KINSHASA - Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. James Kabarebe arrived in Kinshasa Thursday to meet his Congolese counterpart, to discuss how both parties can finally implement their joint plan to uproot negative forces in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As explained by Army Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara Friday, the current meeting is a follow up of last December’s joint Defence Ministers’ meeting in Rwanda’s border town of Gisenyi.
He explained that on arrival in the Congolese capital, Kabarebe and his delegation were received by the DRC army Chief of Staff, Gen. Didier Etumba, and thereafter, paid a courtesy call to President Joseph Kabila.
“Kabila expressed his determination and commitment by his government to resolve the ex-Far/Interahamwe problem,” Maj. Rutaremara told The New Times.
“He expressed satisfaction with the way both militaries are moving forward to resolve the problem,” Rutaremara added.
After the brief meeting with President Kabila, the top defence officials from both sides then met on Friday, focusing on one issue, “the way to operationalise their joint military plan.”
The plan was endorsed in a two-day bilateral meeting by the countries’ Foreign Affairs Ministers on December 5 last year in the DRC border town of Goma.
The current meeting was scheduled to conclude Friday, after which both army chiefs would present President Kabila with the results, Rutaremara explained.
“The calendar of activities is what is expected from this current meeting,” he said.
In Kinshasa, Gen. Kabarebe is accompanied by senior security officers, including his Security Advisor Brig Gen. Jérôme Ngendahimana and the Chief of Military Intelligence, (J2), Brig. Gen. Jack Musemakweli.
On December 29, last year, both countries’ defence ministers accompanied by their army chiefs and other senior security officials met in Gisenyi (Rwanda) to draw plans to eliminate negative forces from the vast central African country.
At the meeting held at Gisenyi’s Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Rwanda’s defence minister, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, told The New Times that the joint plan had already been seen and approved by the two countries’ Heads of State.
“They gave us instructions to also look at it and identify gaps and see how it could be implemented as soon as possible,” Gatsinzi had said.
The joint operational military strategy is expected to deal with ex-FAR/Interahamwe militia, now grouped under what is known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia, are remnants of those who spearheaded the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis that claimed the lives of over one million people.
They later fled to neighbouring DRC from where they continue to commit grave crimes - raping, looting, and killing innocent civilians.
Gen. Gatsinzi earlier underlined that more meetings would be held to “see how things are being implemented” and reiterated that the will to accomplish the task was there, at “the highest levels” so as to find a lasting solution to the conflict in eastern DRC.
His counterpart, Charles Mwando Nsimba, also accompanied by Gen. Etumba and others, including DRC Police Chief John Numbi had also stressed that establishing an environment for both countries’ reconstruction was “now” of paramount importance.
“This is a determination that we have. The countries must play a role in the pacification of the east,” he said.