Rwanda’s Ingando Camps Recruiting for M23

A story in the Associated Press today discusses Rwandan youth who have fled to Uganda to escape what they say was forced recruitment into M23 at an Ingando camp. Ingando camps are government-run “solidarity” camps that Rwandans must attend if they want a future in the country. The AP report says:

The 14 men and two women say they fled Rwanda on June 3, ending weeks of what they say was harassment by officials who targeted them for dodging a “political awareness program” in Butare, a town 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the capital.

Two of the fleeing students said in interviews that they resisted going there because most of their friends who went there never came back. They said their classmates were forced to cross the border and fight alongside M23, one of many rebel groups operating in Congo’s troubled North Kivu province.

“We told them that we are too young to join M23 but they did not listen,” said Moses Mugisha, 21. “They threatened us. We can’t go back to Rwanda. We are very scared.”

The 16 who refused to go to the “Ingando” program say their high school examination results were withheld by authorities as a result. Under Ingando, thousands of Rwandan students take part each year in what the government calls solidarity camps, locations across the country where they are lectured on what it means to be Rwandan.

This is not the first report of Ingando camps being used as forced recruitment bases for military purposes, the State Department’s recent human rights report says:

Staff members at a few orphanages reported the RDF pressured some of their young men to join the military during mandatory “ingando” civic and military training camps held after secondary school graduation.

The orphanage – Ingando – military connection should be particularly worrisome to Anglicans in America who regularly support these orphanages. When I raised a concern about Ingando to a PEAR USAbishop last year, I was told that the Rwandan Anglican bishops back the Ingando camps and that they compared them to going on a church retreat! As Bob Dole used to say, “where is the outrage”?

2 thoughts on “Rwanda’s Ingando Camps Recruiting for M23”

  1. have you ever set foot in Rwanda? out of thousands of youth who go to ingando, you choose to listen to 14 youth who cheated exams and know that they are out of options they want to get visas by fabricating stories. please take the time to check your facts before writing.your very welcome to visit our country and investigate on your own, we are a very welcoming and hospitable people

    1. I “checked my facts” just fine. All reports are that ingando camps serve to impose the RPF version of reality on the populace, something you seem to be doing also. It doesn’t work in the rest of the world however.

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