The Democratic Republic of Congo is at its old tricks again, when its military decided to stop its offensive against the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels based on its territory.
FDLR is a huge force that is composed of Rwanda’s former army, and extremist Hutu militia who participated in 1994 Genocide massacres. These are elements who, despite the current government calls for them to come back home and face fair trial so that they get on with their lives, have shunned the opportunity and continue to unleash terror and murder on the host community.
It is also alleged that the same group is spewing terror across Uganda as well (recent attacks in Kanungu district in Uganda that left a number of people dead were attributed to interahamwe militia hiding in Congo’s forests).So the problem of the FDLR cannot be under-estimated in terms of destabilising the entire region.
Having a massive, murderous gang should have been one of the DRC’s priorities to sort out in its eastern part, so that its population there lives in peace, if not to hearken to a neighbour’s calls for assistance in its extermination, just like Foreign Minister Charles Murigande charged. It became more than DRC’s problem alone because the original and over-riding objective of the FDLR is ultimately Rwanda’s destabilisation; that the Congolese are suffering now is merely part of the bigger equation.
If regional countries stopped politicking and adhered to a clean and clear agenda of discouraging rebel activity within their respective borders, it would be a message to all potential rebel groups not to put too much confidence in forming rebel bases in neighbouring countries.
Rwanda has offered soldiers to the DRC so that these brigands are flushed out. What well-meaning neighbour would turn down such an offer to clean up their backyard of vermin? Perhaps if the DRC is unwilling to contain the FDLR, and attacks and displacement of big numbers of people continues unabated, spilling over into the neighbouring countries, then indeed will the region get concerned enough to take positive action.
Rwanda is a team player and would like this FDLR impasse resolved amicably.Ends