Three months after the Congolese army and the Rwanda Defense Forces concluded their operation against the FDLR and other negative elements operating in eastern Congo, in an operation code named “Umoja Wetu”, which was largely described as a successful operation, reports that the FDLR have reorganized themselves and are now attacking and killing Congolese citizens.
Recently, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugee in the DRC told the journalists that the FDLR have intensified their attacks on the people of Congo by killing, burning and destroying their property and, as a consequence of these forays, over 100,000 people have been displaced.
The FDLR are reported to be operating in areas of Masisi, Warikare, Rubero and Rutshuru. Their presence, in these areas, has created a situation of chaos since they ran away from Rwanda in 1994.
The Congolese forces and MONUC are also reported to be engaging the FDLR but as it seems, so far, they aren’t able to protect civilians from these rebels.
Analysts have concluded that the emergence of most of the rebel groups fighting against the Kinshasa government is as a direct result of the existence of the FDLR in the east of the DRC.
Notably, amongst these, was the emergence of the CNDP and its leader, Laurent Nkunda. He justified his militia’s existence as a counterweight to the Rwandan rebels, who attempted to continue the Tutsi pogroms in the Congo.
Gen. Nkunda, who is currently in custody in Rwanda, made it clear that he would stop fighting only if the Interehamwe-FDLR have been removed from the Congolese soil.
Now that the Nkunda’s forces have been integrated into the national army, whose capacity to fight and defeat the FDLR is questioned, not only by the people of Congo but also by the international community; one wonders where the Congolese shall derive from their security.
Following the complete withdrawl of the RDF after Operation Umoja Wetu, many analysts said that it was an unwise decision for the Congolese government to allow all the Rwandan forces to return home.
They should have allowed at least one battalion to stay and continue the hunt for the FDLR remnants that had scattered in the vast forests of the DRC.
However, it is not too late to reverse that decision and I think the Rwandan government shouldn’t hesitate to send its troops back to eliminate and totally clean up all the elements that have remained a security threat.
The Kinshasa government should think about this option, and the earlier they do the better. Otherwise her citizens will continue to suffer at the hands of these brutal individuals whose hands are tainted by all the blood of innocents they’ve spilt since 1994.
Should the Congolese army continue pretending that it, or the MONUC forces, can do something about the FDLR? It is unfathomable that the 17,000 MONUC forces, which are the largest UN force operating anywhere in the world, has failed to totally uproot the negative forces such and protect Congolese civilians.
Should Africa stop relying on the UN and send in African Union forces? The world must stand up and help Congo get rid of these unsavory forces that has continued to inflict harm and suffering on her people.