MPs call for military alert over DR Congo

KIGALI - Members of the Chamber of Deputies have expressed concern over the renewed tension in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  In the recent weeks, there has been fierce fighting between Congolese government forces and dissident General Nkunda’s troops. The MPs have called on the government here to be on the lookout to prevent the clashes from spilling over to the country.Most MPs interviewed are of the view that the conflict should be solved through diplomacy but cautioned the military to be on high alert to avert any possible attack from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels who are operating in the volatile eastern DRC. FDLR is allegedly backed by Congolese government.
MONUC FAILED: Makuba DEPLOYMENT FINAL OPTION: Ngirabakunzi
MONUC FAILED: Makuba DEPLOYMENT FINAL OPTION: Ngirabakunzi

KIGALI - Members of the Chamber of Deputies have expressed concern over the renewed tension in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  In the recent weeks, there has been fierce fighting between Congolese government forces and dissident General Nkunda’s troops. The MPs have called on the government here to be on the lookout to prevent the clashes from spilling over to the country.
Most MPs interviewed are of the view that the conflict should be solved through diplomacy but cautioned the military to be on high alert to avert any possible attack from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels who are operating in the volatile eastern DRC. FDLR is allegedly backed by Congolese government.

Deputy Aaron Makuba (PSD) said that it is not a surprise that the Congolese government is supporting FDLR rebels.

“It is not the first time DRC is providing direct support to the FDLR rebels.

The FDLR rebels are enemies of Rwanda, and despite the atrocities this group has committed, the UN has not done anything to eliminate it,” Makuba said.

He decried that the UN Mission in Congo (Monuc) has failed to disarm and repatriate the Rwandan rebels. FDLR is a militia group of Ex-Far and Interahamwe who are largely blamed for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.  However, MP Juvenile Nkusi (PSD) downplayed fears that FDLR can attack Rwanda.

“There is no way the FDLR can attack us; they don’t have the strength to do it,” Nkusi said, adding that the government’s primary obligation, however, is to protect nationals from any threat.

Deputy Francis Kaboneka (RPF) expressed frustration at DRC’s refusal to respect the agreement it signed committing itself to disarm the rebels.

Under a 2002 deal, Rwanda agreed to pullout her troops from DRC while Kinshasa was supposed to disarm the genocidal militias.

“The UN was supposed repatriate all the militias but unfortunately they have failed to fulfill their part of their bargain,” Kaboneka observed.

The lawmakers said that despite a 17,000-strong force and a multibillion dollar budget, Monuc has not undertaken any measure to address the primary responsibilities for which it was deployed in the Congo.

“Rwanda’s deployment in DRC would come as the last resort if the issues fail to be solved diplomatically,” Kaboneka said, who however said that Kigali should first stick to diplomatic solutions to the problem.

Deputy Elie Ngirabakunzi (PL) said that re-deploying in DRC would be the ultimate decision should other means bear no fruit.

 “Definitely, if diplomacy fails Rwanda should automatically go back to Congo. I personally have no problem with us going back there,” Ngirabakunzi said.

“However, I am of the view that Congolese should themselves try to address the matter themselves.”

Rwanda twice deployed in DRC – in 1996 and 1998 – in pursuit of FDLR, and says that on both occasions it pre-empted the rebel attacks and weakened the group.

President Paul Kagame said on Monday that his government was concerned with the renewed tension in DRC, which analysts say might facilitate the rebels’ reorganization with the aim of launching fresh attacks on Rwanda.

The rebels last month attacked a Ugandan village, and killed three people.

Last month, the Congolese government halted operations against FDLR, and days later it launched attacks against Nkunda’s troops, leaving thousands of civilians homeless. Monuc allegedly airlifted FDLR rebels along with Congolese government troops to fight Nkunda.

However, the clashes subsided last week after a shaky ceasefire brokered by the UN force. Kinshasa is accused of arming FDLR rebels and recruiting them into the government army.

Ends

 

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