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Posts from — January 2015

Attacking and finishing FDLR: underlying objective and resistance

Posted on January 12, 2015
By Darius Sunray Murinzi

We are Africans. We are not Charlie.

In Rwandan political parlance FDLR means Hutu [at some extent, it means simply Africans, because when the Rwandan president kills instinctively Tutsi and Hutu as documented by BBC TWO Rwanda Untold Story, he does not care about the identity of his victims –editor’s emphasis]. Anyone who disagrees with the Tutsi dominated RPF government is immediately accused of being FDLR. Some media outlets, even some famous individuals who support the RPF tend to imply in their speeches, that the word Hutu means killer.

Hutu refugees have been killed inCongo from 1996 up to now.

This is done to make sure that anytime great numbers of Hutus are killed anywhere in the world, their deaths go unnoticed or in the category of a well deserved consequence to a people who are inherently evil, and whose lives should not count for anything. This explains the silence over the deaths of millions of hutus from Rwanda, DRC, and Burundi. When you add up all the other Bantu peoples who were slaughtered by the Tutsi armies of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in the last 24 years, because they looked like hutus, the numbers are staggering, and the silence over this horror by the UN and the world media, which shamelessly give these numbers, is shocking to say the least.

This means that, whenever we hear Russ Feingold, John Pendergast, Jason Stearns or Martin Kobler talking about eradicating the FDLR from the face of the earth, they really mean Hutus consciously, or unconsciously. This stance sends a chill down the spine of every Hutu in the Great Lakes region, young or old and the unintended consequence of this irrational position makes lasting peace impossible to achieve in the region, because cementing hatred through a well orchestrated strategy of persecution of the Hutu people in the region will always meet fierce resistance, whether the current FDLR survives or not.

In the last few weeks, a number of proposals have been put forward with the stated aim to bring peace and stability, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by killing off the FDLR, all from Western based institutions or countries. The one that especially caught my eyes is the one being pushed by the Enough Project and some shady character named Jason Stearns who claims to be an expert on all things African. This proposal which seems to be the same one embraced by Russ Feingold and the Obama administration is predicated on these three steps:

  • Step one: Kill or arrest the FDLR leadership or make them defect to Kagame’s side, if this doesn’t work exile them to Siberia or the North Pole,
  • Step two: Round up all Rwandan Hutu Refugees in the Eastern DRC, and put them into UN guarded concentration camps,
  • Step three: Ship all these Hutu Refugees into the even bigger RDF guarded concentration camp, which is Rwanda,

This insidious American backed project must be supervised by a German dude by the name of Martin Kobler, who in turn expects African countries such as the DRC, Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi to enforce this insanity on his behalf and his UN bosses. The fact that this is not a new idea does not seem to bother anyone in Washington or New York. After all, this is what the UN has been trying to do since 1994, when it helped the US and Great Britain change the geopolitical landscape in the Great lakes region of Africa, bringing the RPF to power in Kigali and removing Mobutu in the same way the UN helped remove Patrice Lumumba in the early 60’s.

The FDLR survives not because they are a bunch of killers roaming around the jungles, shooting at everything that moves. The FDLR survives and will always survive because it fights for a noble cause of liberty, equality and justice; that the people understand and are willing to die for.

For the US and the UN to keep deluding themselves that every Hutu in the region is going to lay down their weapons and surrender to a Tutsi dominated government and go back to living in slavery, as it was centuries before the 1959 social revolution, in this day and age is baffling to most Africans, and I can’t help but wonder, who is piloting this runaway train.

The UN has forfeited its right to be an honest broker in all things Rwandan, since the days of Lt. General Dallaire who still talks about Hutus as the bad guys and Tutsis as the good guys, without any sense of nuance whatsoever, to the three hundred thousands Hutu refugees slaughtered under its watch in the DRC as evidenced by the -you guessed it- UN Mapping Report, which is still gathering dusts in somebody’s cabinet in New York.

By trying to implicate SADC nations into the US/UN latest attempt to slaughter Hutu refugees en masse, because they refused to bow to the Kigali regime, until it accepts an honest political dialogue with its opposition, the US/UN cartel is trying to drag SADC’s credibility with the Rwandan Hutu refugees and all other people of goodwill who admire and respect what SADC did by helping the DRC get rid of the Kagame/Museveni backed murderous thugs known as M23.

Trying to equate the FDLR to M23 in order to justify a UN led military offensive on an unarmed defenceless population is an insane proposition, which can only bring disastrous results, and I hope and pray that SADC nations can see through the lies and ruses of those who are trying to cover up crimes they committed against our people, by bullying our brothers and sisters into starting an unnecessary fratricidal criminal insanity though military confrontation.

It is worth noting that since the defeat of the M23 the region has remained relatively calm, and whatever troubles that occurred in some parts of Eastern DRC had nothing whatsoever to do with the FDLR, and yet the utmost World body for peace and security is calling for war, and the Representative of the so-called world’s greatest democracy, Mr. Feingold, is telling the world, how impatient he is about the voluntary peace process that was initiated by the FDLR, trusting SADC to help bring everyone to the peace table, including the Kigali government.

