200 ex-FDLR combatants repatriated since January- official

Some 209ex-FDLR militia combatants, including 71 who will be discharged today, have been repatriated since January, Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) has said.
Ex-combatants at Mutobo Transit Centre in Musanze District. (File)
Ex-combatants at Mutobo Transit Centre in Musanze District. (File)

Some 209ex-FDLR militia combatants, including 71 who will be discharged today, have been repatriated since January, Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) has said.

Figures from RDRC also indicate that last year alone, 154 ex-FDLR militia were repatriated while another 146 returned in 2015.

Kigali and regional leaders last week urged the international community to speed up the repatriation to Rwanda of the ex-militia combatants currently in transit camps in DR Congo regions of Kanyabayonga, Walungu and Kisangani.

The DR Congo-based FDLR comprises remnants of the militia largely blamed for carrying out of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“The international community should take the responsibility to repatriate urgently all ex-combatants and their dependents who are being kept in different transit centres in Kisangani, Kanyabayonga and others,” RDRC chairperson Seraphine Mukantabana told The New Times.

“By all means they should end the FDLR menace and that of other armed groups to enable the implementation of all decisions and recommendations of ICGLR, specifically the most recent ones adopted in Brazzaville [Republic of Congo],” she said.

Mukantabana’s comments come after the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Brazzaville last week to review the political and security situation in the region.

For the past two decades, FDLR have operated in eastern DR Congo despite attempts to expunge them militarily. In early 2014, Kigali estimated FDLR strength at 3,640 with infantry integral weapons.

Last week’s ICGLR meeting was convened by outgoing chairperson President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola.

The meeting urged the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), African Union, ICGLR and Southern African Development Community to act.

Security situation

In a statement, ICGLR said the summit recalled the decisions of the last ordinary summit in Luanda, Angola, in June 2016, to review the political and security situation in the region and took note of the progress made in the implementation of the pact over the last one year.

On DR Congo, among others, the summit recommended that operations conducted by the Congolese army against negative forces with the support of MONUSCO be maintained and strengthened with a view to neutralising all armed groups, especially FDLR and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF),  a Ugandan rebel group.

Considered a terrorist organisation by the Ugandan government, the ADF which was originally based in western Uganda, expanded into the neighbouring DR Congo.

Non-aggression

The summit directed all ICGLR members states to enhance cooperation and information sharing on activities of terrorist groups in order to neutralise their threat to the region, and directed that all member states expedite domestication and implementation of the protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence.

The protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence is part of the Pact on security, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region.

It aims at preventing and resolving internal and armed conflicts between member states, and resolving any kind of disputes by peaceful means.

 

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