Beni Territory sits in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) North Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda. Rich in oil, timber, gold, diamonds, wolfram, coltan and cassiterite, Beni is a vivid example of the phrase, “Everybody wants a piece of Congo.” Now the indigenous people of Beni are being massacred for their land and its riches.
The massacres in Beni Territory began in 2014. Estimates are that 60 people are killed every month. After the Aug. 13, 2016 massacres, the number of victims rose above 1,200.
There is little doubt that the massacres are occurring because Beni is so rich in resources essential to the manufacture of modern life in the industrialized nations. However, Boniface Musavuli, Congolese human rights defender and author of Congolese Genocides from Léopold II to Paul Kagame, says that the aggression has been falsely attributed to Ugandan Islamist rebels. The truth is, he said, that the killers are Rwandans and Ugandans who want to eliminate indigenous Congolese people.
« In reality, killers in Beni are individuals who are coming from Rwanda and neighboring Uganda. Their goal is to severely eliminate indigenous peoples in order to take ownership of their land, which is rich in resources. »
Longstanding U.S. allies and military partners Rwanda and Uganda have long been accused of trying to annex the resource rich portions of eastern Congo across their borders. U.S. policymakers and pundits have advocated carving independent states out of eastern Congo as South Sudan was carved out of Sudan despite the war and human catastrophe that ensued. Advocates of partition have included Herman Cohen, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, another former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and John Prendergast, humanitarian militarist crusader and co-founder of the corporate funded ENOUGH Project to End Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. ENOUGH operates under the umbrella of the Democratic Party’s corporate funded propaganda and influence peddling operation, The Center for American Progress (CAP).
Beginning in 2014, Reuters, AP, and VOA wires reported that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a phantom Ugandan Islamist group with alleged ties to Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Boko Haram and even the Taliban, was responsible for the massacres in Beni. Many scoffed at the idea that this militia had suddenly reappeared after years of inactivity and recent reports by UN investigators have finally proven the Islamist militia theory to be a fraud.
Musavuli said that the Congolese government may have used the Islamist extremist explanation to appeal to Western sympathizers and hide the fact that its own military officers were complicit in attacks on the indigenous people of Beni Territory. « We always wonder why the Congolese government continues to attribute the killings in Beni to Islamist terrorism. Perhaps, for the government of Kinshasa, it is a way to attract the sympathy of Western countries which are facing the Islamist terrorism themselves. But what is true is that several reports have claimed that the killings in Beni are the acts of individuals operating with the complicity of the authorities, including mainly military officers. »
Many Congolese believe that the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila is complicit in Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to annex portions of eastern Congo, and that Kabila needs Kagame and Museveni’s support to cling to power beyond presidential term limits. They point to new massacres in Beni that occurred shortly after recent meetings between the three presidents.
Neither the U.S. government nor its NATO allies have chosen to add the indigenous people of Beni to their list of worthy victims crying out for humanitarian military intervention. MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (DRC), has been either uninterested or ineffective in stopping the massacres.