Kigali says it is frustrated that the military operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which was launched in January 2015, has lost drive and that the rebels are regrouping.
Brig Gen Ferdinand Safari, director of policy and planning at the Ministry of Defence, told The EastAfrican that the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has held many meetings and crafted “good” programmes to eradicate FDLR but these remain on paper.
“The military operation in eastern Congo started very well and resulted in the eradication of M23. This was to be followed by the eradication of FDLR and ADF, but the momentum has been lost,” he said.
Mr Safari warned that if things don’t improve, Rwanda could opt for an operation similar to the 2009 “Umoja Wetu” joint operation with DRC that managed to weaken FDLR by 70 per cent within one month.
FDRL troops refused to surrender
But meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday, ICGLR defence ministers resolved that more countries in the region should contribute more troops to strengthen the slightly over 3,000 UN Force Intervention Brigade from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi.
On January 1, 2015; FDRL missed to meet deadline yet set by nations of the regional Southern African bloc (SADC) and ICGLR to surrender. Only 300 surrendered.
The FDLR, with 1,500 and 2,000 fighters based around Lake Kivu, has been accused of numerous atrocities including murder, rape, and recruitment of child soldiers.
Théogène U @Bwiza.com
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