The DRC-Rwanda joint task force is well and truly in full swing in its quest to rout rebels of the genocidal Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The threat that the FDLR has been posing to Congolese nationals in the eastern parts of the country for the past 15 has suddenly started to stick out like a sore thumb. Now the world – with the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC – at the forefront, is starting to sit up and listen.
Even fervent defenders of the FDLR Status-Quo for the last decade and a half have surprisingly kept quiet in the last week, and it is understandable: Their protégés have shown their true colours, the same ones they refused to shed since the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis back home.
The FDLR apologists have been left holding the leash in the hands, the beast having escaped long ago, a menace now prowling in remote villages of Masisi leaving behind a trail of bloodshed.
This latest murderous chapter is a copy-paste repeat of a defeated force’s first line of defence, if one could call it that: Flee from the battlefield and target unarmed civilians. This they have turned into an art since 1994.
The UN calls the latest spate of massacres of unarmed civilians “cowardly acts”, but the question lingers; Is it the first time MONUC gets a glimpse of what these people are capable of? And if not, why wait all this time to sound the alarm?
The Congolese population is justifiably worried that when the joint operation comes to an end before wiping out the FDLR completely, the rebels will be back in their old positions if serious measures are not taken now.
Is MONUC up to measure? Will they honour their mandate to use force if necessary to protect civilians? Let’s wait and see … and pray for the Congolese.