Congolese army launch military operation to disarm Rwandan rebels

February 2, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

dide ntumba



Sylvain Muyali

The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) last Thursday launched a military operation ‘Sokola 2’ for the forced disarmament of Rwandan FDLR rebels.

Army Chief of Staff, General Didier Etumba during a joint press briefing in Beni, North Kivu with the Commander of the Forces of UN stabilisation mission MONUSCO stated:

“So today we are launching as the DRC Armed Forces of new operations against the FDLR to force them to disarm. And we received again the support of MONUSCO for these operations.”

According to General Etumba, Rwandan rebels of the FDLR, estimated at more than thousand combatants, will be disarmed by FARDC with the support of MONUSCO.

“For six months I had personally ordered as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces to prepare operations against the FDLR. They were numerous enough, having 7 – 7500 fighters. And today, they are not. According to reliable sources, a maximum now of 1,400 fighters” added General Etumba.

He stated also that the Congolese army and MONUSCO will regularly assess the situation.

“We also agree with MONUSCO on the fact that we regularly have to make joint assessments at the tactical and operational level but at the the strategic level also. This operation against the FDLR is part of the ‘Sokola 2’ military operation, ” General Etumba stated.

For its part, the commander of the forces of MONUSCO, General Dos Santos Cruz said that MONUSCO will utilise all means at its disposal and in accordance with its mandate to support the FARDC in disarming the FDLR rebels.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda is a rebellion based in eastern DRC and composed of Rwandan Hutu fighters who had crossed the border after the 1994 genocide. They are regularly accused of atrocities against civilians in the territories they held, particularly in North and South Kivu.

The International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Community of States of Southern Africa (SADC) had given them a six month ultimatum which ended on January 2nd, 2015 to disarm voluntarily. Twenty six percent of these fighters voluntarily disarmed, according to the Kinshasa government which predicted that military operations were inevitable to neutralise the FDLR.





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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