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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Rwanda and Uganda: Who is to blame?
This week Rwanda and Uganda were supposed to be withdrawing their forces from the DR Congo town of Kisangani. But far from withdrawing they have been involved in pitched battles, killing each other, as well as civilians caught in the crossfire.
But with the two governments backing rival rebel factions in DR Congo, relations have deteriorated rapidly.
Who is to blame? Is Rwanda getting too big for its boots and hitting back at its former protector, or is it Uganda behaving like an overbearing big brother? Why is it that allies seem to make their own worst enemies?
This debate is now closed. Here are a selection of the e-mails received.
Both Uganda and Rwanda should be blamed for the death of innocent civilians. If they want to defend their countries as they say, why not take back their military and make strongholds within their own territories?
Matovu Henry, Ugandan in USA.
Why do we in Africa always take one step forward then three steps back? The money Rwanda and Uganda is spending fighting each other could be better used to help AIDS victims in their respective countries.
George Meyers, USA, friend of Rwanda
I don't think that anyone can be blamed directly. The most important thing is to try to educate the people and not give monetary assistance to the governments.
Once again the West has tried to prop up the alibis of two countries in its favour, who chose to invade Congo. The world knows Rwanda and Uganda have been robbing and killing the Congolese and for the West. It's called "security issues" for the two invading armies.
It would be wise for Rwanda and Uganda to realise that the Congo will not be in political disarray forever. It will one day be in a position to pay back, with interest, the unsolicited attention it is getting from those countries.
The fighting between Uganda and Rwanda in the DRC comes as no surprise to me. For the leaders of these two countries represent the most cunning criminals in the entire Region. They are merely fighting each other because the loot from the DRC has not been/is not being divided up equally.
The fighting in RDC is the signal showing once again the weakness
of the UN and the international community in the great lakes region.
Mavheti Madinga, Zimbabwe
There is no more time for finger pointing. Congolese people have suffered enough. Uganda and Rwanda troops have to leave Congo. If they want to show how strong they have become, there are other ways to score points.
The first to be blamed is OAU, next the military leaders and above all the United States which is backing the war.
Unless the United States stops its extravagant intervention in the poor African countries there will be peace in the continent.
The failure, inaction, slow response and lack of interest by the United States and her Nato allies is responsible for the genocide in Congo. Neither Ugandan nor Rwandese regimes can support their war machinery without outside assistance.
Sam Nabaasa, Uganda
This whole trouble in the Congo is a result of lack of respect for one another and lack of a focussed mission of the two former allies. If these can be corrected, there would not be any loss of innocent lives on a foreign territory.
A lot of it has to be blamed on history, colonialism the way that African countries have been divided into units that does not reflect the demographic constellation of Africa. The way that colonial powers left Africa behind and went back to their arm chairs where they are still paying corrupt officials to continue the looting of Africa.
Matata D, Rwanda
I think now it's time for the BIG brother to stand down due to the inhumanity of what they are doing to us (CONGOLESE).
The fact that both Uganda and Rwanda have their own serious internal problems to deal with, their presence in DRC can never be justified by either. The only explanation for their presence is that both are ferocious scavengers who have apparently disagreed on how to share the carcass. It's time they stop the slaughter of other country's innocent citizens.
What I find sad and unacceptable is their readiness to fight one another in an independent country. Through this they have subjected the people of Kisangani to untold suffering. My challenge to both countries is simple. Please get the hell out of Congo and settle your own differences elsewhere. The people of Congo and Africa in general is ashamed to you.
Kyalo Kiema, Kenyan in Germany
I strongly feel that Rwanda should be blamed for these endless skirmishes because Uganda had fulfilled its part by quitting Kisangani as part of demilitarisation plan. Whereas Rwanda started playing monkey tricks by confiscating their military uniforms and hiding their guns - a sign that they were not ready to withdraw and prepared for a fight against their counterparts -the Ugandan troops.
Don't forget that we have always been a home for their people whenever they have needed refuge in the face of persecution and genocide at home. In fact, most of their current leaders are de facto Ugandans, born and bred in Uganda. If they feel it necessary to kill our boys, in a third country, that is unfortunate. Let one thing be clear, Ugandans will never see that sector of the Rwandan people in the same way ever again, GENOCIDE OR NOT. We will never die for them ever again and neither will we foster and nurture a people who will later turn their poisonous fangs on us. Ugandans, forgive BUT NEVER FORGET.
As long as people continue to be
fooled by leaders with personal
ambitions and the sickening desire
to be and stay in power, there will
always be senseless wars.
Ubong Effeh, UK (Nigerian)
It's just a case of two countries that have grown too arrogant to even sit down and agree to compromise. Each of them wants to be the boss of the Great Lakes region
Both countries are to blame. If there was a disagreement, they should have used diplomacy instead of killing civilians.
There is absolutely no good excuse for killing. They seem to have no respect for human life.
Rwanda and Uganda should be ashamed of themselves and withdraw from RDC unconditionally. It is amazing to see two countries fighting inside an independent country while the world is watching. Knowing how poor these two countries are, and the fact that they're fighting, makes us all sick.
For the sake of the Congolese people, get the Rwandans and Ugandans out of the Congo. They can go and fight each in Rwanda or Uganda as they used to.
It is again unfortunate and ridiculous to see that the so-called new generation of African leaders hailed in the West at the end of the century, ranging from the Horn of Africa to the Great Lakes region, are indeed ruthless leaders with absolutely no interest in the social, economic and political development of Africa. Both Rwanda and Uganda have no business in the Democratic Republic of Congo and it is high time they let the Congolese people look after their own destiny.
Somebody must smack African leaders on the head. I don't believe that they value human life. For most of them, human lives are commodities (disposable war machines). If one dies, big deal, another will replace it.
I think is time for Uganda and Rwanda to get out of Congo. They have really messed up that country.
07 Jun 00 | Africa
Kisangani fighting defies ceasefire
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