Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DR Congo: FDLR- " So you resigned yourself to failure, my friend And I emerged the chilling stranger "

Radio France International reports: 

This is a translation from the Radio France International ( RFI ) article provided by the RFI website. It isn't a great translation but I have not cleaned it up as it seems understandable and if I clean it up I risk alter the meaning, something on an issue of this magnitude doesn't bare thinking about. 

Rwanda: the Acting Executive Secretary of the FDLR announced the end of hostilities

                                              Rwandan Hutu rebels of the FDLR, 150 km north-west of Goma in 2009

FDLR formally cease hostilities against the Rwanda says Acting Executive Secretary of the Rwandan Hutu rebels. According to Colonel Wilson Iratageka, the movement has officially laid down their arms since December 30. The group settled for more than two decades in the eastern DRC is particularly targeted recently by the UN mission in the region.

I will say at the start that I find this very unusual and it seems to be stretching credibility to breaking point and then some. The FDLR has not as yet been targeted by the the UN mission MONUSCO and its component the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade. At this point MONUSCO, the Intervention Brigade and FARDC ( Congolese Army ) are neutralising the Ugandan ADF ( Allied Democratic Forces ) but there is no doubt that the FDLR will be next.  

After neutralization of the M23 in the DRC, MONUSCO had stated that the decommissioning of harm of Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) was a priority. Lately, Rwandan rebels had sent several letters to the peacekeepers saying be prepared to lay down their arms, provided such a dialogue with Kigali.

I am guessing that MONUSCO has also been dropping leaflets from the air, there is no postal service in the territory that the FDLR control. The consequence of fighting have been disastrous for M23 and the ADF are being decimated in their scrap with FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade. I am skeptical about the sincerity of the FDLR but keeping the faith with a genocidal ideology of hatred is insane and many if not most of the perpetrators must be getting on or dead. I don't imagine recruitment is that easy.    

This time, the Acting Executive Secretary, Colonel Wilson Irategeka says that the cessation of hostilities is official.
" The FDLR have decided to lay down their arms because whenever Kigali wanted to attack the Congo and plunder the wealth of the DRC, he pretended to pick the FDLR who are armed and could attack Rwanda. So let's give a chance for peace in the Great Lakes region and the FDLR can participate, we always asked the international community to encourage Kigali to accept negotiations with the opposition political parties, the FDLR. "
Had Kigali allowed a democratic political opposition to develop this situation would have been a lot easier to resolve, in fact in all probability it would have been resolved.

Olivier Nduhungirehe is the Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations. Information of this laying down of arms, he asked to see. As for negotiations with the FDLR is not a firm and final.
" We, what matters to us is that they physically deposit their weapons with MONUSCO and they are therefore in the repatriation program. We have a demobilization center in the north of the country hosting the FDLR. So, if they say they lay down their arms, they have to MONUSCO. If they refuse to do so, the intervention brigade established by Resolution 20-98 is responsible for neutralizing the FDLR. 
It has been said repeatedly that he will not be any negotiations with the FDLR was a genocidal movement. In Rwanda, we agree to reinstate the FDLR in society. But those who have committed crimes, those who committed genocide, will have to answer for their crimes to justice. "
There is a problem here and that is Kagame will not negotiate with terrorists and I have a lot of sympathy with that position, unfortunately it is not a position that allows for resolving this situation. I think any surviving genociders should be handed over to the ICC but rank and file members many of whom must have been either too young or born after the 1994 Rwandan genocide should if they surrender be given the opportunity for rehabilitation.  Rwanda has accepted this for FDLR members who have previously surrendered.
Notwithstanding the filing of weapons supposed to be official since 30 December, an attack in Virunga National Park in eastern DRC, January 13, killed a guard and three attackers presented just as the FDLR. This incident, Colonel Wilson Irategeka says his men have nothing to do and that the perpetrators are armed elements sent by the Kigali government.

I blogged this incident that actually happened on the 11th January and Colonel Irategeka is bullshitting, it was the FDLR who did this and it was because the rangers caught them in an illegal charcoal manufacturing operation, just how bloody stupid does Irategeka think we are ?

If he is prepared to lie about this then all I can say is that he has great prospects in Kigali should he be rehabilitated. On balance it would be better to attempt a negotiated settlement and give the FDLR the initial benefit of the doubt, but I doubt it will work I doubt that this is anything other than attempt to buy some time while other alternatives are examined. This is an issue that needs to be resolved by Kinshasa and MONUSCO not Kigali, although Rwanda does have a legitimate interest in the outcome. 

If the FDLR are serious give them a tight deadline to disarm, a couple of weeks at the most. It is the FDLR that must establish both its bonafides and gain the goodwill of the forces that are very soon going to oppose and ultimately annihilate it. 

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