23 June 2012

Rwanda: The FDLR Must Not Be Ignored

For some reason, there is little public discussion about the increasingly brutal role of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) terrorist group in the renewed crisis in eastern DRC.

As a Genocidal outfit, whose members are mainly responsible for the death of more than a million people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, FDLR remains one of the most callous groups operating in the Congo.

Reports of rape and killings by the FDLR are quite frequent yet ignored.

Even more worrying is the reported collaboration between the Congolese army and FDLR in the ongoing fighting against the M23 rebels.

Former FDLR rebels, who have abandoned the group and returned home, have compellingly talked about instances where the Congolese armed forces have forged partnerships with FDLR, with the latest alliance coming in the wake of the M23 conflict.

Yet, amidst all the speculations and allegations involving various parties, including lobbies, there is hardly condemnation of the FDLR's involvement in the renewed hostilities in the Congo, even as the group's brutal history and current actions is a matter of public record.

Ignoring this cruel role of the FDLR, including murders, torture, rapes and pillage, in the ongoing conflict is dangerous as it will most likely offer ground for the group to expand on its terror activities.

And for the Congolese army, either as an institution or individual units, to fight alongside such a criminal group, is not only against the spirit of good neighbourliness but also a great betrayal of its own people who have suffered the brunt of FDLR atrocities.

We urge the warring parties in the Congo to stop fighting and settle their differences peacefully. The March 23, 2009 deal between Kinshasa and the then CNDP rebels had ushered a period of relative stability in the eastern Congo, and therefore, all efforts should be made to build on that progress. Regional states should help find a lasting peaceful solution.

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