The rebel Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) may soon face the wrath of the international community after the DR Congo government gave them a last chance to lay down their arms and be repatriated.
The warning was given by DRC Interior Minister Denis Kalume during a meeting in Kisangani with Alan Doss, the head of MONUC and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
If the move by DRC is implemented it would be the first practical one since the signing of the Nairobi Pact in November last year.
The mobilisation of the means and necessary strategies towards the voluntary programme of Disarmament, Repatriation and Reintegration of the Rwandan combatants continues. This is the last chance that this process offers” He said.
On his part, Doss said that in the next few days, a multi disciplinary team of MONUC and UN agencies will bring their support to all the actions for the rapid implementation of the resolutions of the Nairobi Pact.
The Nairobi Pact/communiqué was signed on 9 November last year in Kenya by the governments of the Rwanda and DRC, and it (the communiqué) set a time table for the disarming of the rebel group.
It is not the first time DRC is setting a deadline for the FDLR, early this year; Kabila’s government had set March 15, 2008 as the ultimatum for FDLR.
However the deadline expired without guns being handed in, because Kinshasa lacks the capacity and will to resolve the problem, analysts said.
Doss later addressed a conference on the implementation of the engagements of the joint Nairobi communiqué. He declared that the UN forces are deployed to facilitate the reception and the transfer of all the combatants who are ready to go. “…we cannot accept that armed groups make the law.”
He however hailed the courage of some rebels who are ready for disarmament and repatriation. His compliments came a day after a 300-man faction of the FDLR - Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD) - Urunana agreed to lay down their arms and be repatriated.
The rebels, whose several members are accused of having been deeply involved in the Tutsi Genocide, fled to DRC and have since caused insecurity in the region.
Doss also called on leaders of the FDLR to take up their responsibilities: “You have the engagement of the Congolese government and the attention of the international community. It is an opportunity not to miss.”
The UN and DRC have been blamed of lack of courage in disarming the rebels in the chronically unstable DRC.
A UN Security Council resolution of 13 March, called on the combatants to disarm without further delay and without prior conditions demanded of the Congolese authorities and MONUC.
The resolutions also noted that the UN would provide the necessary support to the DRC to achieve FDLR disarmament, but all have failed nothing has been done up to date, analysts say.
The president of the Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC), Jean Sayinzoga, Wednesday said that the country has the capacity of receiving the rebels however many they can be.
The commission head also added that those who were armed and repatriated are first taken to solidarity camps (Ingando) are facilitated to meet their relatives.
“We give everybody Frw 50,000 before leaving the solidarity camp; the amount is for transport, shopping and starting a new life, however, we do give them extra money after five months for those who are starting up businesses or projects or those who are joining vocational centres,” said Sayinzoga. A clear indication of RDRC’s work is the big number of demobilized and reintegrated former rebels.
Recently, one critically sick senior officer of FDLR returned and was hospitalized. The Government is footing the hospitals bills and his upkeep.
Col. Faustin Sebuhura alias Minani Marius, who arrived from DR Congo through Rubavu border post aboard a UN ambulance, was not the only hardliner rebel the commission has received in similar conditions.
Similar FDLR’s senior commanders and their juniors who are either reintegrated or resettled in their home villages.