Kagame promotes general sanctioned by US for war in DR Congo

Wednesday August 30 2023
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President Paul Kagame. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG


Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has promoted a general recently sanctioned by the US for having a hand in the conflict in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in what could either be a show of defiance or protestation against the labelling.

Brig-Gen Andrew Nyamvumba was named alongside several other top army officials in new positions.

But he is now a fingered man after the US Department of Treasury listed him among six people considered warmongers in eastern DRC.

It said Andrew Nyamvumba was among those who “helped fuel the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo”.

The US Treasury Department had sanctioned a total of six people from Rwanda and the DRC.

They include three FDLR (Hutu rebel group in DRC) leaders: Apollinaire Hakizimana, a Rwandan national, FDLR defence commissioner; Brigadier General Sebastian Uwimbabazi, a Rwandan national, FDLR intelligence leader; and Ruvugayimikore Protogene, a Rwandan national, leader of the FDLR-affiliated Maccabe group, formerly known as the Commando de Recherche et d'Action en Profondeur.


The sanctions also targeted Bernard Byamungu, a Congolese national, deputy commander of operations and intelligence for the M23, a Tutsi rebel group in the DRC. Salomon Tokolonga, a Congolese national and commander of the 3411th regiment of the FARDC (Congolese army), is also targeted.

Read: US gets Kigali to toe the line again

"Nyamvumba, the head of operations of the 3rd Division of the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) whose units penetrated Congolese territory and provided support to the M23, which has long-standing ties with the Rwandan government", the Treasury Department statement said.

He will now head the commandant of a military college in Nyakinama. Rwanda did not immediately respond to his listing alongside rebels when the sanctions were announced last week. American entities are barred from engaging with him.

The US Treasury Department had each of these individuals contributed to the instability in eastern Congo-Kinshasa. And that these six people are involved "in numerous cases, in human rights violations, including sexual violence and violence against children".

Following the announcement of these sanctions, President Félix Tshisekedi expressed his satisfaction, saying that "things have started to move on the diplomatic front, with sanctions being imposed". The Congolese president added, however, that "the people sanctioned were not those we were expecting".