URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The Envoy to the United Nations Secretary General, Olusegun Obasanjo has hailed the progress of the Rwanda- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joint offensive against FDLR rebels in the Eastern part of DRC.
Obasanjo who is currently facilitating Nairobi Peace talks between the Government of DRC and the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) rebels was in the country to present a progress report on the talks to President Paul Kagame yesterday.
Speaking to journalists shortly after a brief call on President Kagame at Urugwiro Village Wednesday evening, Obasanjo said that Nairobi talks have continued and have reached a satisfactory level, despite the successes scored by the joint operation.
The former Nigerian Head of State said that the peace process will still go on to ensure that CNDP rebels are not only fully integrated into the National army but also ensure that they are fully involved in the day to day political running of the country.
He however commended the two Presidents for having reached a vital stand of jointly working to flush out the rebel elements of FDLR made up of ex-FAR/Interahamwe militias who are a major concern to the peace process.
Obasanjo, who had earlier called on President Joseph Kabila of DRC to deliver the progress report, expressed optimism that the joint offensive otherwise known as Operation Umoja Wetu would yield positive results by the time it ends.
Meanwhile the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed hope that the mandate of the Joint Task Force will be extended by the two countries to completely wipe out the FDLR once and for all.
She however added that the issue remains a subject of the two leaders and such an arrangement, if reached, should be only within the month of February.
Museminali said that apart from the operation, a lot of work was still going on including the peace process which Obasanjo is overseeing and the full integration of CNDP forces which will require sometime.
Since the operation began, there has been an integration process of various DRC rebel groups including the CNDP, into the Congolese national army.
Speculation has been rife on whether the mandate of the operation which began on the January 20 would be extended further to enable the joint forces to complete the offensive which has so far registered considerable successes.
Since the operation began in mid January, 214 combatants and 2557 non combatants have surrendered to the Joint Task Force and have successfully been repatriated, while 89 FDLR insurgents have been killed.