The UN International Commission of Enquiry investigating arms flows in the Great Lakes region has found there is still significant organised support for the ex-FAR in the region, particularly in Kenya. In an interim report, received by IRIN, the Commission said it had investigated the trans-shipment of weapons from the Horn of Africa to the Great Lakes region via the Kakuma and Lokichokio refugee camps in Kenya. Rwandan exiles in Nairobi are also recruiting young men from the Lukole and Karagwe refugee camps in Tanzania “to open a new front in eastern Rwanda”, the report quoted its sources as saying. The Commission further found evidence of arms trafficking from South Africa through Zimbabwe and Zambia, the scale of which appeared to exceed the present capacity of the governments concerned to control it.
The Commission said it had documentary evidence of “very close collaboration” between the ex-FAR and two Burundian rebel groups – CNDD/FDD and PALIPEHUTU/FNL. The report details instances of military coordination in the shipment of arms intended for use by the ex-FAR in and around Rwanda. The Commission also said it had been informed that two columns of ex-FAR participated in the attack on Bujumbura airport last December, which resulted in the massacre of some 200 civilians. “The fact that CNDD/FDD is not subject to any arms embargo therefore represents a loophole through which the ex-FAR…can acquire weapons and materiel in violation of the resolutions of the Security Council,” the report notes.
The final report is due out next month, but the Commission says it is apparent that “significant numbers” of ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia remain deeply hostile to the Rwandan government and “are still committed to its violent overthrow”. Increasing evidence points to links between the ex-FAR, ex-FAZ and rebel groups from Burundi and Uganda. Investigation into reports of collaboration between the ex-FAR and UNITA is also underway.
Source: IRIN Update No. 520 Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 9 October 1998)