YET another UN-report on DR Congo’s situation last Wednesday highlighted an upsurge in violence. This comes despite the UN joining the Congolese army to fight the rebels.
The report also indicates that the FDLR (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda) have been able to use large international networks to bolster their supply of arms and recruit extra soldiers.
Putting blame on a number of countries for the continued rebel activities, the report blacklists several individual nations to charity organisations.
For many, news about FDLR has been a series of recycled stories by many who report about insecurity in Congo.
And indeed keen readers will find out that there is nothing completely new in this UN-report, except for the specifics of names of countries and individuals alleged to be complicit.
Unfortunately, the report again, deliberately doesn’t mention an existing fact: the joint Rwanda-Congo military operation that was successful early this year. This is the very reason why the FDLR are crushed.
Rwanda suppressed the FDLR supremacy one step further by sending troops to Congo on January 20th to begin joint operations with DR Congo’s government soldiers.
It is therefore unreasonable to portray the joint Rwanda-Congo military operation with the words, “failure.” This is not called for unless, the UN mission in Congo (MONUC) is trying to cover up its failures in order to redeem its image as its mandate ends.
The truth is, the joint forces simplified MONUC’s Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration, Repatriation, and Resettlement (DDRRR) programme, something that had been elusive for over a 10 year period.
Bruno Donat, the officer-in-charge of DDRRR section admitted weeks after the operation was launched that they had registered an unprecedented number of volunteers for demobilisation and repatriation to Rwanda from among the FDLR.
Stated were the figures for repatriation of FDLR combatants and dependents from DR Congo to Rwanda which stood at a little over 1,100 for the whole of 2008.
In contrast, during the first six weeks of 2009, MONUC repatriated over 1,000 after pressure had been was exerted by the joint forces. How then do you portray that operation as a failure?
In any case, what if the joint forces had not attacked? What could be the strength of the rebel outfit right now?
No sensible persons, including UN commanders, really think that a military operation in the Congo jungles would have been a walk over. It does not require military knowledge to know that uprooting rebels takes time and effort.
Many Rwandans will agree that the joint military operation went a long way in denting the capacity of the FDLR. And I believe the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and Congolese army (FARDC) are perfectly capable of defeating the FDLR if only they were allowed to.
Sadly, the report only focuses on the rebel’s support instead of focussing on possible solutions to end the eastern DR Congo unrest, once and for all.
Be reminded, that this is not the first UN report on the FDLR, it’s just another document that will remain shelved like many others.
However, it’s my hope that Rwanda’s government will react soberly to these accusations that are only there to strain the already growing diplomatic relations with DR Congo.