SENIOR officials of the Congolese army (FARDC) are in the DRC’s volatile eastern region to assess the situation and come up with fresh strategies to battle against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia.
This was revealed by Maj. Vianney Kazalama, the Congolese army (FARDC) spokesperson in DRC’s North Kivu Province.
“The chief of the army (FARDC Chief of Staff, Lt. General Didier Etumba), is currently in Walikale together with other senior army officers, to plan how to wipe out these rebels,” he said.
The revelation comes shortly after Congolese President, Joseph Kabila, also toured the region and suspended mining activities in an attempt to clean up the sector and weed out rebel groups who are using the region’s mineral wealth to fuel conflict.
The FDLR comprises remnants of masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. They fled the country in 1994 after masterminding the killing of over one million people. For the past 16 years, the rebels have been entrenched in the DRC’s vast eastern region where they have continued to cause a humanitarian catastrophe – killing, raping and plundering.
In a series of attacks in July and August, the FDLR, in conjunction with their Congolese Mai-Mai militia allies, gang-raped 500 women and some children in Walikale.
“Ever since the last attacks and the rapes, there have been no more serious incidents,” said Maj. Kazalama.
The Congolese army is reportedly increasing its deployments there in what seems to be another bid to purge the FDLR.
Following the recent Walikale atrocities, a top UN official – Atul Khare, the United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping, admitted that UN peacekeepers had failed the rape victims. Khare then also recommended that the UN Security Council imposes targeted sanctions against the FDLR.