21 September 2008

Rwanda: War Rages in DRC as Government Forces Seek FDLR Support

Kigali — The clashes in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between the governemnt forces (FARDC) and rebels of Congrès National pour la Defense du Peuple (CNDP), have taken new dimensions with the FARDC joining hands with Rwandan rebels, FDLR.

The FDLR are remnants of the former rwandan army (ex FAR) and interahamwe militia who are responsible for the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis that cost the lives of over a million people in Rwanda.

Following the clashes that erupted between the FARDC and CNDP in August 28 around Rutshuru, a growing body of evidence indicates that the Congolese army has continued its collaboration with the FDLR against CNDP.

In a development that confims DRC's resolve to use the military option to deal with CNDP, the Commander of FARDC 8th Military Region, Brig. Gen. Vainquer MAYALA, held a meeting with all Brigade Commanders on 3 September 2008 to harmonize operational plans aimed at launching an offensive on CNDP positions.

The meeting recommended that all commanders integrate PARECO, Mai Mai (Congolese rebel movements) and FDLR in th ongoing military preparations.

The latest information obtained indicate that that FDLR's Sabena and Montana Battalions under Col. Ndizimihigo and Col. Sadiki respectively, are currently on frontlines in Masisi engaging CNDP. A whole brigade of PARECO under Lt. Col. Dan SAFARI is also actively fighting CNDP at Lushebere and Lukopfu axis.

PARECO forces are also deployed around Rubaya/Ngungu/Kinigi axis ready to attack CNDP. Reliable sources also indicate that a joint force of FARDC 8th military region supported by 4 battalions of PARECO, the first division of the FDLR and Reserve brigade and Mai Mai launched, a major offensive against CNDP positions Saturday morning along Masisi and Rutchuru axis in the areas of Sake, Ngungu, Katale, and Kashebere in Masisi territory.

On the Katale axis, FARDC's 81st Brigade under Col Yave Yolo, with the support of FDLR 2nd Battalion under Lt. Col. Sadiki and two battalions of PARECO under the command of Lt. Col Dan SAFARI attacked CNDP.

During the attack, FARDC attack helicopters bombed their own forces in Masisi leaving many FARDC soldiers dead. The same FARDC helicopters also bombed a market place in Masisi and many civilians were left dead.

Sources within the UN peace keeping force, MONUC indicate that despite all the humanitarian crisis and military losses, President Kabila is reluctant to negotiate with Nkunda and is preoccupied with the urge to militarily finish him off; to the extent of using the FDLR to try and achieve his objective.

In a related development, in Rutchuru territory, along Kanyabayonga, Kikuku and Nyanzale axis, the government's 15th Brigade under Col. MWUNGURA with a reinforcement of 2 Battalions of Itur- based 4th Brigade are on the move to attack CNDP's Special Brigade based in Kikuku.

FDLR's 1st Battalion is expected reinforce FARDC along this axis in case of serious CNDP resistance while FDLR's 3rd Battalion will reinforce FARDC's 2nd Battalion and 6th brigade against CNDP Sector 1 deployed in Runyoni and Bunagana under Col. Sultan Makenga.

The involvement of the genocidal forces in this scheme is not only an unholy alliance that continues to cause instability and prolongs the suffering of the innocent congolese civilians, but it is also a total violation of the Nairobi Joint Communique.

The war between the the The war between CNDP and FARDC is said to benefit the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe/FDLR, since they are rearmed by FARDC and access some of the logistical supplies from joint operations with FARDC.

Observers say that the most unfortunate part of all is that the whole DRC political establishment is totally behind this venture.

On September 13, President Joseph Kabila visited Goma, accompanied by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. Denis KALUME, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs MBUSA Nyamwisi, NGWEJ Seraphin, his Special Envoy to the Great lakes region, and his Diplomatic Advisor, Marcel KISHAMBO.

His mission was to mobilize political support from the population against CNDP and boost the morale of his army in the latest fighting against CNDP.

This new escallation raises questions as to DRC's willingness to adhere to the Nairobi comminique which calls for the disarmaent of the FDLR.

"The international community should not be hoodwinked by the recent statements by the DRC leadership which were deliberately meant to be pre-emptive but should instead condemn DRC's continued support and collaboration with the FDLR and the DRC leadership should be strongly advised to invest in long-term durable peace by eliminating the threat posed by the Interahamwe not only to the DRC but also to the entire region," said our UN source.

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