An audio recently went viral online, where Tshisekedi was having a conversation with one of the FARDC commanders in the east, asking him to “urgently” avail him of the contacts of ‘general’ Omega, the current overall FDLR commander. It goes without saying that Tshisekedi wanted to have direct negotiations with the chief genocidaires himself over a new level of military cooperation. Tshisekedi is audibly desperate after the M23 managed to beat the coalition of FARDC, FDLR, mercenaries, Nyatura, Mai-Mai, CODECO, PARECO APCLS, and other so-called local ‘self-defense’ groups to capture the important town of Kitchanga and save Tutsis and Hema communities who were being massacred.
Tshisekedi told the media recently that during his tenure, he heard of the “repatriation of FDLR members on three occasions.” Whoever gave him the report perhaps did not tell him that most of those repatriated to Rwanda are mostly women and children, the elderly, the sick, and wives of the FDLR genocidaires who want to come and benefit from the existing lucrative resettlement packages and the universal health insurance and other universal social benefits enjoyed by Rwandans. The radicalized terrorists stay behind in different localities of DRC where they have established bases from where they collaborate with senior leaders of the Kinshasa regime, senior army officers, and rogue peacekeepers from the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO in mineral and arms trade deals.
With the resurgence of the M23 movement, the triangle of collaboration has been elevated a notch higher, mostly at the level of military operations. The UN Group of Experts has over the years issued damning reports of the collaboration between the three entities and in their most recent elaborated with clarity how FDLR was FARDC’s most valuable partner in the fight against the M23 rebels. At the beginning of the conflict last year, the FARDC and FDLR deliberately fired rockets into Rwanda on three different occasions which injured Rwandan citizens and destroyed property. MONUSCO’s function as a peacekeeping mission whose responsibilities was to disarm the FDLR and facilitate their repatriation has been compromised by their involvement in mineral and arms trade with FDLR.
The fact that the Kinshasa regime has decided to make FDLR part and parcel of their military is of serious concern to not only Rwanda but to the entire region because the FDLR who had hitherto been weakened by military action over the years have continued to build their numbers and capacity to meet the needs of the Kinshasa regime as they struggle to stave off the M23 rebels.
This collaboration grants the genocidaires force not only access to sophisticated military material but also confidence and motivation to build the capacity to attack Rwanda and finish their dream of finishing the genocide, for which they have been doing rehearsals in eastern Congo for decades. Rwanda cannot be expected to sit and watch as FDLR grows into more of a genocidal menace, until such a time when they can even directly threaten the Rwandan population. Rwandans have chosen to make their security a priority, and are committed to dealing with threats without complacency.
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