FDLR SAGA: Rwanda Warns DRC on Military “Posturing”


stomach geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Briefing the UN Security Council on Friday, malady 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.”

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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.

FDLR’s leadership is remembered for masterminding the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Following the defeat of the Juvenal Habyarimana dictatorship by RPF, the Hutu-dominated army fled to the DRC where they avenged by massacring and raping Tusti civilians.

With the support of then Zaire president Mobutu, the Interahamwe attempted a comeback to oust the RPF government in vain.

Since the late 1990s, Rwanda military operations within DRC have destroyed the better part of the genocidal militia.

Eastern DRC has been host to domestic and foreign armed groups particularly M23, FDLR and ADF-NALU.

As a result, ICGLR came up with detailed mechanisms to address the situation, including political and military measures of which some were taken over by UN, including Intervention Brigade under MONUSCO.

Gasana says Rwanda’s concern is that the major threat posed by FDLR has not been tackled.

There have been fears that FARDC is hesitant to annihilate FDLR since the latter supported DRC’s military operations against the rebel M23 force in 2013.

On Thursday, MONUSCO boss Martin Kobler said “in terms of security and protection, the Force Intervention Brigade, side by side with the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) has cleared many positions held by armed groups.”

Kobler emphasised the need for the Intervention Force to modernize, and become more flexible and mobile and fully able to deploy across the whole of eastern DRC, holding key areas and operating deep into the most inaccessible areas.

“This would aid in bringing political stability, and guaranteeing the protection of vulnerable groups such as women and children.”

He further said there was progress in stabilising Eastern Congo especially with the military defeat of the M23, the joint operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo (L), UN SG, Ban Ki-moon and Amb Gasana at a recent function

Change of attitude

However, Gasana said “It is high time we see a change of attitude of the DRC Government towards the FDLR; Rwanda has for several years expressed legitimate concerns with the lack of political will of the Government of DRC to tackle the threat of FDLR. Various UNSC reports have detailed evidence of all kinds of support given to FDLR by DRC and Rwanda has even provided more.”

He further pointed out the continuous excuses given by MONUSCO again and again when it comes to conducting military operations against FDLR, is kind of disturbing.

“When it is not excuses of lack of intelligence, (and which Rwanda did share with MONUSCO), it is engaged in propaganda operations to hoodwink the UNSC about military operations with FARDC against FDLR.”

He also exposed a top FARDC leader of collaborating with the FDLR.

“On 09 Mar 14, MONUSCO/FIB jointly with FARDC raided FDLR illegal roadblock along Karengera – Tongo road. Reliable information reveals that Col Ramadhan, acting FARDC commander of the 8th Military Region, leaked information of the impending FIB attack on FDLR, hence undermining this operation.”

Gasana added that it is not only Rwanda expressing frustration over inaction against negative forces; the countries of the region, under ICGLR have expressed frustration by lack of political will by MONUSCO to address the threats of armed groups in the Great Lakes region.

This was again subject of ICGLR Heads of State Summit in Luanda, Angola on 15th January 2014, where the Chiefs of Defence Staff of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa were again tasked to assess the situation and come up with new mechanisms of eradicating FDLR.


The Rwandan diplomat said the FDLR strength is estimated at 3,640 with infantry integral weapons and that this strength is likely to increase due to ongoing recruitment and training.

Currently, said Gasana, FDLR is engaged in enhancing collaboration with FARDC especially at operation level which has enabled the militia to refit, re-arm, share intelligence, have freedom of action and free passage for infiltration and terror attacks in Rwanda.

Since July 2013 to date, 42 FDLR infiltrators/terror elements have been arrested and undergoing prosecution in Rwandan courts, according to the diplomat.

He said FDLR continues mobilization, recruitment, training and establishment of terror networks in Rwanda thus facilitating safe passage and logistics by FARDC.

Gasana said the recent claim by MONUSCO that FDLR is located in populated areas is a sheer lie given the outfit has most of its forward units in Virunga National Park in North Kivu Province.

It also maintains its dispositions in unpopulated areas of Mwenga and Uvira Territories in South Kivu; and on illegal mining and taxation in eastern DRC to sustain the war effort.

The diplomat said as Rwanda prepares to mark the 20th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in April “there could be no greater symbol of justice for its victims than the defeat and eradication of FDLR, a virulent genodical force that has been allowed to terrorize the region for the past two decades.”


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