Mr. Feingold is not ashamed at all, to say how much he wants to see more bloodshed in our region, as if we haven’t seen enough blood already. [There are nations including US which cannot prosper without imposing wars on other nations; this certainly is the case as far as Eastern Congo is concerned – editor’s emphasis]

Who in their right mind says that since a peace process is not moving as fast as they would like to see, even if it is moving and it hasn’t stalled at all, they’d rather see blood? Who is supposed to do the killing and the dying and for what? Besides, why does the US/UN feel that they should get the last word in a situation that is entirely a DRC/ Rwanda affair?

More than a year ago, when President Kikwete of Tanzania suggested to Paul Kagame that he should talk to the FDLR, Kagame publicly threatened to kill the soft spoken Tanzanian gentleman. Kagame also went on to state publicly that he will shoot anyone who opposes his government in broad daylight. It didn’t take long until we started seeing dead bodies float around Rwandese lakes and rivers, and in an extremely arrogant fashion, the Government of Rwanda admitted that more than sixty thousand of its citizens have disappeared, including 18 thousand school children. This is the man our people are supposed to trust and he is the one, in whose hands, Russ Feingold wants us to put ours and our children’s lives. [It is as if these westerners take Africans as stupid and without any memory at all – editor’s emphasis]

Before anyone keeps insisting on pushing Hutu refugees to go back to Rwanda without any guarantees of freedom and democracy, through a reliable political dispensation, they should do a head count of the people who returned since 1995 especially through the UNHCR and shows us where they are, and how they are doing? We know how well Gen.Rwarakabije [former FDLR leader today working with the Rwandan regime] is doing. Forget him! Show us all the people who returned with him, and if you can’t produce them, at least tell us what happened to them, and why it happened.

The truth deficiency in Rwandan politics and the Great lakes region has reached the point of saturation. It is up to SADC to bring everyone to the table and hold them accountable where it is necessary. We can start by doing a proper census of all the lives that were lost in the Great Lakes region since 1990, in order to fix the underlying ethnic tensions, away from nefarious media propaganda, and institutionalized persecution of our people by those who seek to dominate the continent, by exacerbating local rivalries, so that they can benefit from the ensuing chaos.

Every single life that is lost on our [African] continent should matter.

Claiming that we don’t know how many people died in Rwanda or the DRC and who they were, and who their families are, tells the rest of the world that we don’t care about our own, and therefore it is OK to do as they please with us. Moreover, the fact that those who are responsible for the 10 million Bantus of Eastern Congo haven’t been brought to account for their crimes, and instead they are calling for more of our people’s blood creates a lasting stain on our continent’s psyche.

We are Africans. We are not Charlie. [editor’s emphasis]

Most of the problems of Rwanda are Rwandan made and they will not be resolved by anybody else, as powerful as they may be; same as the issue of Eastern DRC. It is crucial that the African countries who understand the underlying issues of the region don’t fold, in face of the extreme pressure being exercised by Western vultures, who currently see Africa, especially the Great lakes region, as nothing else but a source of cheap or free resources and ruthless mercenaries, such as Kagame and Museveni.

via Attacking and finishing FDLR: underlying objective and resistance | Rising Continent.

January 12, 2015   No Comments

The war against FDLR already started

The war has already started
An analysis of the imminent operations against the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR

By Simone Schlindwein, Goma, 9 January 2015.

Time is up for the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR. The six-month deadline for voluntary disarmament expired on 2 January. The decision has been taken by UN Security Council to attack them militarily. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called Congo’s president Joseph Kabila to inform him about the international community’s political will to use “all necessary means” to destroy the FDLR in the DRC. Now, everybody is waiting for Kabila to give his go-ahead to launch the attacks.
The military actors in the Kivus are ready to fight. A joint command operation center has been set up in Kiwanja Monusco base to coordinate the operations between FARDC, FIB and Monusco’s regular troops.

Meanwile in Goma, the humanitarian agencies are busy preparing. UNHCR is setting up temporary camps in Masisi and Rutshuru territories to register newly arriving Rwandan Hutu refugees from FDLR areas who will flee and seek refuge. Radio messages are broadcast into the bush to inform FDLR that there is now a last chance to surrender peacefully.

It’s the first time in history that literally the whole world has apparently turned against FDLR, even the Tanzanians and South Africans they considered as their loyal partners. Now, everybody is waiting for the first bomb to be dropped. Monusco General Wafy announced last Sunday that the operations can start “at any time”.
But instead of bombing FDLR positions in North Kivu, the joint operations between Monusco and FARDC turned against the Burundian rebels FNL in South Kivu. Why?
There is a simple reason: All these delaying tactics, including the FNL operations, are part of the psychological warfare to weaken the FDLR’s morale. Monusco chief Martin Kobler has called the FNL operation a “role model” of joint military action conducted by FARDC, FIB and Monusco troops. It was simply a manoeuvre to prove the FDLR that all forces are ready to fight them and to demonstrate what will happen to them in the worst case. The FDLR had six month to surrender their arms peacefully. They failed.

The Kisangani bluff

In the last months, the FDLR “surrendered” 337 combatants and 234 old rusty weapons – a total joke. 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”, as the press release of South African president Jacob Zuma states clearly.

