DRC handled with soft gloves despite …

A growing body of evidence indicates that the Congolese army has made a pact with the devil, collaborating with the FDLR against Nkunda. The Congolese army’s alliance with the FDLR and UN peacekeepers’ reluctance to remove the FDLR from Congo creates a security vacuum in the East, where the Congolese are routinely subjected to human rights abuses.

A growing body of evidence indicates that the Congolese army has made a pact with the devil, collaborating with the FDLR against Nkunda. The Congolese army’s alliance with the FDLR and UN peacekeepers’ reluctance to remove the FDLR from Congo creates a security vacuum in the East, where the Congolese are routinely subjected to human rights abuses.

The fighting between Nkunda and government has strengthened FDLR. There is information that following the resumption of war between FARDC and CNDP forces, the former and the FDLR have been conducting joint operations as indicated below.

There is information that the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe (FDLR) has five full Battalions fighting alongside FARDC: Reserve Brigade, 4th and 3rd Battalions under 1st Division FDLR in North KIVU. Tens of Ex-FAR/Interahamwe (FDLR) POWS have been captured including 01 Ex-FAR/Interahamwe (FDLR) Corporal from the FDLR Reserve Brigade captured at Ngungu on 1st September, 2007.

Reliable sources indicate that two Bns from FDLR reserve Brigade H/Qs are jointly operating with FARDC 14 Brigade and Charlie Bdes against CNDP. The 2 Bn (Montana) of 1 Div reportedly reinforced PARECO against CNDP in NYABYONDO, Masisi area while 3 Bn (SABENA) is deployed in rears of FARDC 2 and 6 Bdes in the general area of Kanyabayonga, Lubero and Lusamambo. FDLR’s 1 Bn under 2 Div is co-located with FARDC 3, 8, and 109 Bdes in the areas of Kamanyola-Bukavu, Kamanyola-Sange and Sange-Uvira.

In a related development, on 20/10/2007, a joint force of 02 BNS from FARDC 2 and 6 Bdes supported by FDLR 4 BN (BAHAMA) attacked CNDP BRAVO Bde at BUNAGANA from Busanza, commanded by Col. MUSHINDI of 6 Bde and deputized by Maj. NSENGIYUMVA Innocent (Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR who was in actual command, just as has been the case in all the operations conducted jointly by FARDC and FDLR. Maj. Innocent NSENGIYUMVA and WO II Edward SESONGA alias Albert AHIMANA all of Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR 4 Bn were taken POWs.

The capture of an Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR senior officer is a clear indication of the combined operations between the FARDC and Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR. All those captured testify how the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR is operating jointly with FARDC.

On 18th December, 2007, CNDP forces under the command of Col. Boduin NGARUYE fought with a combined force of FARDC and FDLR at Katale, South Masisi Sector. As has been the trend, the 84 Bde under Col. Yav NAVEJI went into disarray, except for the elements of the FDLR Reserve Brigade operating alongside FARDC.

In a briefing to FARDC Bde Commanders at Goma recently, Col. Delphin KAHIMBI in reference to the Nairobi Accord to fight the FDLR, he explained to them that their enemy is Gen. Nkunda, not FDLR who are their allies stressing that they were going to fight Nkunda.

As indicated, war between the CNDP and the FARDC is benefiting the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR, since they are rearmed by Kinshasa, to in turn support them against the CNDP. It is advantageous to the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR since they access some of the logistical supplies from joint operations with FARDC.

FARDC 8th, 9th and 10th military regions have been main suppliers of weapons and ammunitions to FDLR/FOCA in eastern DRC.

Reliable information from FARDC officers indicate that on 14th and 15th November, 2007, the Deputy Commander of FARDC 8th Military Region, Col. Delphin KAYIMBI delivered to the FDLR 1st Division Commander, Col. Pacifique NTAWUNGUKA alias Nzeri Israel Omega with 09 pieces of RPO-A Shmel rocket infantry flame-thrower; a rocket propelled incendiary blast projectile launcher. Military experts have revealed that this is a dangerous weapon to land in the hands of a genocidal force like FDLR that has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization.

Despite all the military losses by FARDC, President Kabila is still reluctant to negotiate with Nkunda and is preoccupied with the urge to militarily finish him off; the reason he would even use the evil likes of the FDLR to try and achieve his objective. It is clear that the alibi of a humanitarian crisis stated by the DRC government to halt the operations against the FDLR is not true, because the operations against Nkunda also cause the displacement of civilians, but the government is not concerned and is still resolute to carry on!

Contrary to what logic would have, DRC’s concern is Nkunda and FDLR is only her second priority as expressed by the Minister of Defense in his brief on the security situation in eastern DRC to the Senate in Kinshasa on 28 June 2007.

For that purpose, the DRC government would address the issue of Nkunda before that of the FDLR and even use this same negative force to disarm him as they are trying now, although without any success so far. It is unclear how the DRC, as a sovereign country, is more concerned with their fellow national, Nkunda, rather than being more concerned about the presence of a foreign force, the FDLR that has been ravaging villages in the East and at the center of a conflict with Rwanda in the last 13 years.

However, assuming the problem of Nkunda is resolved; there is no guarantee that the FARDC will resume military operations against the FDLR as agreed in the Nairobi agreement. Whereas the DRC government has no military capability (this coupled with the lack of good will) to disarm the FDLR, it has been reluctant to accept the application of alternative scenarios (separate planned operations, combined phased operations and appeal to international community).

To compensate for the national army’s weakness, Kabila has been trying to co-opt the UN Mission (MONUC) into his operations, a move the UN should continue to resist lest it be caught in the crossfire between Nkunda and the FDLR,’ a report by the ICG N°133 of 31 October, 2007 states.

The ICG warns that security and humanitarian crisis in the DRC’s North Kivu region could escalate and destabilize central Africa if the root causes of the conflict are not dealt with. Like MONUC, the international community has failed to condemn FARDC’S continued collaboration with FDLR in their joint operations against the CNDP.

The logistical support offered by MONUC to FARDC (which has ended up helping FDLR) is not helpful and contradicts the efforts of the international community to convince President Kabila to opt for a political solution in the ongoing conflict. There is need for concerted and coordinated efforts by the international community if Kinshasa is eventually to go for a political solution.
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