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Statement by President Zuma on the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the DRC

Statement by President Zuma on the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the DRC
03 January 2015

The deadline set by the Heads of State and Government of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the ICGLR for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to disarm voluntarily or face military action expired yesterday, 2 January 2015.

The Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has taken note of the second wave of disarmament events that took place on 28 December 2014 in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu respectively, during which a further 151 FDLR combatants disarmed voluntarily and 67 weapons were handed over.

This brings the total number of combatants who have disarmed since May 2014 to 337 and the number of weapons handed over to 234. This represents approximately 24% of the FDLR’s estimated total number of combatants.

The FDLR has therefore to date not complied in full with the conditions imposed by the Heads ofState and Government of SADC and the ICGLR.

A Joint Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR will take place on 15 and 16 January 2015 in Luanda to review the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the FDLR and to decide on the appropriate action to be taken following the expiry of the deadline that had been set.

In the interim, the Chair of the SADC Organ launches an earnest and urgent appeal on the leadership of the FDLR and all remaining combatants to immediately and unconditionally present themselves for disarmament. SADC remains committed to the internationally mandated objective of neutralising all negative forces operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the FDLR, and remains ready to play its fullest part in this regard.

The Chair of the SADC Organ looks forward to participating in the Joint Summit of Head Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR in Luanda, Angola later this month to agree on a common approach to make decisive progress in reaching this shared objective.

Enquiries: DIRCO Spokesperson Mr Clayson Monyela on 082 884 5974 or Mr Mac Maharaj Spokesperson to the President on 079 879 3203

Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria

via The Presidency | Statement by President Zuma on the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the DRC.

January 3, 2015   No Comments

Rwanda Says UN Sabotaging FDLR Disarmament

Rwanda Says UN Sabotaging FDLR Disarmament
Credible information has emerged that the UN peacekeeping arm in DRCongo, (MONUSCO) is sabotaging efforts to disarm FDLR rebels.

A source in the Rwandan government told KTPress Friday afternoon that MONUSCO has downplayed the process for the rebels to peacefully lay down their arms.

FDLR was expected peacefully and voluntarily disarm on January 2, according to a UN resolution.

Regional leaders under the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), had also amicably agreed to the deadline and if not respected, the rebels face a military action.

“I have credible information that over 10 top MONUSCO leaders asked to go on leave towards today’s deadline,” said Jean Sayinzoga, Chairman of the Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission.

Indeed KTPress has independently established that all top MONUSCO officials, including the UN special representative, Martin Kobler, are on leave.

An anonymous source within MONUSCO, who feared for being fired if mentioned, said Kobler left office last month and is expected to return in the second week of January, a week after the disarmament deadline.

There was no arrangement or preparation to receive and repatriate or accommodate any rebels in case they appeared with their guns.

“What else do you think was the motive of these leaders to request for immediate holiday?” Sayinzoga told KTPress.

Yet, earlier, Kobler tweeted that, “MONUSCO is fully ready to support a complete demobilization, disarmament, repatriation of reintegration of all FDLR.”

MONUSCO and Congolese armed forces are mandated with the task, but until Friday evening, both forces had remained silent.

The DRCongo Spokesperson, Lambert Mende, could not be reached for comment as he had switched off his cellphone all day.

The DRCongo Embassy in Kigali told KTPress they will only comment Monday next week.

No jittery mood at the boarder

Rwanda’s Military Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, tweeted on Friday morning that after killing over a million people in Rwanda, FDLR continues to rape, kill and commit human rights abuses in DRCongo.

Despite a troubled experience with the rebels after launching several attacks and killing Rwandan civilians at the border with DRCongo, the situation was calm all day.

Hassan Bahame, the Mayor of Rubavu, the district bordering DRCongo, met with residents in every sector to offer them comfort and not to worry about any FDLR attack.

“Our security is tight as usual,” Bahame told residents.

Eminent military action

Rwanda is convinced the rebels are not willing to disarm.

On December 30, 2014, the US Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Russ Feingold, told local media that the United States supports the use of military force against the group.

He said the group has demonstrated that a voluntary surrender process will not work.

