FDLR is not only FARDC’s main fighting force since, but also their “chief strategists” in terms of their campaign of genocide against DRC’s Tutsi citizens. The two have amalgamated into one force and FDLR has been doing the donkey’s work in most of the battles that have pitted FARDC against M23.
It is no coincidence therefore that FARDC has been fighting tooth and nail to exclude Rwanda from the East African force that was announced by the East African Community Chairman, President Uhuru Kenyatta. That followed consensus that such a force is needed in eastern DR Congo to fight local and foreign armed groups.
Tshisekedi however knows that FDLR being routed would mean the disintegration of FARDC, which normally is just a motley collection of drunken bandits of whom FDLR is the senior partner.
But analysts are wondering how these forces would be called an East African force if one of the members is excluded because at the whims of another member? There is a criminal motive for this exclusion, which everyone else has to be aware of.
A video clip circulating online shows FDLR on parade in an undisclosed jungle locality somewhere in Eastern Congo where an unidentified commander addresses them in what looks like an operational briefing in the face of the impending deployment of the East African force. The commander emphasizes that there should be no negotiations with M23, which would be defiance of the recommendation of the international community. The commander who is fully dressed in civilian cloth tells the soldiers donning mixed civilian and FARDC military uniforms (typical FDLR identity) that they are ready to fight on, with, or without authorization from president Tshisekedi, the international community, and MONUSCO (sic). A soldier in full FARDC military fatigues is seen filming the address using a smartphone.
During the address, the FDLR commander states “we are not fighting M23 but Rwanda and Uganda. We fail to understand why the government of Congo hesitates to cut diplomatic ties with Rwanda and Uganda who are the aggressors. The Ugandan soldiers continue operations in Congo yet they are killing us in Beni, Kabindi, Tchengerero, and Rwankuba. We also don’t understand why even after the protests, the Congolese government has still allowed the Rwandan Ambassador to stay…” what is shocking though, is the authoritative tone and entitlement with which the FDLR commander uses in his address. There is no shred of doubt that the East African Force is in for a frustrating operation as they navigate through the Congo jungles as well as the political complexities.