FDLR begin to surrender in face of joint Rwanda-DRC offensive

Elements of the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe have started feeling the heat of the on-going Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joint military operation to disarm and repatriate them and have started to surrender.
DRC Defence Minister Charles Mwando Simba shaking hands with Gen Marcel Gatsinzi during their meeting at the Rwanda-DRC border in Gisenyi. (File Photo).
DRC Defence Minister Charles Mwando Simba shaking hands with Gen Marcel Gatsinzi during their meeting at the Rwanda-DRC border in Gisenyi. (File Photo).

Elements of the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe have started feeling the heat of the on-going Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joint military operation to disarm and repatriate them and have started to surrender.

The joint operation launched early this week was agreed upon by Rwanda and the DRC to rout out elements grouped under the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Congolese army (FARDC) spokesman in the eastern part of the country, Capt. Olivier Hamuli, confirmed that some rebels had so far surrendered.

“Yes, we have them and we will certainly show them off for everyone to see tomorrow (Friday) morning,” Capt. Hamuli, told The New Times last evening over the phone.

FDLR, remnants of those responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, have largely been operating from the eastern part of the DR Congo from where they have continued to commit atrocities against the local population. 

According to Hamuli, a joint DRC-Rwanda military operation hatched and endorsed last year was operationalised by FARDC troops and intelligence units of the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) early this week.

This partnership has recently expanded, with of other rebel groups  – the National Congress for the Defence of People (CNDP) and PARECO, the Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Resistance joining the operation.

This too, was confirmed in a press release by the FARDC’s eastern military command based in the border town of Goma.

“The government of DRC salutes this excellent gesture and courage by various compatriots,” the statement says about the CNDP and PARECO groups, “of whose integration into the FARDC, no longer has any shade of doubt.”

“A strong message is therefore extended to all ex-FAR/FDLR and Interahamwe as well as all other armed groups to seize this opportunity to lay down arms and adhere to the on-going processes so that we can, together, consolidate peace and security for our respective populations,” the statement concludes.

Rwanda has sent an intelligence unit into the Congo which is working with the Congolese authorities to remove the menace of the FDLR.

The offensive against the FDLR follows a series of meetings between Rwanda and DRC officials into which Rwanda had emphasized the threat posed by FDLR was not only against Rwanda but Congo as well.

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