No sign of FDLR disarming as Luanda deadline lapses

No sign of FDLR disarming as Luanda deadline lapses
No sign of FDLR disarming as Luanda deadline lapses

Africa-Press – Rwanda. The FDLR terrorist group has not been disarmed and repatriated despite the deadline set by the Luanda mini-summit held last week. The summit had set November 30 as the deadline for FDLR to unconditionally disarm and be repatriated to Rwanda. However, the deadline lapsed without any sign of the group disarming.

The Luanda summit on the security crisis in eastern DR Congo had also ordered the FDLR, a terrorist group composed of remnants responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, to embark on an “unconditional repatriation”.

In setting the November 30 deadline, the summit which took place in the Angolan capital Luanda on Wednesday, November 23 issued a statement stating that, “FDLR-FOCA, RED-TABARA, ADF, and other armed groups operating on Congolese territory shall immediately lay down their arms and initiate their unconditional repatriation.”

It added that the repatriation will be under the terms of the Nairobi peace process and supported the United Nations mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO).

(L-R) Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye and Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta during the summit (Courtesy photo)

By Press time, MONUSCO had not responded to the Luanda statement on how they intend to facilitate the disarmament and repatriation of the FDLR.

In fact, the chairperson of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, (RDRC), Valerie Nyirahabineza, said the commission was yet to receive any information from DR Congo about the repatriation of the FDLR.

“We haven’t received any and got no communication from MONUSCO about the repatriation,” she said.

Rwanda has persistently accused the Congolese army FARDC of collaborating with the FDLR and in the recent past created a coalition against the M23 rebel group.

In an interview with seasoned diplomat, Joseph Mutaboba, he said that repatriation can only be successful if the DR Congo government gave a clear plan of how they intend to fish out FDLR from its national army.

“This is not the first time we are hearing such commitments but they have never been realised yet, FDLR has instead been favoured by the Congolese government – be it the current or the previous ones – and has continued conducting skirmish attacks on Rwandan territory. The FDLR has also become part of the DR Congo national army,” said Mutaboba.

He added that, “The FDLR is already in too deep with the Congolese army, “they were the Congolese military uniformed, established within their ranks and service, and given ammunition. Uprooting them requires a detailed deeper plan. Also, DR Congo officials continue to claim that the FDLR is not a problem yet they continue to kill and want to continue with the Genocide.”

Presidents João Lourenço chairing a mini-summit in Luanda.

When asked about how best Rwanda can protect its borders from threat posed by the coalition of FDLR-FARDC, Mutaboba said that the government has a mandate of ensuring people’s safety and has a right to do so using all possible means.

“Rwanda has a leadership that is governed by principles of good governance and these principles dictate that the leadership protects the people and their properties at all cost. Rwanda remains committed to these principles and any action needed to protect the people can be considered,” he said.

Addressing DR Congo issues will not be successful without getting to the bottom of them and, according to Jean Baptiste Gasominari, a lawyer and an expert in regional affairs, until there is a genuine effort to uproot the FDLR, conflicts in eastern DR Congo will not be addressed.

“So far, there is no sign of FDLR disarming and they have also told Western media that they don’t have any intention of disarming or accepting repatriation. Without disarming and repatriating FDLR issues in the eastern DR Congo will not be solved because they are all linked to the FDLR,” he said.

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