Several well-placed sources within Uganda’s Internal Security Organization (ISO) have revealed to this website that Uganda and Burundi are planning a coordinated armed attack against Rwanda. Top security officials from both countries have been going back and forth for meetings to coordinate the attack, with the latest being the shuttling of Gen Gervais Ndirakobuca – the head of Burundi’s notorious SNR (Service National de Renseignement) and on the US sanctions list for gross human rights violations – to Kampala twice this November and ISO boss Kaka Bagyenda rushing to Bujumbura shortly after (December, 2019).
The change in strategy comes at a time when the respective plots of the two countries to destabilize Rwanda using proxies – the RNC, FDLR, RUD-Urunana, FLN –have suffered major setbacks this year as a result of operations of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC). Top commanders like Mudacumura of FDLR, Musabyimana of RUD-Urunana, Sibomana of RNC, have all been killed; thousands of their fighters have been captured and repatriated to Rwanda. Both the FDLR spokesperson and their chief of intelligence, LaForge Bazeye and Lt Col Theophile Abega, respectively, were captured at the Bunagana border on their way from a coordination meeting in Kampala, under the invitation of President Museveni, through Uganda’s Minister of State for Regional Affairs, Philemon Mateke. They were repatriated to Rwanda. “Major” Callixte Nsabimana, aka Sankara, the leader of the FLN was captured as well and repatriated to Rwanda where he is also facing terrorism charges.
The 31 December 2018 United Nations Group of Experts Report on the Congo confirmed that Uganda and Burundi formed a “network of recruitment” of these rebel outfits under the P5 umbrella, whose overall commander is the RNC’s Kayumba Nyamwasa. Further, Uganda and Burundi were coordinating when in December 2017 forty-six (46) RNC recruits, facilitated by Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), were intercepted at the Kikagati border on their way to the RNC training centre in Minembwe, South Kivu, DRC, via Bujumbura where they were to be received and seen off by Gen Prime Niyomugabo, the chief of staff of Burundi’s army.
So, the existence of anti-Rwanda terrorist militias in Uganda and in Burundi has been reported for the last three years or so. Testimony from captured members of various militia groups corroborate what was already known: A recruitment and transportation trail exists in Uganda and Burundi for militia recruits operating in eastern Congo to destabilize Rwanda. Those recruited in Uganda are expedited to Burundi by the Uganda’s CMI and received by their Burundian military intelligence counterparts. In May 2019, during his court appearance, Callixte Nsabimana, the leader of the MRCD-FLN confessed to all charges and sent shockwaves in the courtroom when he mentioned two names, Col Ignace Sibomana (then head of Burundi’s Military Intelligence) and Brig-Gen Abel Kandiho (Ugandan CMI boss) as his accomplices, who had either provided material support or had made such promises during their engagements. On two occasions, Callixte Nsabimana’s FLN claimed responsibility for attacks in Southern Rwanda. Assailants from his terrorist group crossed from Burundi’s Kibira Forest that extends into Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. They attacked Nyabimata Sector, Nyaruguru District, in April last year, and Cyitabi Sector in Nyamagabe District in December 2018, fleeing back to Burundi.
Similarly, RNC’s Maj Mudhathiru recounted over and over again in court how he and his soldiers were recruited in Uganda, facilitated to travel to Bujumbura where they were housed, equipped and then sent to Congo via Lake Tanganyika by the Burundian security services. Indeed, after the recent attack on Rwanda this October in Kinigi sector, Musanze, the surviving assailants from the group that killed 14 civilians, then fled to Uganda. One of the attackers’ phone was found to be in constant communication with the Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Philemon Mateke.
In September 2017, it was widely reported that Edgar Tabaro, the RNC lawyer, had been acting as an emissary between Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa and top security officials in Burundi including Gen Evariste Ndayishimye, the Secretary General of the ruling CNDD-FDD. Tabaro was also meeting Gen Etienne “Steve” Ntakarutimana, former boss of SNR, who also promised support to the RNC. While there, Tabaro also met with Gen Agricole Ntirampemba (then security advisor to president Nkurunziza, now Charge de Mission at State House), and Emmanuel Sinzohagera, the executive secretary in charge of development in CNDD-FDD, among others. These duties had placed Tabaro in close communication with Brig Abel Kandiho and Kaka Bagyenda, who has also been frequenting Bujumbura. Also worth nothing is that during this period the RNC’s head of capacity development had been received in Kampala to meet with Kaka Bagyenda regarding RNC operations in that country.
Burundi and Uganda head into elections in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Both unpopular regimes, they need to ferment some form of chaos and are tempted to cause a convenient war to distract or possibly use as an excuse for declaring states of emergency and cancelling elections. Moreover, with the proxy wars not working they appear to have finally decided that they need to do the work themselves.
We will see how this works out.