URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The head of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, yesterday commended the cooperation between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to uproot rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and restore regional peace.
Ping made the remarks following his meeting with President Paul Kagame, at Urugwiro Village, after making a similar visit to Congolese President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday.
The joint operation that was launched in January came to an end yesterday, with widespread expressions of satisfaction, as many called it a success.
“It is clear and we fully support the ongoing process and I came here to reaffirm this,” Ping told journalists shortly after the talks with Kagame.
He explained that his visit to Rwanda and its neighbour, the DRC, aimed at evaluating the security situation especially in the DRC but also on the continent in general.
The AU Commission boss specifically commended joint efforts between Rwanda and the DRC to pacify eastern Congo, emphasizing that cooperation between neighbours remains the greatest strength.
“We have always been affirming that Rwanda and DRC are neighbours, they should talk, exchange views and cooperate in solving problems,” he observed, explaining that issues of all the rebels in eastern Congo can only be resolved through cooperation.
Ping said that he had demonstrated the same support for the offensive against FDLR rebels during his Kinshasa visit, earlier this week.
He is quoted by agencies as having told journalists following his meeting with President Kabila that the solution adopted to deal with the crisis in the Eastern DRC is close to what the AU had advocated for.
“The results taken as a whole are positive.”
The region has been a battlefield for the past 15 years and the FDLR, whose members include suspects of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, is considered to be at the centre of insecurity.
The rebels are accused of killing innocent civilians, raping, looting and causing various forms of insecurity in the region.
Rwanda and DRC governments said that their joint military operation against the Rwandan rebels; helped to repatriate thousands of Rwandan refugees back home, destroyed FDLR’s positions, killed many rebels while hundreds surrendered.
The two governments vowed on Tuesday to continue pursuing the FDLR and completely rout them out of the region.