13 May 2009

Rwanda: ICG Calls for Fresh Action Against FDLR

Kigali — A new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) has recommended that fresh joint military operations be launched against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The report released on May 11 is titled "Congo: Five Priorities for a Peace-building Strategy," and notes that the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) situation will not improve without a comprehensive strategy of sustained political and result-oriented partnership between DRC and the International Community.

Composed mainly of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the FDLR have been said to be the major stumbling block to peace and security in the Eastern DRC for over 15 years.

The ICG also calls for the suspension of the ongoing joint offensive against the FDLR mounted by the Congolese armed forces FARDC and MONUC--the UN mission in the country.

"Suspend Operation Kimya II and plan new joint military operations against the FDLR in which Rwandan forces pressure the hardcore armed leadership that refuses voluntary disarmament, while MONUC and FARDC fill the vacuum created by those measures, prioritising an immediate increase in protection of civilians and proceeding with disarming the rank and file," the ICG recommends.

According to the ICG, this is aimed at implementing an; "effective anti-FDLR strategy."

Operation Kimya II started after the January-February joint Rwanda-DRC military offensive (operation Umoja Wetu) against the rebels, that saw thousands of combatants and their dependants return to Rwanda.

There is also a recommendation to the EU, the US, Canada, and African states, where FDLR leaders still roam freely, mentioning some African states like Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Zambia and Kenya.

"Coordinate legal action in these states against fundraising and propaganda dissemination by FDLR political leaders and prevent their access, as far as possible within national law, to public broadcasting outlets," states the ICG.

Government last month suspended the Kinyarwanda programmes of BBC from the airwaves because of what was considered as a consistent "total disregard" by the programmes for Rwanda's unity and reconciliation efforts.

Prior to the decision, different negationsts of the Genocide including the president of FDLR Ignace Murwanashyaka, had been given airtime on the British broadcaster.

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