Instead, he said, “a military action must be undertaken to pressure the FDLR to lay down its arms.”

However, FDLR leader, Maj. Gen. Victor Rumuri, told our correspondent at the Rwanda-DRCongo, Sylidio Sebuharara, earlier in the day that his troops are not threatened and are ready for any action against them.

“We are not threatened by the pressure put on us by international community. We are doing what we are committed to do,” he said.

At the same time, hundreds of FDLR members have been defecting and surrendering.

A week ago, 155 rebels surrendered and have been received in Rwanda. However, an estimated 2000 rebels still remain at large.

Sayinzoga of the Demobilization Commission said Rwanda is ready to receive even 40000 rebels at ago.

Meanwhile KTPress has leanrt that the Congolese government has offered FDLR rebels a transit camp in Kisanga town as an escape route for those who dont want or wish to be repatriated to Rwanda.

South Africa Worried

Mind December 2014, South African President Jacob Zuma traveled to Tanzania and Uganda to speak to the leaders of the two countries after Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda agreed to attack the rebels with a formed East African Standby Force (EASF).

Predicting FDLR’s response, the EASF is already warming up for the deployment, after getting a thumbs up from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

Yet, SADC countries, led by South Africa, Tanzania and the DRC, are jittery over this possible military operation.

Zuma is concerned any militarily operation will disrupt his economic interests in the rebel occupied territory.

Sources says South Africa has mining, oil and gas investment.

But Gen. Nzabamwita said Rwanda has had enough and its time for a “military action now.”

By: Magnus Mazimpaka & Dan Ngabonziza

via Rwanda Says UN Sabotaging FDLR Disarmament.

January 3, 2015   No Comments

Statement by President Zuma on the Situation Related to the Voluntary Disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the DRC

By The Presidency

Pretoria — The deadline set by the Heads of State and Government of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the ICGLR for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to disarm voluntarily or face military action expired yesterday, 2 January 2015.

The Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has taken note of the second wave of disarmament events that took place on 28 December 2014 in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu respectively, during which a further 151 FDLR combatants disarmed voluntarily and 67 weapons were handed over.

This brings the total number of combatants who have disarmed since May 2014 to 337 and the number of weapons handed over to 234. This represents approximately 24% of the FDLR’s estimated total number of combatants.

The FDLR has therefore to date not complied in full with the conditions imposed by the Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR.

A Joint Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR will take place on 15 and 16 January 2015 in Luanda to review the situation related to the voluntary disarmament of the FDLR and to decide on the appropriate action to be taken following the expiry of the deadline that had been set.

In the interim, the Chair of the SADC Organ launches an earnest and urgent appeal on the leadership of the FDLR and all remaining combatants to immediately and unconditionally present themselves for disarmament. SADC remains committed to the internationally mandated objective of neutralising all negative forces operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the FDLR, and remains ready to play its fullest part in this regard.

The Chair of the SADC Organ looks forward to participating in the Joint Summit of Head Heads of State and Government of SADC and the ICGLR in Luanda, Angola later this month to agree on a common approach to make decisive progress in reaching this shared objective.

via allAfrica.com: Southern Africa: Statement by President Zuma on the Situation Related to the Voluntary Disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the DRC.

January 3, 2015   No Comments

International Envoys for the Great Lakes Region call for decisive actions against the FDLR

date: 03 January 2015

Nairobi – 2 January 2015 marks the expiration of the six month grace period granted by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the full and unconditional surrender and demobilization of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The Team of International Envoys, comprised of UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Said Djinnit, UN Special Representative and Head of MONUSCO Martin Kobler, AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Boubacar Diarra, EU Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Koen Vervaeke, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC Russell D. Feingold and Belgium Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Frank de Coninck, note with concern that the FDLR has not met this deadline. Instead, the FDLR has used this six-month grace period to continue to commit human rights abuses against innocent people in Eastern DRC, recruit combatants, and champion its illegitimate political agenda. Ending the threat of the FDLR is not just a DRC responsibility; it is a regional and international responsibility. We all have a deep commitment to ensuring accountability for those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

By failing to fully comply with the decisions of the ICGLR, SADC, and the United Nations Security Council, the FDLR has left the region and the international community with no other option than to pursue the military option against those within the armed group that are unwilling to voluntarily disarm. The Envoys recalled the Communique issued by the 1 December meeting of the Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) for the DRC and the region in which they “stressed the binding and non-negotiable character of the 2 January 2015 deadline”. Indeed, there is no justification for further delaying the neutralization of a group that is responsible for a long history of heinous crimes.

