Apart from masterminding and carrying out Rwanda’s 100 day genocide, the FDLR militias have been at the centre of the two wars in the Congo and remain a major obstacle to a lasting peace not only in DR Congo but within the entire Great Lakes region as a whole.
As long as the FDLR is present in the east, Nkunda and his forces has sufficient reasons to offer credible complaints to be involved in the turbulent Congolese politics.
To oppose this situation are Katangan radicals in Kinshasa allied to President Kabila who are keen to preserve the FDLR as a possible mercenary force.
The FDLR was formed in 2000 from two branches of the Rwandan Liberation Army (Armée de Libération du Rwanda, AliR), one which fought a guerrilla war against Rwanda’s army and the ANC in the east, and another which was integrated into Laurent Kabila’s army and used in the frontline of the second Congolese war.
It set up a political representation in Europe led by Dr Ignace Murwanashyaka. Succumbing to international pressure, Kabila declared the FDLR unwelcome in the Congo in 2002. Things changed dramatically as Nkunda’s tactical advances drove Kabila to embrace FDLR into its forces.
FDLR overall strategy is to destabilise the region in hopes of provoking another war between Rwanda and the Congo.
Joseph Kabila like his father Laurent after failing to contain the Nkunda threats has employed the maxim ‘an enemy of my enemy is my friend’ by employing the FDLR as a mercenary force in the Kivu contest. This is bound to backfire just as it did with his father during the second Congolese wars. Thus history is bound to repeat itself.
Nevertheless, the FDLR has been severely weakened. It believes that by rekindling hostilities between Kigali and Kinshasa, it can regain a sponsor that will enable it to continue its insurgency so that they can advance to Kigali to ‘finish off their work’, which is to complete the genocidal mania they had unleashed in 1994.