KIGALI - The United States Government has vowed to continue pressurising the International Community to join hands and help uproot insurgents of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Addressing journalists shortly after meeting top government officials in Kigali, Dr. Howard Wolpe, the US Government Representative to the Great Lakes Region, said that it is time the world noticed and condemned the atrocities committed by the FDLR.
The outfit, whose members have been roaming the DRC jungles for the last 15 years, is mainly made up Ex-FAR Interahamwe militias responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We think it is every important to deal with FDLR leaders operating from either Europe or the United States. The Europeans have already established the mechanisms to coordinate these efforts effectively and they have invited the US to participate in this effort and we will do so,” Wolpe said.
He noted that the US will continue to work with Rwanda to encourage more voluntary repatriations and re-integration of FDLR elements back into the society.
He however said that it is important military pressure is maintained on FDLR for the time being despite concerns regarding recent operations affecting civilians.
Recent reports indicate that some sections of DRC forces currently conducting Operation Kimia II alongside MONUC, attacked, ransacked and raped civilians in Congolese villages of North Kivu Province, an act strongly condemned by the international community.
“We think it is very important to maintain a military-strong strategy to intensify our efforts on the elements. Clearly it should be continued military pressure on the FDLR.”
“There have been serious concerns recently about the impact on the civilians by some of these operations, but we can workout some of these concerns and continue mounting military pressure, but minimise the impact on the civilians,” said Wolpe, who is expected to wind up his visit in Kinshasa.
Prior to visiting Rwanda, he was in Burundi and will visit Tanzania, Uganda and finally the DRC.
Wolpe held discussions with Dr. Richard Sezibera, former Presidential Envoy to the Great Lakes Region and currently Health Minister, and Education Minister Dr. Charles Murigande.
Others who attended the meeting were Defence Minister Marcel Gatsinzi, officials from Foreign affairs ministry as well as the US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington.
The talks centred on how efforts can be intensified to fully restore regional stability and how the US can continue to partner with countries in the Great Lakes region to foster socio-economic development.
“Rwanda values the US as a partner in many areas of our reconstruction and rehabilitation from education to agriculture, to health and to the military,” said Minister Sezibera.