Regional heads of security and regional security experts concluded a security meeting in Goma whose aim was to discuss, among other issues, the establishment of a regional force to fight the armed groups active in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The main concern for the region however remains the commitment of the principal beneficiary (the DRC Government) to have those armed groups eliminated from their territory.
As the regional security experts left Goma to go and start preparations at their respective national levels, one question kept nagging their minds – will the FARDC rise to the occasion? But really, let’s be honest: FARDC is an active partner of FDLR! Therefore it would be more useful to take Kinshasa to task, to ask why this is so!
As experts, the participants in the Goma discussions could not avoid noting how chaotic the situation was. As they sat with the head of the DRC armed forces and other high-ranking army officers of FARDC, there were ongoing clashes not far from the meeting venue, between FARDC and M23. Intelligence reaching the security experts indicated that FARDC was being assisted by the most notorious armed terrorist group, FDLR, which is formed by genocide perpetrators who fled Rwanda after defeat. Mobutu gave them the welcome mat. Just like others are doing now.
The experts left with more questions than answers. How would they fight an armed group that is a battlefield partner to the army they are supposed to be helping? How are they going to be able to conduct effective military operations when their host is playing such games? Who is going to trust the information they are fed by DRC “intelligence agencies”?
Without such an untrustworthy DRC government, it won’t matter that regional states have good intentions, and the political will to eradicate illegal armed groups in Congo that create regional instability. For regional armies to achieve operational success and achieve their ultimate goal, they will definitely require the full cooperation of Congo’s armed forces, FARDC. Is that a possibility?
Consider that reports were coming in (as the meeting wound up), informing of a plan to release all FDLR fighters who had been detained in various prisons around Congo provinces, for rape and massacres against Congolese nationals! According to the credible reports, the FDLR fighters were being sent to reinforce FARDC troops and FDLR fighters already at the battlefront.
Kinshasa has to be seen for what it is: a completely unreliable partner.