ICGLR MINI SUMMIT AND CLASHES BETWEEN MILITARY AND REBEL GROUPS IN DR CONGO

August 17, 2014 OPINION/NEWS

 

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By

Sylvain Muyali

The Democratic Republic of the Congo along with other countries in the eastern part of central Africa most affected by war, all fall under the terms of reference of the Great Lakes Region (DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). On August 14th 2014 a mini summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) was held in Luanda, the capital city of Angola, to review the implementation of peace plans in DR Congo and Central African Republic.

One week prior to this a group of infiltrators, who had crossed the town of Ngungu in the Masisi territory of the DR Congo in order to start a rebellion in Ufamandu in the Walikale territory, were defeated by the Military of the DR Congo (FARDC) and the Congolese National Police (PNC) over two days.

The group of infiltrators had earlier passed through Kitshanga via Kilolirwe to continue on through Ruvunda and Bihambwe before going to live in the hills of Ngungu. From here the infiltrators moved on to Ufamandu in Walikale to attempt the aforementioned rebellion. Following clashes with the rebel group Mai-Mai Raiya Mutomboki, then with the FARDC military and Congolese Police, order was restored and six people of the group arrested.

Reports confirm however that infiltration continues and that the guards corps of former Congolese general Bosco Ntaganda, such as those of Colonel Ngaruye have been seen in the Masisi territory.

 

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The mini summit of the ICGLR in Luanda was the second to be held, devoted to the evaluation of the initial summit’s resolutions following recent meetings also between defence ministers of the participating countries (Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia). Some of the immediate aims of the summit involved resolution of forced child labour in the region and the disarmament of the FDLR Rwandan Hutu rebels.

In his speech for the occasion, recalling agreements at the previous mini-summit in which deadlines were clearly defined for their implementation, Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, at the outset, said that “these decisions are the result strategy and operational choices we have made between dialogue and direct action, for the final settlement of the issue of the FDLR and the consolidation of peace in eastern DRC “, emphasising also “More than simply adopt decisions, it is important to perform” because, he will argue, “decisions should be justified only if they are put into practice and give good results. “

In this context, the Angolan president highlighted “Serious problems in the region which, with an increasing urgency, require a suitable and effective consensual response, to overcome them quickly.” Eduardo Dos Santos found, moreover, that “Time passes and every minute that is lost means more human lives lost, more wasted resources and less available to deal with other problems that prevent the development and well being of our peoples. “It is therefore of the opinion that “If the solutions we have found for the plight of the Great Lakes region do not arrive at a consensus, we need to review, readjust and restore the unity of thought and action to ensure the consolidated peace and stability. “

Introducing the rebel group M23 and the FDLR as two key issues jeopardizing these objectives, he welcomed on the one hand, the resolution of the former, handled by the Nairobi Declaration, but found that the FDLR continued to be a  problem whose solution was either forced disarmament and repatriation or “immediate and unconditional surrender.”

Dos Santos was also convinced that “Peace in each of our countries is incompatible with existing and potential threats to our security” and that “Each of our countries should ensure the safety of others, to create an atmosphere of good neighbourliness and to establish stable and lasting relationships between us, required for the development and affirmation of us internationally. ” He based his hope on the reports of the Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of general Staff to provide “a comprehensive view of the situation” in order to show others the way forward.

Approached by the presidential press before the opening session, the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR Alphonse Ntumba Luaba dwelt on eradicating both Congolese and foreign negative forces. “… After the M23, the ADF is now a very small negative force. I think we are in line to end” he has said about them before stressing that the conference, initially sought to “take into account their willingness to voluntarily surrender .” However, he lamented the inaction from the first reports dating back to late May, early June 2014 though found was a good time to gather the means to accelerate the process.

In the first mini-summit of the ICGLR, Presidents Joseph Kabila, José Eduardo Dos Santos, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, with special guest their counterpart Jacob Zuma, reported having “taken note of detailed information presented by Joseph Kabila on the situation in eastern DRC and the efforts of the Government of this country leads to conclude that the process of demobilisation and reintegration of ex-Combatants M23 in society, while stressing the need to mobilize financial resources for this purpose” before considering “the results of actions by FARDC forces to neutralise the ADF “and the pursuit of “peace and stability in the region.”

Several recommendations were then made, including the adoption of a “comprehensive approach in the fight against all negative forces, taking into account the role of the illegal exploitation and marketing of natural resources in feeding negative activities of law still active in the region, the taking of political and economic sanctions against all negative forces, strengthening of regional and international cooperation in identifying and neutralizing the leaders of all negative forces active in the area”, and “rapid repatriation, in collaboration with the UN and ex-M23 elements of Uganda and Rwanda where they are a burden for both countries. “

Participants had welcomed the promulgation of the amnesty law by President Joseph Kabila and expressed the hope of accelerating “the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration in order to facilitate the treatment of the issue of ex-elements of M23 “.

Commending the Government of the DRC for the results obtained through the neutralization of these items, the mini summit had also urged the Congolese authorities to “undertake and pursue the same actions against the FDLR.” As stated earlier, the second mini summit of the ICGLR is held in the context of evaluation and consolidation of the gains of the first. Moreover, the final communiqué is confirmed through the full text of said meeting.

 

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The time has come for Kinshasa to discard the FDLR

Despite the refusal of civil society and elected representatives of the people, the Government has maintained the option of transferring the former Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the transit site of Kisangani pending routing to other countries. However, following the expectation of the transfer’s success. the discord now emanating from is a major concern to the authorities.

The FDLR though decided not to leave the camp in North Kivu, in preference to that in Kisangani, a situation that further complicates the equation attempting to resolve the problem of the DRC Government for Rwanda to eliminate the eternal pretext for its incursions.

After the failed attempt of the civil society to prevent the FDLR’s transit through the Eastern Province, the former Rwandan rebels now defy the Government of the DRC.

This negative force (FDLR) has crushed the efforts of Kinshasa to end the pretense that has long allowed the strongman of Kigali to assault Congo – Kinshasa. While waiting for the FDLR rebels to transfer to the transit camp in Kisangani, waiting also to evacuate to other countries willing to receive them, elements of the rebel group have refused to make the trip from the capital of the Eastern Province to stay in the North Kivu.

Remaining in North Kivu is the equivalent of the FDLR continuing to offer the pretext for Rwanda to justify its incursions, this more so following the disappearance of M23, the Rwandan army now struggling to reconnect and destabilise the DRC. From this, the threat of the FDLR is now overridden, Paul Kagame already looking unfavorably upon the former Rwandan rebels.

Is it something to do with the refusal of the FDLR? Observers are even wondering whether or not there is any evidence to support such a thesis. This denial remains a concern however. In response to the FDLR’s position, spokesman of the Congolese Government Lambert Mende, said yesterday that the option of DRC was not negotiable.

He returned therefore to Kinshasa to meet the challenge of former Rwandan rebels managing to transfer them to the capital of the Eastern Province as agreed. But what will he actually do to meet this challenge given that repatriation is voluntary? This is where the real problem is and where the Government needs to work extra hard to not show a low profile.

 

Linked article: ‘MONUSCO, the FDLR and Over 200 Missing Children’ by Sylvain Muyali 16 August 2014, Tuck Magazine

 http://tuckmagazine.com/2014/08/16/monusco-fdlr-200-missing-children/

 

 

sylvain muyali

Sylvain Muyali

Sylvain Muyali is a Journalist, Photographer and Filmmaker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has reported previously for the Associated Press and his words and images can also be found at ‘Vivons Positivement

 

 

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