In our analysis written in July 2014 (“Endgame or bluff?”) we stated that the FDLR’s offer of volunteer disarmament was a bluff to gain time. The Monusco was well aware of that and still played along, even as the FDLR leadership complained about the toilets in the Kisangani camp and discussed those issues on the highest level they didn’t lose their temper. Why? For a simple reason: Because both sides gained some positive results from the Kisangani bluff.

  • ·         The UN wanted to prove that the FDLR is not willing to disarm voluntarily. It showed the whole world that the FDLR played a game and this in the end undermined their credibility. The UN playing along was a tactical step to prove to the world that there are no other options to get rid of the FDLR than to attack them militarily.
  • ·         The FDLR tried in a clever way to address their biggest enemy: the UN’s DDRRR program for voluntary repatriation to Rwanda through which they lost around 12.000 combatants in the last 13 years. As the history of the 2009 joint operations showed, while in a few months almost 1000 defected, this time they tried to make sure that DDRRR cannot “steal” many more of their effective force. How did they do that? Although it was agreed on in the technical joint committees that FDLR/FOCA would surrender unit by unit, the FDLR leadership selected the mentally and physically weakest ones of all the different units, including their dependents. These invalids and old fighters were sent to Kisangani. It seems like a military operation, just without guns. It`s crystal-clear that these guys are still under FDLR/FOCA control, even though Monusco is feeding and housing them. There are about 10 officers in their lines who keep an eagle eye on their comrades to ensure that they do not eventually surrender to DDRRR but stay and refuse to answer questions or show willingness to repatriate. It was a tactical game being played first of all to gain time – for a six month period – and secondly as a clear message to their own troops: If you want to surrender, you will end up in Kisangani and won´t get home to your loved ones and your country anyway. The exit door that was once opened by DDRRR doesn’t exist anymore! Did this tactic work out well? Statistics show a tremendous drop of repatriation via DDRRR during 2014. Around ten FDLR demobilized in average every month – compared to 100 on average during 2012. Quite a significant decrease. But DDRRR continue to offer voluntary repatriation and are trying to reach out to the FDLR combatants in Kanyabayonga and Kisangani camps. In the end, the war has already started – it is psychological warfare, conducted on a totally different level.
  • So, what will be the result of the Kisangani camp situation? Will FDLR stay there until the DRC and Rwanda find a way to deal with them? We should not forget that Kisangani camp is in the end controlled by the Congolese Government, specifically bythe intelligence agency ANR. Looking at the region, Kisangani means that the DRC Government has a counterpart to the camps in Uganda and Ruanda where M23 combatants are hosted by the respective governments. It’s maybe too early to speculate, but could there be in the end an exchange? I give you Omega if you give me Makenga?

The FDLR conglomerate today

To simply talk of FDLR is a very imprecise way of understanding the conglomerate of different factions that will be targeted by military operations. To come up with any successful strategy there must be a deeper understanding of what we mean when we use the term FDLR.

  • ·         RUD-Urunana is a splinter group of FDLR that separated with their political leadership in the US and their own military command structure from the main organisation in 2004. RUD consists maybe of 200-300 combatants mostly based in northern Rutshuru and Lubero territories. They operate in small groups. Their main goal is to survive and to do business, exploiting taxes along the trading axis of Nyamilima road. Most of those Rwandan Hutu fighters have already left their positions in the Binza Groupement and have fled to Uganda or the forests in Lubero.
  • ·         FDLR-SOKI is another small faction that split away under the command of Sangano Musohoke aka Soki. However, Musohoke was killed by M23 commandos in 2013.
  • ·         FDLR/FOCA in North and South Kivu is the most coherent FDLR group with a total estimated number of 200-1300 effective fighters, mostly in North Kivu whereas the South Kivu Sector is a very small group of maybe 200.

The FDLR/FOCA is an “Organization politico-militaire”. That means it consists of a political and a military wing in which both wings elect a common leadership platform on an equal basis that decides about the overall strategy of the whole organization.

Recent elections took place after many delays in December 2014 confirmed Ignace Murwanashyaka (in jail since 2009 in Germany, trial still ongoing) as president, Callixte Mbarushimana as Executive Secretary, Victor Byiringiro (Rumuli) being elected as 1st vice-president (previously he was 2nd vice-president and acted in interim for Ignace Murwanashyaka as president, but former 1st vice-president Straton Musoni is on trial in Germany too) and Colonel Wilson Irategeka as 2nd vice-president.

General Mudacumura still holds the chief of high command position as military leader of FOCA but has lost his interim post as vice-president. His political influence has decreased drastically.

The FDLR leadership is deeply divided in fractions. The cleavage lines are multidimensional and complex but let’s mention at least a few:

