GOMA – One of North Kivu’s influential Bami (Traditional Chiefs) Thursday stressed that a two-pronged approach – sensibilisation of the population and military operations, should be maintained to get rid of the FDLR.
Modeste Kabori, the Mwami of Bukoma location in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Rutshuru territory stressed this during an exclusive interview.
“When there is sensibilisation and a military operation, this can eliminate them (FDLR) once and for all,” Kabori underlined, emphasizing that, “these two courses of action can and must go together.”
He said that when soldiers conduct an operation, at times FDLR are repulsed but the reorganize when the operation ceases.
“This is the reason why we request for more sensibilisation of the population to continue isolating them – the population need to understand that FDLR are not Congolese and should return home to Rwanda,” he noted.
The FDLR is largely composed of masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda that took the lives of over one million people.
After the Genocide, they sought refuge in eastern DRC from where they are accused of fueling a humanitarian catastrophe that has dragged on for the last 15 years.
“They have been here for fifteen years and it is true they have dominated and entrenched themselves within the population, many have even intermarried,” Kabori said.
He added that the FDLR/Interahamwe have wrecked his region’s past customary social fabric to the extent that Congolese themselves now find it easy to kill –which he said disturbs him very much.
“To date, the FDLR have made five attempts on my life,” Kabori said, revealing that his vehicle has been ambushed but each time, he escaped “by the grace of God.”
Just like him, most of the eastern DRC population lives in fear of the murderous group but many now appear determined to collaborate with government forces.
This comes after the joint FARDC-RDF offensive crippled the FDLR infrastructure – killing and capturing many, as well as forcefully repatriating over 5000.