Rwanda: U.S. Takes on Tshisekedi Over Supporting FDLR Genocidal Militia

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Tuesday, May 23, called Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and discussed the security crisis in the east of DR Congo.

More than 130 local and foreign armed groups are blamed for the endless insecurity in eastern DR Congo.

According to Matthew Miller, the spokesperson of the State Department, they discussed the ongoing violence and dire humanitarian situation in eastern DR Congo. Blinken reiterated the need for all state actors to cease collaboration with the FDLR and other non-state armed groups.

Blinken called Tshisekedi "to express my deep concern for those killed, injured, displaced, or left vulnerable by the ongoing violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," he tweeted on Wednesday.

"I reiterated that all parties need to abide by the Luanda and Nairobi Processes."

Blinken and Tshisekedi also discussed the importance and urgency of M23 withdrawing and disarming per the Luanda Communique, and for all parties to implement their Luanda Communique obligations and commit to the Luanda and Nairobi Processes.

Kinshasa calls the M23 terrorists, in a bid to foil all regional efforts at engaging them in political dialogue, but the rebels are Congolese citizens fighting for the rights of their persecuted community in eastern DR Congo.

The Tutsi community in eastern DR Congo has, for long, been a victim of hate speech largely incited by the government in Kinshasa. There have been many targeted killings of the Tutsi community in eastern DR Congo.

Instead of committing to the Luanda and Nairobi Processes and, among others, ensuring that the FDLR is disarmed and sent to Rwanda, Kinshasa, reports indicate, has supported and integrated the genocidal militia into its national army.

The most important thing you have to explain to @Presidence_RDC especially @fatshi13 & @PatrickMuyaya is the meaning of "all parties". They don't know that (or ignore) they are part of the "all parties" to the conflict.-- Tom Ndahiro (@TomNdahiro) May 25, 2023

Blinken and Tshisekedi talked just days after images emerged showing the Congolese President meeting, in Kinshasa, with Eugène-Richard Gasana, a disgraced former Rwandan diplomat now reportedly working with groups opposed to Kigali.

Blinken noted the United States calls for Rwanda to end its support for M23, an allegation Kigali has refuted.

The M23, which began withdrawing from key positions in December 2022, accuses the Congolese army of forming an alliance with multiple militias and undermining the regional peace processes.

Blinken and Tshisekedi's call also came after DR Congo police clashed with opposition protesters in the capital Kinshasa, on May 20, leading to several arrests.

"He also underscored the right of the Congolese people to protest peacefully to voice their concerns and aspirations, and emphasized the United States' commitment to supporting free and fair elections in the [DR C0ngo]," Miller said.

In November 2022, the UN special adviser on the prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, visited eastern DR Congo and was deeply alarmed about the escalation of violence in the Great Lakes Region where a genocide - the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda - happened.

"The current violence is a warning sign of societal fragility and proof of the enduring presence of the conditions that allowed large-scale hatred and violence to erupt into a genocide in the past," she said.

She explained the issue noting that the current violence mainly stems from the refugee crisis that resulted as many individuals involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda fled to eastern DR Congo, forming armed groups such as the FDLR which is still active there.

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