  • ·         Division between South Rwandan and North Rwandan origin in terms of clans, family relations and background in the pre-1994 regime. The northerners are considered to be close to Juvenal Habyarimana’s clan and the “Akazu” and are defined as more radical and extremist in their Hutu power ideology. The southerners are defined as more moderate and willing to negotiate themselves into the political system of current Rwanda. This faction is creating internal disagreements and rivalry within the leadership since the beginning of the FDLR 2001 when the former ALIR East and West groups in DRC united to form one single organization. Prominent representatives of these groups are General Sylvestre Mudacumura from the North, originated from Gisenyi and Mayor General Victor Byiringiro, current interim president, who originates from the South. They hate each other deeply and since the arrest of Ignace Murwanshyaka, who tried to mediate between them on the ground, the two have been in open opposition to each other.
  • ·         Division between people with a genocide history, or who are accused by Rwanda to have taken part in the killings of 1994, and those who don’t have a Genocide-label. The first group is a tiny minority, mostly all of them military commanders as they were officers of the former Rwandan army FAR. The most prominent figure is General Sylvestre Mudacumura and most of his high command members, as well as influential commanders like General Omega/Israel. The overall majority of the FDLR foot soldiers and low ranking commanders,as well as the cadres of the FDLR political and administrative wing, are younger and therefore not suspect of personal involvement in the genocide. For them, repatriation is an option – on whatever conditions they insist on, but at least there is an option they would go home in the end. For the alleged Genocidaires repatriation to Rwanda is and will never be an option. They know very well they will end up in prison for the rest of their lives – they would rather die in the bush in Congo.
  • ·         We have to underline clearly: the majority of individuals in the FDLR want to go home. But there are the few dozens in the high ranking FOCA-leadership who can’t, due to their genocide history, and who need the others to stay with them in the jungle for their own survival purposes. The FOCA set up a very tidy control system to make sure that defection is a very risky thing to try. It can end in execution or brutal punishment. In the FOCA internal military penal code defection and treason is the highest possible crime. The combatants are mostly now of a middle age where they have a wife and a few children they want to take care of and provide with a living and schooling. They would repatriate if thd have the chance to defect from their troops and make sure their loved ones will be safe with them. Only the very young generation of fighters who were born in the Congo in the Rwandan Hutu refugee community and are mostly children of FDLR are so brainwashed and don’t have active memory of their home country that it’s not easy to lure them out with nostalgic messages about their hills in Rwanda. That’s dangerous because if we talk about recruitment of fresh FOCA fighters, these are the young men who will serve the high ranking commanders as escorts to stay loyal with them in the bush until the end.
  • ·         There are political and administrative cadres who would go home but only under certain conditions. To reach their goals they need the Rwandan Hutu refugee community in Congo to play their political game.  These cadres are the ones pushing for an “inter-Rwandan dialogue” and “opening of political space in Rwanda” to achieve the final goals of 20 years of struggle against the Rwandan regime and as a principal legacy of the FDLR as an organization, drafted in the FDLR manifesto where they call themselves “freedom fighters”. To reach these goals, they would leave behind FOCA as a military wing, as long they have a guarantee of fulfilling their political goals. They have set up a shadow government that is “democratically elected” and pretends to be a state within a state that, with an effective armed force, guarantees the security and ethnic survival of their population as well as their whole Hutu ethnicity that is in their eyes threaten by extinction. But a government is not a government and a state not a state without citizens. And that’s why the refugee population plays a crucial role in their strategy of political manoeuvre. The FDLR claims to represent all 200.000 Rwandan Hutu refugees still left in DRC but is effectively only administrating their wives, children, elderly, invalids, pensioned soldiers and officers (yes, the FOCA has a pension system!) and other direct dependents. According to FDLR internal figures by mid-2012 they in fact administrated only 12.500 refugees in North Kivu and around 6.000 in South Kivu. These numbers decreased further in the last two years due to high repatriation numbers. None of the higher ranking commanders or cadres still have family in DRC. Their relatives all left a long time ago to go to Rwanda or live in exile. The “citizens” they govern are just simple refugees who would go home if there is a safe way home and a chance to start a new life in their Rwandan villages. These thousands of people had been misled by FDLR propaganda and taken hostage by FOCA and could be used as human shields.

Who is who in the FDLR?

In the political game being played there are a handful of military and political cadres playing an important role and representing different fractions. All the following “big elephants” are currently located in different positions at least a few hours walking distance to each other. They are all surrounded by their respective loyal forces.

