Tanzania’s national army (TPDF) Saturday dismissed media claims that rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) could be fleeing to the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
FDLR are remnants of those responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda
An ongoing offensive mounted by the DRC military, and supported by the UN peace keeping mission – MONUC is reportedly forcing the rebels to flee.
When a Tanzanian paper early this month reported that the rebels could be fleeing into the country, The New Times contacted Capt George Mukwabe, the TPDF spokesman denied the allegations.
“Thank you for your concern! But I can assure you that there is no such event, and right now we are dealing with exercise Mlima Kilimanjaro,” a short email statement from the TPDF spokesperson states.
After the joint Rwanda-DRC military offensive (Operation Umoja Wetu) against FDLR in eastern DRC’s North Kivu province, early this year, the Congolese army and MONUC mounted another joint offensive (operation Kimia II) against the rebels, extending even into South Kivu province.
Recently, Lt Col Jean-Paul Dietrich, MONUC’s Chief Military Spokesperson noted that there is always some population movement across Lake Tanganyika, on the Tanzania-DRC border, but this is no strong proof as this movement is “normal everyday life, both criminal (smuggling) and innocent.”
“In summary, yes there is movement across the lake, and some of the people moving will be FDLR or FDLR connected. But we have no evidence to support the theory that this is the FDLR as a whole re-locating out of DRC,” says Lt. Col Dietrich.