"We have to kill Tutsis wherever they are" - Guardian interviews the FNL's allies in Eastern DRC
Child soldiers can be found across Africa. Sometimes they are responsible for appalling atrocities; sometimes it is because their minds have been twisted by powerful drugs. But nowhere on the continent are they as driven by hate and ideology as among the Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern Congo. Here, after more than a decade of invasion, civil war and slaughter - rooted in the genocide - a second generation of killers is being imbued with the mind-altering ideology of extermination and reared to hate and murder Tutsis.
Some of the children learn it from fathers who were responsible for the mass killings the first time around, back in Rwanda. Others, like the boy, are raised by the extremist Hutu rebels who control large areas of eastern Congo and are among the most important causes of the conflict there that has claimed an estimated five million lives or more over the past decade and continues to kill about 45,000 people each month in Congo through the effects of war - principally starvation and disease.
These children are led by men with multimillion-dollar rewards on their heads offered by the United States for their capture to stand trial accused of the murder of thousands in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. America has listed their armed group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), as a terrorist organisation, but some of its political leaders have found safe haven in Europe. And while their army is fighting, the leadership is raking in millions through the smuggling of gold and diamonds, and extortion.
De Lorenzo's testimony to the United States Senate
Fighting broke out again in the early 1990s, before the Rwandan genocide took place. Bukavu and Uvira in South Kivu were cleansed of Tutsi in 2004 after Nkunda withdrew his forces from Bukavu after trying to capture the city. They have not been allowed to return, and local leaders in the city have expressed satisfaction that it is finally "clean". That was followed by the massacre of 150 Congolese Tutsi refugees at Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi by a joint
force of FNL, Mayi-Mayi, and FDLR units, apparently with links to some Congolese officials.
The FDLR's representatives in Europe can be contacted directly here: http://www.fdlr.org/
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition
Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa, Congo, Rwanda