UN: The Joint Military Operation Against The FDLR Has Failed
By RFI News
May 23, 2005
Rape, looting, recruitment of child soldiers, the report of UN experts on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is overwhelming. This group of UN experts established by the UN in 2003, spent several weeks in the North and South Kivu. Its report has been forwarded to the Security Council of the United Nations. RFI has obtained a copy. The first thing that appears in this report is that the joint military operation of the Armed Forces of DRC and Rwanda against the FDLR has been a failure.
First finding by the UN experts
Recent joint military operations between the Congolese and Rwandan armies failed to break the command structure of the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) Rwandan Hutu rebels. "The operation, they wrote, suffered from its brevity, logistical problems and fraudulent diversion of operational funds."
The FDLR regained control of many of their positions, including mining areas they previously controlled. Many traders, according to the report, continue to buy cassiterite and gold in areas controlled by the FDLR.
Civilian populations frightened
With regard to the integration of armed groups into the Congolese forces, the UN experts recognize that it was poorly planned and carried out too quickly. They attest for instance that many weapons were not rendered by the former rebels of the CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple) or by the various Mayi-Mayi militias. In addition, there may be even many caches that include stocks of heavy weapons, some of which are still under the control of former officers of CNDP.
In terms of violations of human rights, the UN experts do not spare anyone. Congolese soldiers, former rebels integrated into the Command of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the DRC) have committed war crimes. Rapes of women and recruitment of child soldiers have not ceased in the North and South Kivu. Extortion, looting, burning houses have left the population destitute and terrified. Congolese civilians are suffering from vengeance of the FDLR chased away without any protection from their own armed forces which also are responsible for widespread and vicious abuses against its own people that amount to war crimes.
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