KIGALI - A top official in the United Nation’s Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – MONUC, has said that more FDLR returnees are expected back in the country this year.
Gregory Gromo Alex, the Director of MONUC’s Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reinstallation and Reintegration (DDRRR) programme revealed this while speaking to members of the local press at MONUC’s liaison offices in Kigali yesterday.
“A good number was repatriated last year, in 2009. Over 1,500 Rwandan combatants of the FDLR were handed over to the Rwandan demobilization commission,” the UN official noted.
He said that a similar number or even more could be repatriated this year.
The DDRRR chief said that the past year, compared to years before, had registered an increased returnee rate – almost three times higher, and believes 2010 is likely to see even more because of the continued changing dynamics.
“Joint operations in January to February put a crack in the (capacity of the) military command of FDLR to be able to hold on to their troops,” he explained.
According to him, another important element that fuels the expected increased defections is that the rebels are now “a known criminal organization.”
“The arrest in Germany of their two leaders had a pretty good impact on the way they operate. But there are a couple of other important elements, not just the German arrests,” he noted.
In November last year, German Federal Prosecutors arrested FDLR leader Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy, Straton Musoni, for heading what has been categorized as a terrorist group that has not only committed crimes in Rwanda, but also in the DRC.
Improved relations between Rwanda and the DRC and the two countries’ current resolve to jointly deal with their common threat is also a factor.