RPF invasion of Rwanda and denials

The agents were often intelligence officers and operatives in the Ugandan Army and in late 1989, they started gathering intelligence information from inside Rwanda.

Tuesday December 18 2012

By Timothy Kalyegira

After former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana invited exiled Tutsi in Uganda to visit relatives who had stayed behind in 1959, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) agents started secretly entering the country.

The agents were often intelligence officers and operatives in the Ugandan Army and in late 1989, they started gathering intelligence information from inside Rwanda.

According to several Hutu sources at the time, the unidentified visitors from Uganda told the Tutsi residents in various villages to start selling their land to their Hutu neighbours.

This, say the Hutu, was in order to help raise money for use in a forthcoming RPF war. These secret meetings were held at night, usually on Saturdays, as well as at public events, weddings, in bars, church parishes and at Catholic Church convents.

Hutu sources claim that the RPF provocateurs infiltrating the country from Uganda in 1989 encouraged the Tutsis to poison their Hutu friends and drinking colleagues.

Bishop Frédéric Rubwejanga, the head of the Catholic Church in Rwanda and a Tutsi, is said to have signed for and received arms and ammunition from the RPF in 1989 in the town of Mutara.
On August 17, 1990, in a paper titled “How to fight a counterrevolutionary insurgency” presented before the Ugandan Army at the Bombo Military Academy, President Museveni outlined the approach that his officers should take in combating the anti-government insurrection in northern Uganda.

He said: “Insurgents do not have to do much, but they will have succeeded in their devices if they simply terrorise the population, stop them from producing wealth for the country, dismantle the network of civil administration (for example, chiefs or RCs), and block communications.

“Once the State does not stop insurgents from doing this on a large scale, the country will rapidly lose income and find it impossible to support the army… Insurgents will be in a position to create a situation of strategic stalemate or even to launch a strategic counteroffensive to seize state power.”

This was one of the most significant addresses President Museveni had ever given. Not only did he inadvertently reveal how he had planned and fought his own NRA guerrilla war between 1981 and 1986, listening to him that day were several Rwandan Tutsi soldiers, who at the time, were part of the Ugandan Army, the NRA. They would draw inspiration from Museveni for an invasion of Rwanda being secretly planned at the time.

The Tutsi officers in the army were mainly deployed in the Finance and Administration and Medical departments of Bombo Barracks. They were Maj. Peter Bayingana, Maj. Frank Munyaneza, and others.

A Rwandan officer called Major Paul Kagame was the director of Administration in the Directorate of Military Intelligence at Basiima House in Kampala.

Another Ugandan-Rwandan officer, Patrick Karegyeya, was the director of counterintelligence in the NRA.
Stephen Ndugute had been a Lieutenant and a Marine in the Uganda Army under Idi Amin in the 1970s and fought in the 1979 war where he was wounded in one of his legs.
He was one of the senior officers of Andrew Kayiira’s UFM that fought Obote, having refused to join the NRA that was dominated by his fellow Tutsi officers.

As a colonel, Ndugute was the second in command to Major-General Paul Kagame in July 1994, as the RPA closed in on Kigali city.

The RPF had set the original date for their invasion of Rwanda on December 25, 1990. However, in September 1990, the United Nations held its annual summit in New York at which both President Museveni and Rwanda’s President Habyarimana would be present.

This presented an opportunity favourable for the RPF. Habyarimana would be out of the country and Museveni, who secretly supported the RPF, could claim ignorance of the sudden invasion if it took place.

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