ICGLR wants action on FDLR rebels
Leaders of the Great Lakes Region have zeroed on resorting to military action against Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, a rebel group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chaired by International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) chairman, also Angolan leader José Eduardo dos Santos, summit brought together President Museveni of Uganda, President Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, President Kikwete of Tanzania and President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Angolan leader José Eduardo dos Santos, said the rebels should not been given a safe haven in the region and action to eliminate the negative forces is needed.
“We cannot allow rebel groups, without any social support base, to continue undermining the rule of law and the integrity of national borders, to destabilise the economic and social life and to keep the populations hostage,” he said.
The Heads of States recommended coordinated efforts aimed at continued repatriation of those willing to disarm and return voluntarily and engaging urgently military actions against those unwilling to disarm and impose political and economic sanctions against all negative forces.
President Paul Kagame has repeatedly been quoted saying that the FDLR is a problem now and it has been a problem for a long time and suggesting that there isn’t much the region can achieve if the FDLR is not eliminated.
“We knew there wasn’t much we could achieve if we didn’t start eliminating the threat of the FDLR, they are a security threat to both Rwanda and Congo, their presence in Congo alone causing huge loss of human life” Kagame said in interview with with The Guardian’s Susan Schulman.
Kagame also said that Rwanda is willing to support DR Congo to restore peace in the region but has also noted that the way the FDLR problem has been handled and mentioned by international community, has not been helpful but instead it increases these prejudices.
Regional army and police forces have also this year recommended the need to have combined efforts in combating rebel and terrorist groups, of which Rwanda has succumbed to with some of the FDLR rebel throwing grenades killing civilians in Kigali.
Ahead of the Angola meet, United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes of Africa, Russell Dana “Russ” Feingold, this March, visited the region to assess the DR Congo peace process and held talks with President Paul Kagame.
Feingold said he thought there was unlimited future for Rwanda and DRC once outstanding issues are solved.
He also commended Rwanda for its initiative of providing shelter for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, and hoped that the collaboration between Rwanda and the international community, the regional issues would be resolved.