  1. Interim president and 1st vice-president Victor Byiringiro originates from southern Rwanda. He is an ex-FAR and major-general but presents himself as a civilian figure. His power base is the “citizens”, the Hutu refugees. He needs them to maintain his position and to reach his goal of a political dialogue with the Kigali regime. A lot of middle ranking officers and combatants from the south are loyal to him. He is deeply religious and is preaching faith in God`s good will to lead them home into their “promised land”.
  2. 2nd Vicepresident Wilson Irategeka is a close ally of the influential mastermind in exile, Callixte Mbarushimana. He was until recently his deputy executive secretary, following a common strategy. Irategeka was actively working on a political umbrella for the Rwandan opposition in exile and on staking an explicit political claim in Rwanda itself. Immediately after the „Peace Offer Declaration“ of 30 December 2013, on 12 January 2014 the FDLR announced the „official start“ of activities of its new alliance FCLR-Ubumwe (Common Front for the Liberation of Rwanda) with the Rwandan opposition party PS-Imberakuri (Socialist Party). Irategeka became the FDLR-„Ambassador“ to Tanzania and linked up with former Rwandan prime minister Faustin Twagiramungu in exile in Belgium, who declared that his new party RDI (Rwanda Dream Initiative), not registered in Rwanda, had gone into alliance with the FDLR 2014. Later on, FDLR, PS, RDI und four other groups announced the formation in Brussels of the umbrella group CPC (Coalition of Rwandan Political Parties for Change), with Twagiramungu as president and a FDLR representative – interim president Byiringiro, as it turned out – as 1st vice-president. Irategeka travelled to Tanzania recently on a regular basis. But eventually Byiringiro declared these coalitions null and vois and warned in a recent FDLR communiqué written only in Kinyarwanda that only he himself should be accepted as a leader. Irategeka was sidelined by Byiringiro.
  3. FDLR spokesman Laforge fils Bazaye represents the political cadres in the FDLR administration. They portray themselves as the elite speaking in the name of the refugees. Laforge openly stated several times that he would return home if the refugees can return in dignity and there is a chance for political dialogue with Rwanda. Between Laforge, Byiringiro and Irategeka there is a lot of tension and rivalry on who defines political tactics.
  4. Angelo Muhire Habumuremyi is the representative of the Rwandan Hutu refugees within the FDLR. He was once close to Laforge but has tried to distance himself recently as he sees the military operations against FDLR approaching. His interest is to find a safe way out of the hostage situation, not playing any political games, and he is trying to communicate with UNHCR to establish humanitarian corridors. He is maybe the only quasi-FDLR who thinks positively about military operations against them because it will give the refugees a window of opportunity to escape.
  5. FOCA chief Sylvestre Mudacumura has recently become more and more isolated. His power is currently more based on fear than on respect. He is a very strong alcoholic and highly diabetic. He has grown fat and weak, not able to run anymore. Under the influence of alcohol he loses his temper a lot. Recently, he tried to escape from his own troops to surrender to ICC in The Hague, an operation that failed. Lots of high commanders have lost trust in him.
  6. General Omega aka Israel, commander of the FOCA 1st Sector, is perhaps the currently most influential military commander, with his troops still very able and capable of operating. He might be the only one really defending them and being able to survive with his CRAP and commando units or even launch a counterattack. As he proved during the 2012 attacks on Rwanda (during the days when M23 occupied Goma), he is willing to send his troops into Kamikaze missions to die as heroes and martyrs for their cause and never surrender. He is deeply religious, carries the name “Isreal” and has named his units “Sinai” and “Canaan” like the promised land of God.

What can be a strategy to dismantle the FDLR?

The Monusco has declared as the overall target of their military operation the removal od Mudacumura and Omega. Surrender of the political leadership is not enough. But how?

As far as Mudacumura is concerned, it`s likely that sooner or later he will find his way out under conditions and be transferred to ICC where he will retire in a luxury prison awaiting his trial – like General Bosco Ntaganda who fled his M23 comrades 2013.

Omega is more difficult to get hold of, taking into consideration that he actually has a well-equipped commando force under his command that has enough CRAP units to survive in difficult circumstances. The same applies to other commanders like Andre Kalume, the chief of the reserve brigade, or Col. Gakwerere aka Stany who commands the HQ protection battalion.

It is likely that FOCA is now issuing orders to go into a position of total defence. The troops have already organized civilian clothes to dress with and vanish into the population and try to use their refugees and dependents as human shields. Under these conditions, for FIB to attack with South African helicopters is clearly the wrong approach. As the 2009 operations against FDLR showed, there is a positive effect when FOCA is pushed and forced to run and disperse in chaos. In these chaotic moments simple combatants ordered their families to run into different directions to get away from the FDLR control.

The risk remains that FDLR/FOCA command will issue orders to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” like they did during the operations 2009. The FDLR trial in Germany aims to reach a verdict naming the leadership responsible for these orders which intended to create such an enormous humanitarian disaster that political pressure on the international community to stop the operations would rise. FDLR launched attacks on the local Congolese population, burnt villages, and looted health centers as punishment. The attack on the village of Busurungi in Walikale territory on 9 May 2009 stands as an example where almost 100 Congolese civilians were brutally slaughtered and had their houses burnt. But, according to testimonies in the German court and interviews with the officers who conducted these operations: 1) the attack on Busurungi was a revenge attack provoked by ex-CNDP-soldiers within FARDC killing FDLR dependents in Shario forest nearby in previous weeks; the Shario killings were commanded by Tutsi Colonels like Zimurinda and Baudouin who are known to show no mercy towards FDLR civilians. 2) the ex-CNDP soldiers set up their defence positions in Busurungi just outside the doorsteps of the houses where the local population slept, thus there was no way for FOCA to differentiate between military and civilian positions during the night attack. 3) it took FOCA almost two weeks to plan and launch these retaliation attacks conducted by more than 400 troops; to prepare such a major operation the FOCA command needs a safe setting and environment and a clear chain of command.

The upcoming military operations have to ensure that such provocations are not repeated and that the FDLR command chain collapses so that no major operations can be conducted.

At the same time, the most important strategy is to address the refugee population in order to dismantle the political leadership (because a government is not a government if there are no citizens to administrate). If they flee from FDLR and return to Rwanda, the entire foundation of FDLR legitimacy will collapse. The political leadership will lose their power base and trump cards in their political game. Since they are not close to the FOCA command any more their won´t be any other options for the politicians than surrender. In this moment, the radical FOCA wing will be left isolated and can be adressed by proper military means.

But initially there is a clear need to directly address these civilians to give them humanitarian corridors out of the mess and chaos so they can escape.

