushimana, and the political and foreign commissioners, Emmanuel Ruzindana and Ngirinshuti Ntambara, live as well as in Great Britain and the USA the authorities refused to identify the people on the other end of the line. But in Belgium some of the callers include former Rwandan military leaders from the time of the genocide, who are now supporting the FDLR. There has also been contact over the phone between the FDLR and the Rwandan party in exile FDU-Inkingi, whose president, Victoire Ingabire, a resident of the Netherlands, wants to run for the office of president in Rwanda next year and is canvassing in Europe on a moderate opposition platform.

Callixte Mbarushimana (Photo Interpol) 

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

The financial networks in Europe enable the FDLR to rearm. The militia is no longer just looting weapons circulating in the Congo, but it is importing arms from Tanzania via Lake Tanganyika. Bande Ndangundi, an old friend of the former Congolese president Laurent-Désiré Kabila, coordinates arms shipments to the FDLR from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania via Burundi. According to the UN experts, he has close connections to the Hutu government in Burundi and senior officials in the government, police and military of Tanzania. This year he has been speaking on the telephone frequently to a Portuguese shipping company and a Ugandan aviation enterprise. According to the serious allegations made by the UN, a whole group of Tanzanian officials wanted to preserve their “influence over political and economic interests” in the province of South Kivu with those deals. Fuel is smuggled from Tanzania into the Congo, minerals are smuggled in the opposite direction. Burundi, which has been governed by a former Hutu rebel movement since 2006, is “a retreat base for FDLR recruitments and sympathiser networks.” The FDLR maintains close relations with Burundi’s secret service chief Adolphe Nshimirimana and with the leadership of the police in Burundi. Recently Burundi’s police sent a delegation to Malaysia to buy 40,000 assault rifles, double the number as the size of the police force in the small country.

The FDLR generates the money for that through minerals exports, in particular gold and cassiterite. Gold dealers in the Congo who collaborate with the FDLR have partners in Uganda, Burundi and Dubai. The buyers include the Malaysia Smelting Corporation and the Thailand Smelting and Refining Corporation. The latter is the owner of the London based Amalgamated Metals Corporation, according to the UN its main supplier is the Hong Kong based and Samoa Islands registered African Ventures Ltd, which is locally represented by Swiss business man Chris Huber. He is now also said to be the buyer of minerals originating from former Tutsi rebels, who control mining areas since their integration into the Congolese army.

Arms for the FDLR are also supplied by the Congolese army directly, whose commanders in the province of Southern Kivu maintain close relations with the FDLR and they either tolerate or initiate arms transfers, although they officially fight the militia. The Congolese government in turn receives weapons from Asia and Europe. According to the UN on 21 January the North Korean cargo ship “Bi Ro Bong” landed in the Atlantic port of Boma with 3,435 tons of arms for the Congolese army. In May the Chinese cargo ship “An Xin Jiang” landed in the neighbouring port of Matadi with more arms. Neither North Korea nor China or the Congolese defence ministry answered questions by the UN experts about this.

Between September 2008 and February 2009 18 planes from the Sudanese capital city Khartoum landed in Kisangani in Eastern Congo, its freight was received by the army. In recent months armoured vehicles from China, Belgium and Spain made their way to the Congo as well as combat helicopters from Ukraine, which are now based in Goma in Eastern Congo and are being maintained by Ukrainians and Belorussians.

FDLR: The FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) is a militia made up of Rwandan Hutu fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it arose from the perpetrator organisations of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Their president, Ignace Murwanashyaka, led the group from Germany for many years and was arrested on 17 November.

UN expert group: A UN arms embargo has been imposed on the armed groups in the Congo, there are travel bans and the prohibition of financial transactions. Arms shipments to the Congolese government must be notified. Expert teams report any violations of the sanctions to the UN sanctions committee in charge. These reports are used by the UN Security Council as the basis for punitive measures.

Coordinated from Germany

Weapons and Ammunitions Transfers

Money laundering, Arms transfers, Phone conversations with commanders: The Rwandan Hutu militia was controlled from Germany. This is the content of a new UN report. BY DOMINIC JOHNSON

When officials of the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested the two leaders of the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), who were living in Germany, in the southern towns of Karlsruhe and Nürtingen, the German authorities knew already that they were in for some harsh criticism in the new UN experts report.

The president of the FDLR, Ignace Murwanashyaka, and his deputy, Straton Musoni, had led the militia for years from Germany. Until the review of their remand in custody next February the investigators must come up with additional evidence for their allegations that the two are responsible for crimes against humanity.

Some of that evidence is now provided by the UN report. The UN experts are in possession of an official FDLR document in which president Murwanashyaka is described as “commander in chief of the FDLR armed forces” and Musoni as “president of the top command of the FDLR”, with the executive secretary Callixthe Mbarushimana, who is living in France, as his deputy. Previously the three were only known as the civil leadership of the group. But now their formal military responsibility has become clear as well.

The UN investigators see a direct connection with war crimes when 60 to 96 civilians were massacred by the FDLR in Busurungi in the Eastern Congo on 10 May 2009. The bloodbath was possibly an act of revenge for previous killings of Rwandan Hutus by Congolese soldiers and was carried out when there was intensified fighting between the FDLR and the Congolese army.

According to the report, Murwanashyaka was in contact with the local FDLR commanders 14 times between 5 and 16 May. On 9 May four text messages were sent by FDLR military chief Sylvestre Mudacamura to his president and one towards the end of the attack on Busurungi on 11 May.

The UN experts group concludes carefully: Although the content of the communication is not known, it has been ascertained that “the pattern of the communication, confirmed by statements of the FDLR on the chain of command from the FDLR leadership to the field commanders, suggests that Mr Murwanashyaka must at least have been informed about the preparation of the attack on Busurungi and could have been directly involved in the order to the attack.”

But Ignace Murwanashyaka was not just concerned with the theatre of war in Eastern Congo. “Mr Murwanashyaka was directly involved in the coordination of weapons and ammunitions transfers to FDLR units and forwarded specific instructions on their deployment,” the UN report states. “The group has also received evidence according to which Murwanashyaka is involved in the administration of large sums of money originating from the illegal sale of natural resources from areas under control of the FDLR.”

One source of money, amongst others, is the trading firm Muyeye, one of the largest minerals-trading firms in Eastern Congolese town of Bukavu. Its employee Jean-Marie Shamavu tranfers money from the Congo to Murwanashyaka’s colleague Metete Nzita in Germany. Straton Musoni’s wife Brigitte Musoni is also named in connection with transactions and phone calls.

Questions to the German authorities on the transfers were not answered, even though UN sanctions were thus broken from Germany. The experts also lament the fact that the German authorities neither answered the question who had paid for the FDLR website, which was suspended after an enquiry by the German paper Taz, nor responded to requests to obtain copies of the email correspondence in Murwanashyaka’s suspended email account.

Source: Netzwerke des Todes : Ruandische Hutu-Terrormiliz wäscht Geld in Deutschland

Original article published on Nov.25, 2009

About the authors
François Misser  Dominic Johnson

Susanne Schuster is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, authors and translator are cited.

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