17 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Monusco Should Help End Impunity


The United Nations Stabilisation mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) recently announced that it had rescued two Europeans who had been abducted by members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia.

Though MONUSCO was short on details of the operation despite its success, it is a welcome one to the victims and their families. But the question that remains: If the FDLR captors gave up their captives "without putting up any resistance", what became of them?

The FDLR has been meting out violence at will under the very nose of the peacekeepers. So, this "rescue" operation should have been followed by the arrest of the abductors. In doing so, it would have sent a message to all armed groups that they no longer have a place among the Congolese population.

But if the assailants were let off scot-free with their loot ($4,000 and other equipment), what tells MONUSCO the rebels will not duplicate their actions and kidnap more westerners? To them, the abductions are lucrative and safe from repercussions.

Hence, they should have either apprehended the abductors and handed them over to the DRC government because the crime was committed on its territory, or to Rwanda where they originate.

Impunity has been the mainstay of the FDLR, and the Congolese people have borne the blunt of the violence under the watch of MONUSCO's 20,000 peacekeepers. It is time the UN extended to the Congolese civilian population the same service it offered the two Europeans. If not so, its mission will become irrelevant.

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