It is already starting to happen. Women have been abandoned as their husbands left their positions on the hills to follow orders by their command. The women found their way to UNHCR. The more that get out before the first attack is actually launched, the better. That is why there has not been an immediate attack following 2 January and that is what the delaying strategy is all about right now. It is a tactical step to let the whole world and especially the FDLR leadership wair what will happen. The weapon of fear is already launched.

via The war against FDLR already started.

January 12, 2015   No Comments

Military Operations Against Rwandan Rebels Oppose SADC to ICGLR

Military Operations Against Rwandan Rebels Oppose SADC to ICGLR

“as a country[Tanzania] we won’t be ready to join any combined attack against the rebels because not all people in eastern DR Congo are FDLR rebels,”  Bernard Membe, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs told the media in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania, hence rejecting, for some observers, the urgency of conducting military operations against Rwandan rebels and refugees based in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) .

The declaration by the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister comes after the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete gave a cautious support on efforts to free Eastern DRC from armed groups influence. Talking to foreign diplomats during a state dinner in Dar-es-Salaam on January 9, 2015, Tanzanian President said:

“We have always been supportive and will continue to be supportive of these efforts to ensure the eastern DRC is free of armed groups that threaten the security of the people of Congo and Congo’s neighbours…Any misrepresentation of Tanzania’s position is done by people who pretend to read Tanzania’s mind and make their thinking the truth. This is preposterous and contemptible. It is done by people who have ill intensions against our country.” However, he left the door open on the conditions for the involvment of the Tanzanian troops.

These conditions may have been clarified by Bernard Membe when he said:

“If Congo will not use its security forces to identify the Rwandans and get them deported to their respective destinations, Tanzania will for the first time not comply with the UN directive to take immediate military action against the rebels. The M23 rebels were in uniforms, lived in camps and had troop vehicles as opposed to the FDLR rebels.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo government, supposed to give the go-ahead, has also expressed its reservations. Speaking to the media on Friday, January 9, 2015, Lambert Mende, DRC MInister of Communications said that “operations against FDLR will happen at the right moment, after weighting all the options and parameters and under the best possible scenario.”  Pushed for more clarity, Lambert Mende added that:  “these famous FDLR are not a classic army. These are fighters  without distinguishing marks that hide cowardly behind a human shield composed of our compatriots and other Rwandan civilian refugees. It is therefore the duty of the president and the military high command to adapt any strategy  to this reality on the ground.”

Lambert Mende and Bernard Mende appear to  voice coordinated reservations against conducting operations.

South Africa has consistently held a similar view. For that purpose, South African President Zuma had pushed for an SADC/ICGLR summit in Luanda for  January 15-16, 2015 to reevaluate the military and other options after the United Nations Security Council’s January 2, 2015 deadline for the UN Peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) troops (FARDC) to launch military operations against Rwandan refugees in Eastern DRC expired.

Angola’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who recently has built closer ties with the Rwandan Gneral Paul Kagame, grudgingly agreed to the summit. However, under the pressure from the United Nations Security Council he abruptly cancelled the summit on Saturday January 10, 2015, without even a prior concertation with DRC, South Africa, and Tanzanian governments.

This has infuriated the Tanzanian government, and most importantly South African President Zuma, who is the current SADC leader. Both governments asking for explanation.

The next steps remain uncertain especially if DRC, Tanzania, and South Africa create a block and oppose the military operations, despite the go-ahead from  the United Security Council. In fact, the operations hinge on the cooperation of Tanzania  and South Africa, whose troops make most of the UN Intervention brigade, while the DRC troops form the foot soldiers.

Meanwhile, MONUSCO has started pyschological operations ahead of the anticipated military action, with a heightened presence on social medias, radio broadcasts, and blogs.

via AfroAmerica Network – Military Operations Against Rwandan Rebels Oppose SADC to ICGLR.

January 12, 2015   No Comments

Rwanda Supreme Court will not hear DGPR’s Lawsuit | Rwanda

5 January, 2015

Rwanda’s Supreme Court has issued a decision stating that it will not hear DGPR’s lawsuit on the non-respect of French Language, which was filed on 8th December 2014.

The Supreme Court decision states that, the case could not be accepted because the evidences submitted were not in form of laws or international conventions violated, but administrative decisions/actions, which could be heard by another competent court.

DGPR believed that the constitutional court had the competence to rule on this case, since, the party has submitted evidences in form of tangible acts done by different Government Institutions violating Article 5 of the Constitution.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda will therefore, take this case to the High Court in Kigali.

DGPR believes that the non-respect of article 5 of the constitution negatively affects many educated Rwandans as it denies them a chance of equal treatment as citizens and thus makes them unable to achieve their legal rights as stipulated in Article 16 of the Rwandan Constitution, which states that: ‘All human beings are equal before the law. They shall enjoy, without any discrimination, equal protection of the Law’.

Article 5 of the Rwandan constitution stipulates that Rwanda uses three official languages: Kinyarwanda, French and English, however, many Government institutions such as the National Bank of Rwanda, Rwanda Revenue Authority, National ID Project and many others, have opted to either use English alone or with Kinyarwanda, and deliberately left out French. DGPR finds this a hindrance to the national unity and reconciliation process.

