GOMA – The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Joseph Kabila has said that he has drawn up a plan to disarm Hutu militias in a bid to end the crisis in the eastern part of the country.
Kabila also said on Wednesday that he has given the go ahead to the army to prepare for the forced disarmament of General Laurent Nkunda’s fighters.
Gen. Nkunda says he is fighting to protect the Tutsi minority from the extremist Hutu rebels who he says side with the national army.
Most members of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) fled to DR Congo after perpetrating the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
Gen. Nkunda has previously accused the Congolese army of working with other local militia and the FDLR to attack him.
Kabila made his announcement about the Rwandan rebels’ disarmament in the eastern city of Goma where many people caught up in the violence have fled.
He dismissed claims that his army was working with the FDLR. “Our position has always been that the ex-Far, Interahamwe, FDLR - these people should go back to Rwanda and since 2001 up to date we have repatriated between 15,000 and 20,000 of these people,” Kabila told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.
Defence Minister Chikez Diemu told Reuters a plan for dealing with the FDLR had been presented to Rwanda several weeks ago and that Congo was awaiting a response.
However, Rwanda’s Foreign affairs minister Dr Charles Murigande said that, according to the UN Mission in Congo (Monuc), only a total of 11,000 civilians and fighters had been repatriated from DRC since 2001.
“Those figures are just made up. Those we have received are not that high because Monuc has repatriated a much lower figure than that,” Murigande said yesterday.
He also admitted Kinshasa wrote to Kigali through its Foreign ministry informing it about the disarmament plan, but that there was no need for a reply since the Congolese government had all the rights to disarm foreign militias on its territory.
“It’s true we received the letter, and it’s true we haven’t replied them. However not having answered is immaterial because FDLR are on their territory, and they can go ahead and to anything. That shouldn’t stop them from disarming those negative forces.
Our part will always be played by welcoming our people from DRC; we are always ready to receive them. We have always been unwavered in our commitment and determination to welcome them,” Murigande added.
Meanwhile, Murigande said that Rwanda wrote to DRC with regard to the recent gunshots on the former’s territory by FDLR.
He said the Kinshasa responded saying that the incident called for the two countries to reactivate the verification mechanism between them.
About a fortnight ago, the rebels fired shots on a village in Rubavu District, which borders DRC, but no person was injured.
Additional reporting by James Munyaneza in Kigali