The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has successfully maintained pressure to root out rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) out of their country, the Rwandan army has confirmed.
According to Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara, the DRC army (FARDC), has maintained the tempo against the rebels and intends to pursue them into DRC’s South Kivu Province where they are reportedly fleeing.
“So far, FARDC has maintained operational tempo, meaning the speed and pace for the enemy not to rest and reorganise,” Rutaremara said in a telephone interview yesterday, stressing that this is why the rebels were in disarray and fleeing “south.”
The Congolese army were left with the task of carrying on after the one-month joint operation, code-named Umoja Wetu, mounted by both the RDF and FARDC and ended late last month.
“The FDLR are now fleeing to South Kivu and FARDC is going to extend operations to South Kivu.”
FDLR is composed of key perpetrators of the Rwandan 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which left over one million people dead.
They later fled into neighbouring DRC from where they have been accused of having continued to pursue their Genocide agenda– killing, raping and pillaging.
In what is referred to as unexpected turn of events, tables turned on the rebels last year when the two neighbours – Rwanda and DRC, hatched an unprecedented plan to do away with the rebels whom Alexis Thambe Mwamba, DRC’s Foreign Minister, referred to as a “cancer.”
Rutaremara, however, acknowledged that “some pockets” of FDLR elements remained in Rutshuru and Masisi regions of DRC’s North Kivu Province, but stressed that these were too small and “cannot divert operations” in the south.
He underlined the certainty that “the site” of FARDC’s operations against the FDLR was now South Kivu.
The recently concluded joint Rwanda/DRC military offensive against the rebels saw hundreds of their fighters captured, and many more surrendering.
Thousands of their dependants were also forced to return home when FDLR’s fighting capacity in North Kivu was vastly crippled.