The Congolese armed forces have announced the beginning of military strikes on Rwanda genocidal militia, FDLR, and capturing one of the militants’ bases, Chimp Corps report.
DRC information Minister Lambert Mende said the army met “minimal resistance” against FDLR in the Tuesday offensive
The seriousness of DRC in neutralising the FDLR has always been a matter of concern for regional and international leaders.
This is premised on accusations that during the war on Tutsi M23 rebels, the Hutu militia were used in ground attacks as the South African airforce bombarded Brig Sultan Makenga’s bases.
The Tanzanian artillery component also played a key role in M23’s defeat in December 2013.
Mende said the army bombarded FDLR positions in Moyen Plateau of Mulenge and that the operation “yielded results.”
The DRC, UN, SADC, ICGLR, EU and other stakeholders gave FDLR the deadline of January 2, 2015 to disarm or face military action.
However, UN pulled out of the mission, saying DRC had assigned commanding positions to high ranking army officers accused of human rights abuses in previous military confrontations with rebels in eastern Congo.
The move angered regional leaders, with sources saying, Rwanda and Uganda are looking at other available military options to stop the security threat posed by FDLR and ADF militant groups in Eastern Congo.
Rwanda, which is directly threatened by FDLR, is yet to make remarks.
Foreign Minister Louis Mushikiwabo last week said, “Anybody would hope that a UN mission should not be in a country forever. We want to see results.”
Mushikiwabo, who was speaking at a joint press conference with her Germany counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Kigali, further stressed that despite United Nations spending one billion dollars per annum on the stabilisation and peace enforcement body in DRC, “We have yet to see the results of MONUSCO.”
She emphasised that, MONUSCO “have a key role in the ending the terror of the FDLR genocide militia.”
A source last week said, “The East African Standby Force is likely to play a key role in neutralising the FDLR should DRC refuse to take on the militant groups in Eastern Congo.”
Mushikiwabo said Rwanda hopes “that those who have made pledges to remove the FDLR genocide militia from Eastern Congo will honour their commitments,” adding, “Military action against FDLR is very important to stop the genocide militia moving about and causing insecurity.”
She further said the removal of the FDLR threat would allow Rwanda to repatriate 70,000 Congolese refugees who fled the militia’s terror.
FDLR’s extremist ideology and radical leaders are blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. When Paul Kagame’s RPF guerrillas took power in 1994, the genocidaires fled to DRC where they attempted to ‘cleanse’ the region of all Tustis.
Thousands escaped to Rwanda for safety. Since then, FDLR have committed atrocities in DRC and also carried out bombings of the Rwandan territory.
The Germany Minister Steinmeier said the impediments to tackling FDLR must be resolved.
“The wounds of the genocide take time to heal, but Rwanda today is so far from that reality and I wish people to know this,” he stated, adding, “When I return home I will tell my fellow Germans about the efforts Rwanda is making to boost business opportunities.”
He concurred that Rwanda is an anchor of stability in a region “facing significant security challenges” especially from FDLR.
The European Union said in a recent report that FDLR have been receiving military and medical supplies from regional actors not to mention an intensified recruitment exercise of combatants.