FDLR put under more pressure
The European Union (EU) and Canada have expressed ‘strong concern’ about the deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and organised crime committed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
This came two days after the United States urged the militia group to give themselves up to Congolese or UN authorities for disarmament.
In separate statements, they both expressed support to regional efforts to bring sanity to eastern Congo.
The High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union in a statement released Thursday reiterated the EU’s firm commitment to fighting impunity and the need to bring perpetrators of crime to justice.
“The current developments require the attention of all countries in the region. Recent cooperation between Rwanda and the DRC on this matter is necessary and positive,” said Ashton.
The US State Department, in a Wednesday statement, also reiterated its support for the international community’s comprehensive approach to disarming and demobilising the FDLR.
FDLR is largely composed of militia and former government soldiers (ex-FAR) responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, as well as a spate of atrocities against civilian populations in eastern
The EU, particularly, expressed ‘strong concern’ over recent developments in the Kivus and the deterioration of the security situation, reiterating its support to regional efforts to find a lasting solution.
The EU and its Member States, the statement stated, have a long standing engagement in supporting stability and security of the Kivus and in the region.
It further said the EU considers that establishing DRC’s effective authority over its territory is in the interest of all.
“The EU firmly supports the ongoing efforts to end the parallel chains of command within the FARDC,” said the statement.
The latest fighting, in a conflict zone notorious for brutal killings and rapes, has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes.
About 10,000 Congolese have fled to Rwanda, while thousands others have also crossed to Uganda.
The Red Cross warns the humanitarian situation could – once again – become “disastrous”.
The EU, Ashton said, is worried by information that this dynamic might be endangered.
“It, therefore, encourages all stakeholders to continue this cooperation, and to take appropriate measures to ensure transparency so that alleged incidents can be investigated and dialogue maintained.”
“The EU will closely monitor developments in the field,” she added.
Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird in a statement issued yesterday, said Canada was ‘deeply concerned’ by the deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC and its alarming impact on innocent civilia
“We encourage all neighbouring countries to work with regional and international partners in support of peace and stability efforts in DRC,” Baird said.
“We are particularly troubled by reported abuses of vulnerable populations, including killings of civilians, the forced recruitment of children into armed conflict and sexual violence. Canada condemns these deplorable acts of violence and calls on all parties to respect human rights and human dignity.”
The International Criminal Court recently rejected attempts to indict FDLR supreme commander, Sylvestre Mudacumura, as well as the group’s Secretary General, Callixte Mbarushimana.
Previous Joint Military Operations conducted by Congolese forces (FARDC) and the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) broke FDLR’s back, resulting into deaths, arrests or surrender of several senior commanders and fighters.
More than 400 FDLR combatants are reported to have returned home between last November and early this year.
Contact email: james.tasamba[at]newtimes.co.rw