Weeks after Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched a joint operation against the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels; another prominent member of the group has been captured. Contrary to his earlier claims that he had surrendered.
The home-coming of Lt. Col. Michel Habimana, alias Edmond Ngarambe, the spokesman for the rebel outfit on Wednesday, hands Operation ‘Umoja Wetu’ another big win. This vindicates those who for a long time have preached that peace is possible in the war ravaged eastern DR Congo.
The Colonel had vowed never to return to Rwanda, until there was no Tutsi population left in the country, this position could have been his organisation’s Achilles Heel.
Returning before his dream came true is a clear indication that the disinformation and half baked truths that kept the FDLR rebels together in their blood thirsty ventures in the Congo, exported from Rwanda have now been overpowered.
The hatred against the Tutsi that kept them together is no longer a valid reason for sticking together as times have moved on, the Congolese cannot continue to count the cost of human suffering in their territory - they want them out.
Personal survival is now the pre-occupation of the each FDLR rebel, thus many have decided to come back home. That hardliners can repent, come back and be ready to be reintegrated into society, vindicates those who have maintained for a long time that peace and reconciliation can be achieved in the eastern Congo, only if these forces are dealt with in an honest manner.
Peace did not come in through the multi-billion funded Congo safaris, whose bases elude us up to now. There is still room for recant.
The current government as opposed to the previous regimes, under which Habimama served, has managed to foster peaceful co-existence among all Rwandans.
Unity and reconciliation have been encouraged where genocide perpetrators own up their mistakes and ask for forgiveness from survivors. Survivors too are encouraged to forgive, and many have done so.
The capture of Habimana indeed dents the operation of ex-Far/Interahamwe elements who still believe they can put up an offensive against the joint forces; they should therefore accept their fate and come back home.
Since Habimana was a long time spokesman for the FDLR, it is hoped that even the group’s leaders; Ignace Murwanashyaka and Major General Silvestre Mudacumura, will heed his new advice and not only abandon war but also mobilise other members in their ranks to return home.