• Calls them ‘cowardly tactics’
The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC (MONUC), yesterday came out to condemn the “cowardly terror tactics” employed by the FDLR rebels in the ongoing operation rout them out.
The joint operation code-named ‘Umoja Wetu’, was launched last month by Rwanda and the DRC to neutralise the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) out of Congo.
MONUC, playing the mediator role on behalf of besieged citizens as the offensive gains more ground, has accused the FDLR of conducting a campaign of terror, systematically raping, murdering, looting and abducting civilians in an attempt to frustrate the operation.
“MONUC condemns these cowardly terror tactics. The tactics used by the group (FDLR) are aimed at frustrating efforts at restoring state authority to its former strongholds,” a statement from MONUC reads in part.
The FDLR rebels who are largely composed of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and have mainly stayed in the eastern DRC for the last 15 years.
The rebels have been accused of using civilians as human shields as the operation, which has disorganised them, gains momentum.
According to a statement from the UN mission, MONUC peacekeepers have intensified day and night patrols in a bid to prevent the threat and exactions of fleeing FDLR on the civilian populations.
Meanwhile, as the operation which has been code-named ‘Umoja Wetu’ draws to an end, DRC citizens have expressed fear that the FDLR would come back to unleash terror on them.
Since the operation was launched, hundreds of FDLR officers have been captured; including senior officers while thousands of their former captives were rescued.
MONUC maintains that members of the FDLR who have refused to surrender have resorted to using human shields as the joint forces close in on them.
The operation has recorded successes on several fronts, with over 300 combatants and 2,557 non combatants having surrendered to the Joint Task Force.
An estimated 100 FDLR insurgents have been killed in the two-month offensive.