Thursday, November 18, 2010

Military operations on FDLR not working – says group

By RNA Reporter
17 November 2010

Kigali: The successive military operations against Rwandan FDLR rebels have resulted into more suffering for civilians than dislodge the rebels from Eastern Congo, according the International Crisis Group.

“[FDLR] has been chased out of many mining sites it previously controlled, but the natural resources have not yet been brought under legitimate control,” said the group in a report.

The Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), is resisting forcible disarmament by forming alliances with Congolese militias that refuse integration into the national army such as the Mai Mai Cheka.

"Two years after the rapprochement between Congolese President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, government soldiers are still battling militias for control of land and mines," the Brussels-based organisation said, referring to DRC's Nord- and Sud-Kivu provinces.

The Congolese-Rwandan rapprochement has altered the balance of power in North and South Kivu, says ICG. The National Congress of the People (CNDP) – formally commanded by jailed Gen. Laurent Nkunda, has become to powerful in the east and threatens the social and political fabric which has existed there.

“The new influence gained by the CNDP is resented by leaders of other communities who fear that it will disadvantage them in the general elections scheduled for 2011-2012,” said ICG.

In the discussions which have been ongoing over the past two years suggest Congo agreed to tackle the FDLR, in return to be helped with settling the CNDP issue. Even last week, the DRC Defense Minister was in Kigali as a follow up on a similar trip to Kinshasa by Rwandan counterpart Gen. James Kaberebe within the same period.

The two sides expressed satisfaction that war on FDLR from all sides is working, a view not shared by ICG.

“But the limits of the politico-military approach designed in Kinshasa and Kigali have already been reached,” said ICG in its report.

Instead of improving, the humanitarian situation in the Kivus has deteriorated and violence has increased in a region plagued by various rebel and militia groups, the ICG said.

"Women and girls, particularly, have suffered the consequences of impunity and of a highly militarised environment in which rape is endemic," it said.

"Without a new strategy, the risk of inter-ethnic clashes, disintegration of the national army and regional destabilisation will become increasingly dangerous," said the ICG's central African director Thierry Vircoulon.

Related Materials:
Congo: New Strategy Needed in the East

Military solution failing in eastern Congo: crisis group 

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