Done at Kigali, 5th January 2015


DGPR’s Secretary General

Phone: +250 788 774 757

via Rwanda Supreme Court will not hear DGPR’s Lawsuit | Rwanda.

January 5, 2015   No Comments

FDLR disarmament, cacophony of local actors and enduring UN failure to facilitate peace in Great Lakes region | The Rwandan

By René Claudel Mugenzi

January 2nd 2015 mark the deadline for Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Rwandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to voluntarily disarm as accorded by Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)

We are waiting to see what will happen, but it is more likely that FDLR will not comply with this demand considering that no troop movement toward fulfilling this demand had been announced or observed in the region.

As this deadline was approaching we have heard different and confusing messages regarding what will happen to FDLR combatants them when they disarm. While the US special envoy for the Great Lakes region; Mr Russ Feingold announced that ‘’those who will disarm will be taken in transition camps where they will be taken in a third country’’ Martin Kobler the UN secret general special representatives to DRC and head of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) call for FDLR armed to ‘disarm and go back to Rwanda peacefully’’.

Since its existence FDLR has made several requests to have a dialogue with the Rwandan government in order to find a peaceful solution the situation. No single effort has been made by the UN to facilitate that or to consider the dialogue request as an important pathway to find peaceful solution to the existence of FDLR.

On contrary UN has promoted and advocated the disarmament by force and repatriation of FLDR combatants when necessary. These UN actions were done on the background of awareness and in-depth knowledge that the vast majority of FDLR combatants are orphans and survivors of several circles of massacres of Rwanda Hutu refugees that occurred in DRC by the current Rwandan army particularly between October 1996 and June 2003.

These massacres as well as  possible genocide against Rwandan Hutu refugees in DRC were documented in a UN report called DRC mapping Exercise.

UN should have expected, respected and understood the unwillingness of some of FDLR combatants to go back to Rwanda considering their experiences with the Rwandan government forces as well as lack Rwanda and the international community efforts to ensure accountabilities of crimes against humanity they experienced.

UN should also have realised that the political reasons which have prevented more than 200,000 (unarmed) Rwandan refugees in DRC (according to the UNHRC) to go back home, will be much more relevant and stronger for 1400 armed FDLR combatants (according to MONUSCO)

On the other side Rwanda has repeatedly rejected all FDLR requests to have a dialogue with them arguing that Rwandan government could not negotiate with ‘’genocidal forces’’. This argument is pretence considering that among members of FDLR who returned to Rwanda, some were reintegrated in Rwandan government army including one of the FDRL founder and supreme commander General Paul Rwarakabije who is currently Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Service.

If the Rwandan government genuinely believes that FDLR combatants were criminals, they would not have integrated its members particularly its former leaders within its army and administration.

DRC dilemma:

As the deadline is expiring the DRC army is expected to be part of forces that are supposed to attack and forcibly disarm FDLR combatants. In the past the government of Congo has sought and received effective support from FDLR combatants to fight against the Rwanda government forces and the Rwanda-backed Congolese rebel of the Rally for the Congolese Democracy (RCD) which invaded Congo and resulted into a war known as the Second Congo war or Great War of Africa.

Furthermore DRC government is very much aware, as documented in a report by UN group of experts’ reports, that not only the current Rwanda government has fuelled conflicts in its eastern provinces by establishing and supporting armed groups which resulted in enduring instabilities, humanitarian crisis and loss thousands of lives. In the process Rwanda has also systematically looted its minerals.

The above mentioned actions by the Rwandan government have undoubtedly created within Congolese population, army and political leadership a sympathy about FDLR cause of ‘’liberating Rwanda and bring about democracy’’. Those unfortunate Rwanda actions have also created strong feeling of hatred and in-depth and dangerous resentment towards Rwanda government and its leaders for causing all unbearable suffering in DRC.

This negative feeling was demonstrated by several protests by Congolese population across Congo against armed actions by the Rwanda-backed M23 rebels in north Kivu province. This was also demonstrated by the eruption in joy and celebration by thousands of Congolese population after hearing about the death of the Rwandan president Paul Kagame, which turned to be a rumour.

Furthermore it is also important to note that Congolese population, particularly those living in East have never protested against FDLR despite all war crimes and rape allegations by the UN and Rwanda government.

Tanzania frustration:

Tanzania is one of the main contributors of troops to the U.N. Force Intervention Brigade which is supposed to attack FDLR and forcibly disarm them after 2ndJanuary 2015 deadline. In trying to find solution of the FDLR and armed groups in East of DRC, the Tanzanian President Kikwete has called for dialogue between the Rwandan government and the FDLR. The government of Rwandan response to this peaceful way of conflict resolution was of extreme furious and harsh nature towards the President Kikwete.

Rwandan President Kagame called President Kikwete’s proposal ’utter nonsense‘and threatened to “hit him” for daring to express that idea.

Who would blame Tanzanian in case it decides not to attack or demonstrates reluctance to attack FDLR considering that a peaceful pathway of ending conflict that President Kikwete has proposed was rejected without being given a chance.

