A Congolese political leader has said that militias of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDRL) are levying taxes on Congolese citizens in eastern DRC.
“We are deeply concerned with the current situation….these militias are now imposing taxes on us and they are the ones responsible to give us travel documents whenever we want to travel out of our own region,” Paulin Shetebo Kabulila, who hails from Walikale region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said.
Kabulila said that FDLR controls 75 percent of Walikale’s 23, 000 square kilometer area. Kabulila, who is the Provisional Coordinator of Christian Democrats Convention (CDC) party in North Kivu, was speaking during an exclusive interview on Saturday.
“We cannot sit back while these militias control our country; they are pillaging our property and raping our wives and daughters.
The government that we voted into power also seems to have failed us because I think there is lack of political will to rescue us from this plight,” Kabulila said.
He said that the truth and reconciliation commission that was established by the DRC government to settle the disgruntlement between the indignant Congolese tribes but it never yielded.
“We even petitioned MONUC (the UN mission in DRC) but it seems they are not doing enough to rout these people out of our country,” Kabulila, who was in the country to attend a community symposium that was organised by the Rwanda Centre for Strategic Studies, said.
In a recent meeting that brought together army chiefs from DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, Congolese army promised to renew their commitment to use military force to flush the FDRL rebels out of their territory.
Earlier, such offensives were carried out but suddenly stopped citing humanitarian reasons.
“We are not being pessimistic but we don’t think these offensives will yield anything because of the disorganisation within our (national) army; actually we are informed that there are FDLR generals within the government army,” Kabulila claimed.
The operations against FDLR are supposed to begin again towards the end of this month, according to a new timetable drawn by the defense chiefs from the four Great Lakes Region countries.
The offensives by the DRC military are part of the four scenarios adopted in April by regional military chiefs during their meeting that took place in Bujumbura, Burundi. Other scenarios that are yet to be considered include a single country entering into DR Congo, with the consent of Kinshasa in pursuit of rebels holed up there.
The third option is a joint military action between member countries, while the fourth is using a broader platform like the African Union (AU) to stamp the insurgents out of Congo.
Members of the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission – a platform bringing together the four countries – had blacklisted the FDRL, which is composed of militias responsible for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide in which left over one million people were killed.
Eastern DRC is home to many negative forces fighting Kinshasa and other neighboring states. Ends