Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have agreed to conduct a joint operation against the notorious Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.
FDLR has not only lived to terrorise, maim and kill the people of the two nations, but also paralysed the whole Great Lakes Region with the culture of impunity.
The decision taken by the two countries has been long over due. However it’s better late than never. FDLR has for long enjoyed staying in the DRC for a number of reasons.
Some of them include the fact that the government of DRC was reluctant to stop the FDLR activities, a group that thinks they are indispensable despite their criminal record in the region.
This also gave them a chance to forcefully recruit, arm and generally strengthen themselves on the ground. They never used the safe haven to reconcile with people in Rwanda but exported their evil ways to DRC.
In DRC, peasants were raped and some were trained to torture their victims before killing them. This is what the Interahamwe/FDLR have been doing in the DRC.
The vastness of the Congo has also favoured their operations. Like the Kony rebels from Uganda, they plant crops and even keep cows to sustain their living, just like other local people in the area.
However, the FDLR is far stronger than the Kony rebels, due to a number of reasons, some of which have been explained above.
They (FDLR) therefore need a much stronger and heavier ‘stick’ to destroy them. The recent operation carried out by Uganda, DRC and Sudan forces against Kony was a success as it completely disorganised the rebels and it is a matter of time before they start picking them one by one.
Similarly, FDLR cannot survive the DRC-Rwanda joint operation. The group will history after this operation. And if there is anybody contemplating its necessity, let him or her visit the moral justification of the operation/war against FDLR?
I take the concern because any war or military operation involves loss of lives. This is why moralists go against the idea. There are sceptics who do not believe that morality can or should exist in war.
Various positions have been advanced against the need or the possibility of morality in war. Moralists are beaten flat by record; all diplomacy has failed to convince Interahamwe/FDLR to stop evil and we should bear in mind that criminals are not persuaded but rehabilitated using properly designed tools.
For any war or operation to be conducted, certain things must be weighed to justify it. War against FDLR is by all means justified because it is a just cause. Possessing a just cause is a sufficient condition for pursuing whatever means necessary to gain a victory or to punish an enemy/criminal.
After all the principles of the justice of war are commonly held to be: having just cause, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used. The joint operation is timely.
What do the two countries stand to benefit? The DRC needs to have peace to pave the way for development. There can never be development when the whole country is chaotic.
Remember that DRC has plenty of resources that many developed nations do not have. Stopping militias from using DRC soil and more importantly the FDLR will pave the way for the Congo to develop itself.
The ordinary people will definitely be supportive since they stand to gain a lot, after a long time of suffering in an environment where numerous militias roam their villages and towns. These are therefore, great motivating factors to push the FDLR out of DRC.
Rwanda too, is motivated by some important standing issues; ending the presence of genocide forces at its border and possibly bringing some genocide suspects to justice.
The presence of FDLR/Interahamwe has never been healthy for Rwandans, neighbouring DRC, since they threaten to kill them anytime they get chance.
They equally pose a security threat to the country in general, hence explaining Rwanda’s concern. It is further disheartening to see elements that killed Rwandans yesterday, in the neighbourhood.
The operation is expected to unearth some great criminals in the ranks of FDLR, to face justice. If FDLR is forced in disarray just like Kony rebels, many perpetrators of the genocide will be captured and brought before justice.
In fact, many genocide fugitives including the ‘trickiest’ Felician Kabuga could be in the jungles of DRC with the FDLR protection.
In short, the international community should congratulate DRC and Rwanda in advance, for the new initiative to carry out a joint operation that will drive away FDLR/Interahamwe from the region.
The UN through MoNUC should give total support to these two countries, for they are going to do what they failed (due to obvious reasons) with all the resources at their disposal.