The Envoys hereby call upon the DRC Government and MONUSCO, including its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), to take all necessary measures to disarm the FDLR, in line with Security Council resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014). The Envoys commend the troop contributing countries (TCCs) of MONUSCO, particularly those of the FIB, for their commitment to peace and security and for their many sacrifices in their efforts to protect civilians and neutralize other armed groups in eastern DRC. The Envoys note that the international community’s expectations for the FIB are enshrined in MONUSCO’s mandate. MONUSCO and its FIB must now engage in counter-FDLR operations, as directed by its leadership and in support of the DRC government, in fulfillment of their mandate to neutralize all armed groups.

The Envoys emphasize again to (Removed “all”) FDLR combatants and their dependants that, at any point, they can choose a peaceful path by entering into the existing DDR/RR program, which continues to successfully repatriate former FDLR to Rwanda.  Over the years, several thousand (Removed “s of”) ex-FDLR combatants have safely and successfully returned to Rwanda. The Envoys remain fully supportive of the DDR/RR process for FDLR ex-combatants, while encouraging the countries in the region to work together to ensure that those FDLR leaders responsible for serious human rights abuses are held accountable.

The Envoys also encourage the signatory countries of  the PSCF  to fulfill all their commitments, including respecting each other’s sovereignty as well as the commitment to “neither harbor nor provide protection of any kind to persons accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, or crimes of aggression, or persons falling under the United Nations sanctions regime”. The Envoys further stress the importance for a comprehensive approach in addressing the root causes of conflict and instability, and encourage efforts of the regional leaders aimed at promoting confidence, understanding and cooperation between the countries of the region.

via International Envoys for the Great Lakes Region call for decisive actions against the FDLR.

January 3, 2015   1 Comment

Monusco on the spot as FDLR deadline expires – The New Times | Rwanda

By:JAMES KARUHANGA

PUBLISHED: January 03, 2015

All eyes were on the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (Monusco) as the deadline for the FDLR militia to disarm or face military action expired yesterday January 2.

Last year, the head of Monusco, Martin Kobler, told the UN Security Council that after January 2, military action against the FDLR – the group largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – would be inevitable.

But there was no sign of imminent attack on the militia, yesterday; instead Kobler on his official Twitter handle on Friday sounded similar diplomatic appeal.

“All FDLR have to stop the fight and return to peaceful life: we encourage them to surrender to MONUSCO and FARDC camps in the Kivus,” he said.

Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, said he did not believe the UN force would act, noting that failure to deliver on a specific UN mandate of ensuring that FDLR militia disarm or face military action was more proof that Monusco was ineffective.

“I do not think they will move (against the militia). Some United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) contingents do not have the will to neutralise the FDLR, as per resolution 2098 and decisions of ICGLR/SADC,” Nduhungirehe told The New Times yesterday.

The United Nations Force Intervention Brigade authorised by the Security Council on March 28, 2013 through Resolution 2098, is a military formation that is part of  Monusco.

Asked what he thought would happen  following the reluctance by leading FIB contingents to fight the militia, Nduhungirehe said, “I believe that any contingent that is not willing to implement the mandate given by the Security Council in resolution 2098 should be replaced”

Eastern DR Congo observers have previously noted that Tanzanian and South African troops which lead the 3,000-strong special UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) – the first UN peacekeeping unit mandated to neutralise armed groups there – under Monusco – cannot be trusted to root out the militia.

Their analysis is backed by the fact that  Tanzania lists the FDLR as a freedom fighting organisation on its government website, and senior South African envoys have allegedly lobbied in negotiations for delays in counter-FDLR operations.

In 2013, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, urged Kigali to open political negotiations with the FDLR and, mid last year, his foreign minister, Bernard Membe, referred to the FDLR as “freedom fighters.”

