FDLR disarmament: US position welcome but...

Editor, Refer to the story, "US push for military action against FDLR" (The New Times, December 31). At least Senator Russ Fiengold's statement regarding the US position that this genocidal band of killers, the FDLR, must be dismantled no later than the ultimatum date - January 2, 2015 - couldn't be clearer.
Members of the FDLR militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo jungles. (Internet photo)
Members of the FDLR militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo jungles. (Internet photo)

Editor,

Refer to the story, “US push for military action against FDLR” (The New Times, December 31).

At least Senator Russ Fiengold's statement regarding the US position that this genocidal band of killers, the FDLR, must be dismantled no later than the ultimatum date—January 2, 2015—couldn't be clearer.

Alas, neither the FARDC (of which many FDLR are integral members) nor Monusco (for whom the continued existence of the FDLR is the gift that perpetuates its own useless preservation) will or can do it. And recurrent statements from the highest levels in Dar es Salaam and Pretoria show that the governments of these two key troop contributors to the UN's Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) support these génocidaires and are the least likely to want to militarily neutralise the group.

In fact, the presence of such a pro-FDLR force as the combined Tanzanian-South African expeditionary troops may be the reason for the FDLR dragging its feet in the reasonable belief there won't be any military campaign with their Tanzanian and South African friends the forces supposed to carry it out.

There may even be a make-believe attack to hoodwink the world and prevent the withdrawal of the FIB's UN Chapter 7 mandate. But don't count on any serious campaign aimed at actually effectively neutralising the FDLR. Not from the Tanzanians. Not from the South Africans. And neither Monusco nor FARDC.

And so we are back to square one—a crystal-clear statement of the US position on the imperative need to completely eradicate the FDLR from January 3, 2015. But with forces on the ground that are from countries whose governments are friends with these génoci daires or forces from Monusco and the FARDC that are unable to do the job, we can already draw a pessimistic conclusion vis-à-vis stated intentions, motivation and means.

But let's wait for January 3 (the day after the disarmament ultimatum) to draw definitive conclusions about these latest restatements about the commitment to eradicate this group which is the primary source of the instability in our sub-region.

Mwene Kalinda

ADVERTISEMENT