The New Times (Kigali)

16 March 2014

Rwanda: MONUSCO Yet to Show Will to Fight Fdlr - Amb Gasana

The UN peacekeeping mission in the DR Congo (Monusco) is clearly not willing to fight the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, a Rwandan envoy told the Security Council on Friday.

Amb. Eugène-Richard Gasana, Rwanda's Permanent Representative to the UN, was addressing the Council during a briefing on Monusco and the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC) for the DR Congo and the region.

This was after Martin Kobler, the head of Monusco, and Mary Robinson, the Secretary General's Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, briefed the Council on their respective dockets.

READ ALSO: Remarks by Rwanda Permanent Representative to the UN

Gasana said recent claims by Monusco that FDLR was located in populated areas was "a sheer lie" since the outfit has most of its forward units in Virunga National Park in North Kivu Province and several other areas in the region.

Throughout the last quarter of 2013, Rwanda was told that FDLR would be next on the list of negative forces to be eliminated.

"What happens from when the promise is made to the next briefing, no one knows," Gasana noted.

"We were told that Monusco was to put their resources against FDLR. Nothing happened! Only a week or two before this briefing, do we hear in the news that there was a military operation against FDLR".

"This threat of FDLR persists despite the mandate of Monusco, which was given extra offensive capabilities after the deployment of the Intervention Brigade and the lack of Monusco to commit to fighting this force remains evident." the envoy said

Rwanda, he reiterated, has for several years expressed "legitimate" concerns with the lack of political will of the DR Congo government to tackle the threat of FDLR.

"The continuous excuses given by Monusco again and again when it comes to conducting military operations against FDLR, is kind of disturbing. When it is not excuses of lack of intelligence, and which Rwanda did share with Monusco, it is engaged in propaganda operations to hoodwink the UNSC about military operations with FARDC against FDLR."

Gasana said the FDLR's current strength is estimated at 3,640 with infantry integral weapons. "This strength is likely to increase due to ongoing recruitment and training."

He said the militia is engaged in the various activities including beefing up collaboration with FARDC especially at operation level. This, he argues, has enabled FDLR to refit, re-arm, share intelligence, have freedom of action and free passage for infiltration and terror attacks in Rwanda.

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