Belgian MPs back Rwanda’s strong stand on FDLR militia

VISITING Belgian lawmakers have said that Rwanda should not hold talks with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia because the group is composed of elements responsible for the worst crimes against humanity.
The Belgian lawmakers with their Rwandan counterparts during the news briefing yesterday.  The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
The Belgian lawmakers with their Rwandan counterparts during the news briefing yesterday. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

VISITING Belgian lawmakers have said that Rwanda should not hold talks with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia because the group is composed of elements responsible for the worst crimes against humanity.

The lawmakers made the remarks during a news briefing at the end of their four-day visit to Rwanda during which they toured several parts of the country – including the Murambi Genocide Memorial – where they learnt first hand, how the genocidaires were offered a safe passage to the then Zaire (now DR Congo) by the French soldiers and how they later formed the FDLR in Congo. FDLR is largely composed of elements blamed for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi which killed a million people.

In May, this year, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete suggested that the Rwandan government negotiate with the FDLR, a statement that sparked outrage in Rwanda.

“My opinion will not change, the FDLR is a criminal group composed of people who have committed terrible crimes against humanity. These people should be taken to court and Rwanda should never negotiate with them,” said Francois Xavier de Donnea, the head of the delegation.

DRC’s role

After the Genocide, FDLR militia fled to eastern DR Congo where they have been accused of committing atrocities against Congolese nationals, especially in the eastern part of the country.

Donnea pointed out that the UN Intervention Brigade in eastern DRC, should not be selective as to which armed group it should target but all insurgents, including the FDLR. But he pointed out that the use of military force is not the most appropriate solution for DRC crisis.

He said that the DRC government has a very big role to play in pacifying their country, especially the east, which has remained a bedrock for armed conflict for almost two decades now.

“It’s only the DRC government that has to take a primary role in solving the crisis there.”

He gave a list of alternatives of how the Congo can deal with the crisis, saying that if the Kinshasa government wants lasting peace, they need to restore ancestral rights to its citizens and repatriate all refugees and settle them.

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