Genocide scholar Tom Ndahiro refers to the UN Force Intervention Brigade as “a fib” when it comes to fighting the FDLR.

Ndahiro said Monusco’s inaction “will vindicate what Kigali has been saying” and especially “expose Tanzania and South Africa.”

“Monusco should now be disbanded because they cannot fulfill their mission.”

The discussion even attracted debate on social network.

“Now we wait to see if Monusco threats of military action were cheap talk,” Michael P. Broache, a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science, Columbia University, tweeted.

On Tuesday, Russell Feingold, US special envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa and the DR Congo, urged the US’ partners in the eastern DR Congo to make good on their promise to launch attacks on FDLR as the latter’s recent surrender of only 150 combatants was “an insufficient” step.

Feingold stated that the group has clearly demonstrated over the past six months that a voluntary surrender process will not work- instead, military action must be undertaken to pressure the FDLR to lay down its arms.

“Any delay in military operation by the DRC military and Monusco after January 2 will play into the FDLR’s hands and only serve to enable the group to continue to commit human rights abuses,” he said.

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UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Martin Kobler, arrives at Monusco headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, to take up his duties on August 13, 2013. (Net photo)

Feingold said that their estimates stood at 1,400 fighters before the surrender last week of 150 former combatants, meaning that over 1,200 fighters were still holed in up in Eastern DR Congo.

Two days before the deadline, on Wednesday, Kobler noted that FDLR ex-combatants disarmed in eastern DR Congo, the previous weekend, but “without commanders and leadership it is not enough.”

Kobler was also clear that as FDLR politicians did not honour their commitment to disarm, “the UN will not endorse an extension of the deadline beyond 2/1/15.”

Throughout last year, the FDLR offered to disarm, but did the opposite behind the scenes as revealed by a six-month report of the Enough Project whose field research uncovered that the militia were actually regrouping, trading gold and charcoal for weapons, and mobilising political  support.

Meanwhile, even though the US politician said his country supported a two pronged approach against the FDLR – demobilsation and reintegration for those willing to surrender, and military operation for those who fail to surrender, Feingold did not clarify on whether US forces would play any direct role in neutralising the militia.

Security officials in the region are also tight lipped on the next course of action but analysts have pointed to the recently set up the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) as a suitable game changer.

Late last year, 10 regional countries: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda – members of the EASF – hastened to establish a 5,000 strong fighting force which is now ready.

Majority of the now armed and ready for deployment EASF force come from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, countries that are seemingly devoted on uprooting negative forces including the FDLR, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group opposed to the Ugandan government, and the al-Shabaab, a jihadist group based in Somalia which pledges allegiance to the militant Islamist organisation al-Qaeda.

via Monusco on the spot as FDLR deadline expires – The New Times | Rwanda.

January 3, 2015   No Comments

The Government of Rwanda’s statement on need for urgent military action against FDLR – The New Times | Rwanda

The six-month deadline given to “Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda” (FDLR) to voluntarily surrender and disarm has expired.

The Government of Rwanda reiterates its call to the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the United Nations Mission in Congo (Monusco) to abide by their regional and international obligations, notably UNSC Resolutions 2147 (2014) Resolution 2098 (2013) both of which authorize: “[…] Offensive operations through the FIB either unilaterally or with FARDC […]”

As predicted, the FDLR has taken full advantage of this period to expand and consolidate its military and political organization with the aim to further destabilize Rwanda and the region.

Regional and international stakeholders are presented, once again, with a critical opportunity to demonstrate their genuine commitment to neutralizing negative forces and ensure lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region.

Having consistently objected to all maneuvers used to protect or legitimize the FDLR, the Government of Rwanda urges the international community to ensure that hidden agendas are not allowed to stand, any longer, in the way of sustainable peace, progress and security for the citizens of this region.

The delaying tactics and excuses that have allowed the FDLR to perpetuate their crimes and genocidal ideology should no longer be tolerated.

via The Government of Rwanda’s statement on need for urgent military action against FDLR – The New Times | Rwanda.

January 3, 2015   No Comments