I WOULD like to react to the article, “When will Monusco move against FDLR?” (Sunday Times, February 16, 2014).
Contrary to what you say, the FDLR were almost completely eradicated from the territories they control in eastern DRC in the joint RDF-FARDC Operation Umoja Wetu launched in January 2009.
The FDLR were evacuating whole swathes of territory and many of their fighters were surrendering in their thousands and being repatriated home to Rwanda.
However, as soon as it looked as if the FDLR problem was about to be solved once and for all, MONUC (now MONUSCO) and their other UN and NGO allies (both international and their local sidekicks) realising their most important raison d’etre was about to disappear, went into overdrive to denounce what they claimed were civilian displacements resulting from the anti-FDLR operation and demanding its immediate stop.
Interestingly those very same actors were resoundingly silent as the FIB-led operations against M23 resulted not only in massive civilian displacement in M23-controlled areas, but also heavy fatalities from aerial and artillery bombardment from UN or UN-supported forces (i.e. FIB/mixed FARDC-FDLR-Mayi Mayi forces).
But concerns about potential civilian casualties are once again being waved around, not the least by the likes of Martin Kobler, the UN viceroy in the DRC, to provide themselves with an alibi to explain their determination not to go after the FDLR - the very reason MONUC was deployed in the first place more than a decade ago.
In brief, no one should expect MONUSCO-FIB to seriously tackle the FDLR – the latter’s continued existence in Eastern DRC justifies the former’s own continued existence, its US$1.5 billion annual budget and the large-scale aid industry that goes with this entire scam.
Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda