The hunted Hutu militia in DR Congo, known as the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), is reported to be reunited again, equipped to continue its atrocities and ready to assassinate the top government officials who supported the joint Rwanda and Congolese military operation against their cartel.
According to a Monuc (UN Peacekeeping force) spokesperson, Captain Karl Fuller, the joint attack this year by the 800 strong Congolese and Rwandan armies had failed to neutralize the rebels. The five-week joint operation had only succeeded in scattering the FDLR rebels.
The FDLR leaders are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide of Rwandan Tutsis.
After years of mutual animosity between DR Congo and Rwanda, the two armies worked together in an operation against the Hutu group. The Hutu militia’s presence in eastern DR Congo has been viewed as a major factor in the region’s instability since the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Reports claim that the rebels have taken over the mines around the village of Pinga. The village is said to be particularly vulnerable as it is surrounded by mountains, allowing the rebels to easily retreat and attack at will. According to Capt. Fuller, the UN peacekeeping force had fought off several attacks by hundreds of FDLR militiamen on Pinga.”We managed to repel them (Hutu FDLR) but their intention was to come and loot and then obviously to kill.”
Five months ago, 3000 troops were approved by the UN to be deployed to Congo to assist in halting the FDLR, but there is still no sign of the troops in the conflict-ridden country as the UN force Chief in Congo complained that his force was overstretched and unable to respond effectively to outbreaks of violence.
Capt. Fuller, in reaction to the seemingly unstoppable Hutu militia violence has said: “They’ve been here for the past 10 years, so they know this area, it’s known to them and they have fled their specific strongholds to the mountainous areas and they were not found.” he said referring to the FDLR militia. “There are civilians here that have physically told the RDF [Rwanda Defence Force] when they came in: ‘This is where the FDLR strongholds are, go there and take them out.’ But now they’ve come to hear of it, the FDLR has even put out a hit list.”
However, civilians in the troubled region need not worry only about the Hutu rebels. According to Capt. Fuller, civilians could also be at risk from Congolese government forces, some of whom have not been paid for three months and are not getting adequate rations. “Some of them feel that they are going to pick up arms themselves against the civilian population that they are supposed to protect,” he said.