UK's statement on FDLR militia welcome but we need real action

Editor, Refer to the article, "FDLR stands for genocide and must disarm now - UK" (The New Times, October 9). As any Rwandan who fervently wishes to see the current peace, security and stability in our country perpetuated and extended to the entire region, I welcome this unambiguous statement from the UK Government.
FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo where they have maintained bases since 1994. (Net)
FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo where they have maintained bases since 1994. (Net)

Editor,

Refer to the article, “FDLR stands for genocide and must disarm now – UK” (The New Times, October 9). As any Rwandan who fervently wishes to see the current peace, security and stability in our country perpetuated and extended to the entire region, I welcome this unambiguous statement from the UK Government.

It is obvious to anyone who has followed events over the last twenty years that the epicenter of the chronic insecurity in the Great Lakes region of Africa is the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and most especially the Kivus. And the root cause of that insecurity is the infestation of that sensitive area – so close to the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi – of armed rebel groups from those countries, in particular the FDLR (the current self-designation of the same malignant Interahame/ex-FAR génocidaires who spearheaded the killings during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi).

Their presence there, of course, and its continued dire fallout for the people of the sub-region, most especially of the Kivus, is the result of a very poisoned gift from the French Government, through their Operation Turquoise, aimed at facilitating the safe ex-filtration of the genocidal machinery, allow and help them, reorganise, resupply, retrain and return to “finish the job” the RPA (Rwanda Patriotic Army) victory had interrupted.

The UN and the so-called international community seemed to have recognised that fact when, at the request of regional states, they created and deployed forces initially under Monuc (later renamed Monusco) to come and finally resolve the FDLR problem, by military means if necessary, and thus create the basis for durable peace and security in the sub-region.

The trouble was that we then witnessed a classical example of mission bait-and-switch once the UN forces were on the ground. Resolving once and for all the problem of the presence of these foreign armed groups terrorising the people of the Kivu no longer seemed to be the primary goal.

We were told instead that the UN forces were there to protect the civilian population and humanitarian workers; in other words not to definitely resolve the root cause of the insecurity, but rather to manage its consequences – putting it another way, not to cure the disease but to provide palliative care for the sick.

They have not done a good job of any of that, and they seem content with working only at perpetuating their presence in our region. For what purpose? Nobody seems to know, or at least seem to deem it necessary to let us in on the secret.

And so, while welcoming the UK Government’s clear statement on the need to dismantle the FDLR once and for all, we will believe that this truly marks a departure from the do-nothing policy hitherto followed by world powers and their UN tool once we see concrete action to eliminate the FDLR, including through military means.

The record on this front is so far not very encouraging.

Mwene Kalinda

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