DR. Congo begins new offensive against FDLR

DRC - Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) yesterday launched ‘Operation Amani Leo’ (Peace Today) after announcing the end of Operation Kimia II that was being mounted alongside the United Nations Mission in DRC (MONUC) against militia of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

DRC - Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) yesterday launched ‘Operation Amani Leo’ (Peace Today) after announcing the end of Operation Kimia II that was being mounted alongside the United Nations Mission in DRC (MONUC) against militia of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

According to the announcement made by FARDC, the new military operation is aimed at “completely wiping out the FDLR insurgency in the North Kivu Province of Eastern DRC”.

Amani Leo which began on Friday is the 3rd operation against the rebels made up of Ex-FAR and Interahamwe responsible for the 199\4 Genocide against the Tutsi ion Rwanda.

A joint report issued by DRC and MONUC indicates that Operation Kimia II achieved its objectives with nearly 5,000 FDLR combatants neutralized.

It also states that all the FDLR hiding places were dismantled, their commands and means of communication disrupted, their leaders hounded from the zones they used to control and gain income.

The Congolese military also hailed the “successful” mission in which the FARDC lost 211 soldiers in battles with the FDLR and other armed groups.

According to Major Sylvain Ekenge, the Spokesperson of FARDC in North Kivu Province, Operation Amani Leo will last for 3 months.

He noted that Kimia II which covered both South and North Kivu saw 1,472 rebels killed and a further 2,029 surrendered or were captured and sent back to Rwanda by the UN mission in DR Congo during the offensive.

MONUC whose mandate in the DRC was extended by the UN Security Council to another 5 months will supply combat helicopters to deploy forces in rebel areas. 

Following increasing Humanitarian concerns, MONUC’s support for government forces was strictly conditioned by the UNSC on the forces compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and on an effective joint planning of these operations.

The UN special envoy to Kinshasa Alan Doss told the Security Council last month that the objective of the Kimia II operation against the FDLR “had been largely achieved.

The FDLR has been active in eastern DR Congo for 15 years but their presence in the vast eastern region of DRC suffered a major blow late 2008 when Rwanda and DRC started processes to restore diplomatic relations and consequently work out ways of ending the FDRL menace.

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