Who wold blame Tanzanian in case it decides not to attack or reluctance to attack FDLR considering that it’s long term and extensive experience in facilitating negotiations and dialogues between belligerents groups in the region has not been taken into consideration in the case of  FDRL and the Rwandan government. In fact, Tanzanian has effectively and successfully facilitate peaceful negotiations between the previous Rwandan government and armed rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front – It has also successfully facilitated peaceful negotiations between the previous government of Burundi and armed rebels.

Who would blame Tanzanian in case it decides not to attack or demonstrates reluctance to attack FDLR considering that FDLR combatants who would be disarmed and forcibly repatriated to Rwanda are more likely to receive treatment that might be harsher than the ‘’hitting’’ that Rwandan  President Kagame had promised to the Tanzanian President Kikwete.

South Africa anger:

South Africa is also another major contributor of troops to the U.N. Force Intervention Brigade which is supposed to attack FDLR and forcibly disarm them after 2ndJanuary 2015 deadline.

In the last four years, South African had gained much more awareness and disturbing knowledge about the Rwandan government level of intolerance to its critics.

The assassination attempt on the South African soil of General Kayumba Nyamwasa who is a former Rwandan army chief of staff, turned opponent has infuriated South African authorities. The judge sentencing those who were accused to be part of the plot said that the ‘’plot was politically motivated from a certain group of people from Rwanda. ‘’

The South African authorities were more enraged when another Rwandan government opponent Colonel Patrick Karegeya was brutally murdered in South Africa and Rwanda government operatives have been the main suspects.

Who would blame South Africa in case it decides not to attack or demonstrates reluctance to attack FDLR considering its full awareness of potential unlawful treatment that those who oppose to the Rwandan government can face. Forcibly repatriating FDLR combatants that have been opposing the Rwandan government without a negotiated settlement, would be for South Africa government a serious and fundamental breach to its freedom and democratic values on which its own governance system is based.

USA contradicting positions and views:

In a press conference held on 30th December 2014, US special envoy for the Great Lakes Russell Feingold announced ‘’

‘’We all have a deep interest in ensuring accountability for those responsible of war crimes, crimes against Humanity and act of genocide’’

‘’Ending the treat of armed group is a critical component to civilian protection in eastern DRC’’

This clearly demonstrates that the ‘Interest in ensuring accountability for those responsible of war crimes’ is not valid for those committed against Hutu refugees in Congo as documented by the UN Mapping report which documented more than 300,000 killed.

If US had a genuine interest for ensuring justice for all crimes committed in Great Lakes region particularly in the East of Congo, we would not be talking about FDLR today. As the vast majority of current FDLR combatants took up arms shortly after they survived assassinations by the Rwandan government troops in order to protect themselves against the Rwandan government determination to wipe them out.

US and UN know that the vast majority of FDLR combatants are aged between 18 to 40 which would not be impossible for them to have been masterminded or participated in the Genocide that occurred in Rwanda 20 years ago as the Rwandan government claims.

I agree with the importance of ending the threat of armed group in the region, but this cannot be achieved sustainably by ignoring grievances that drove them to take up arms.

On the other side, it is surprising that US punishes Rwanda by halting military aid as result of UN report that documented  Rwanda support to rebels that destabilised DRC, at the same time US considers that the same government has the ability and genuine willingness to provide justice and effective integrate its former armed enemies without an international facilitated dialogue.

FDLR ambiguity in its responses:

In the above combinations of confusion and dangers FDLR has not made clear if it will disarm in full and its timetable to achieve that. (It has also surprised by organising disarmament events on which between small numbers of combatants have officially handed their weapons and joined the UN reception camps. At this rate FDLR disarmament might take 5 years if we consider that they have 1500 combatants according to UN.

Catastrophic and shameful UN failure to honour its responsibilities:

UN role in this FDLR issue should have been principally driven by its founding principles of maintaining peace and human rights. This would have been achieved by facilitating all initiatives that would avoid any armed conflicts; particularly promoting dialogues between all relevant local actors. Furthermore UN should have analysed and considered all presented grievances and ensured that they are addressed without discrimination and side taking.

On contrary UN has taken a path that worsened, discredited or enforced the above mentioned local actors frustrations, anger, contradicting positions and ambiguity of responses instead of taking a leadership that would bring effective  and harmonious collaborations between them.

On 25th September 2014 in Kinshasa The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ‘’emphasised the importance of completing the disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, as soon as possible, noting that military action should remain an option, if necessary,”

At many occasion speaking or addressing FDLR issues, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon totally ignored all calls for dialogue which could have resolved the issue peaceful.

Furthermore he has also totally ignored and refused to implement UN mapping report recommendation of ‘’creation of a mixed judicial mechanism made up of national and international personnel as one of various transitional justice measures to be considered to address the numerous international crimes committed in the DRC’’ (which most of current FDLR combatants who were very young have survived and lost many of their relatives)

If UN had implemented recommendations of its Report of the Mapping Exercise, FDLR would be by now an entity of the past.

Meantime survivors of Rwandan government massacres and currently FDLR combatants who will refuse to disarm peacefully might be attacked and some of them will undoubtedly lose their lives in what has been international coordinated injustice against them and their rights since October 1996.

As history has thought us, those who will survive will undoubtedly continue to take up arms, they will keep dying until UN will decide to effectively honour its responsibilities.

God bless and save the African Great Lakes region and its people.


January 4, 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

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

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 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


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.


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