The issue of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia was top on the agenda when senior defence and military officials from Rwanda and DR Congo met in Kigali this week.
This must be about the umpteenth time that FDLR has come in the cross hairs of both countries, but for one reason or another, it continues to live on to the detriment of the population of eastern DRC.
The FDLR has been a contentious issue as far as relations between the two countries go. It has found a safe haven – and a breath of fresh air – in eastern DR Congo for more than two decades now. But the most mindboggling of all is that despite countless resolutions by the UN Security Council to eliminate the FDLR menace once and for all, the 20,000-strong peace keeping force has failed to move into action.
The one time when the FDLR was dealt a bitter blow was during a joint operation between Rwanda and DR Congo, codenamed Umoja wetu (Our unity). The short while it lasted did more to dismantle the FDLR and reduce its operational capacity than the nearly two decades of UN presence in the Congo.
It was an indication that when both countries work in tandem, security threats in our region could be handled effortlessly.
The resurrection of talks between the two countries has been described as a “new spirit of cooperation”, exactly what is needed to deal FDLR the death blow. Maybe, Umoja wetu could get a new lease of life with both countries working towards a common goal; lasting peace for our region.