105 FDLR Fighters Lay Down Weapons

stuff geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The development is likely to raise concerns about the seriousness of the militia, no rx considering that military commanders did not give in and more heavy weapons remain hidden in the jungles of DRC.

Sources who preferred anonymity told Chimpreports on Friday afternoon that FDLR “surrendered the sick, weak and old and dysfunctional arms to deceive the world that they are ready to demobilise. This is politics.”

The fighters on Friday assembled at Gatiku where they were received by SADC and DRC officials.

FDLR’s leaders are wanted by United Nations for committing genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and other atrocities in DRC.

But Rwanda has since expressed willingness to rehabilitate the FDLR fighters if they renounced the genocide ideology.


In a May 18 letter to regional leaders and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, FDLR last week said it took a “unilateral commitment to lay down weaponry” with the view of concentrating on a “political struggle.”

The extremist group’s decision to disarm comes at a time when DRC and United Nations Mission in the war-torn country are under heavy pressure to stop military posturing and deal a final blow to FDLR.

Briefing the UN Security Council in March, Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Eugene Richard Gasana, said reports that the DRC army had stepped up military operations against the Hutu militia group were untrue and that “one of the oldest armed groups remains at large.”

He added: “As always for the past 20 years, the problem that we have is the posture of the DRC government and the UN peacekeepers “currently MONUSCO” towards the threat posed by FDLR genocidal forces responsible for the genocide against the Tutsi.

Throughout the last quarter of 2013 we were told that FDLR are 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, no accountability…”

Gasana said at a previous meeting, the military operation plan presented to the Security Council was that FARDC was to go after ADF, which happened.

“Following that, 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,” observed Gasana.


Sources say FDLR and its supporters are posturing to draw attention of the international community to pile pressure on the Rwanda government to hold peace talks with the militia.

Rwanda maintains it will not hold any talks with FDLR. Outgoing Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete who called for talks between the two parties faced the wrath of Rwandan leaders.

Kagame said “speaking casually and calling on us to negotiate with the killers of our people is utter nonsense.”

He also described Kikwete’s idea as dancing on the “mass graves of our people.”

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo also fired back at Kikwete, describing his statements as “aberrant” and “shocking.”

She noted: “Those who think that Rwanda today should sit down at the negotiating table with FDLR simply don’t know what they are talking about.”

Genocide survivors, whose parents and relatives were slaughtered by the Hutu militia group in the 1994 genocide, accused Kikwete of being revisionist and a supporter of “a wider plan to exterminate us once and for all.”

Congo lessons

It remains unclear why FDLR chose the South African countries’ organisation to keep their arms instead of handing them to the Rwanda government as a confidence-building measure.

However, it should be remembered that SADC members – South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania formed a joint force which worked closely with FDLR to defeat the M23 rebellion in Eastern Congo in 2013.

It is reported the FDLR militia received money and weapons to wage a ground offensive against M23 as Tanzanians used heavy artillery to shell Sultani Makenga’s fighters.

The South Africans used warplanes to bomb Makenga’s last lines of defence.

At that time, sources say, commanders of the joint force pledged to support FDLR achieve its “objectives.”

In fact after seizing Kanyarucinya and Bunagana, knowledgeable sources say FDLR were physically restrained from crossing the Rwandan border.

While FDLR agreed to surrender the weapons, the group quickly added that this would be temporary, pending political dialogue with President Kagame’s government.

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