Maj Gen Nyakarundi discusses DRC’s reluctance to combat FDLR

By Esther Muhozi
On 9 May 2024 at 04:02

The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Army Chief of Staff, Major General Vincent Nyakarundi, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the mediation talks taking place in Luanda, Angola, while the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has pledged to dismantle the armed group FDLR, yet continues to collaborate with them.

This was covered in a discussion on the history of the preparation, implementation, and cessation of the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, as well as Rwanda’s journey of rebuilding afterward.

The discussion kicked off the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi at the Saint Ignace Center in Kigali.

Maj Gen Nyakarundi mentioned that when the Genocide was halted, the RPA Inkotanyi forces thought it was over, but some perpetrators fled to DRC and formed groups like the FDLR, and they still intend to destabilize Rwanda’s security.

He said, "So we thought the war had ended, but the ideology had not. From 1996, 1997, 1998, they returned to attack again. The genocidaires who had fled to Mugunga in Congo came back to attack. So, what we did was to issue directives to go and separate the citizens from the killers."

Maj Gen Nyakarundi pointed out that it was challenging to differentiate between Interahamwe, Ex-FAR, and other Rwandans who had fled to camps in Eastern Congo, including Mugunga, but it was accomplished, and millions who had been held hostage by these killers returned.

Maj Gen Nyakarundi explained that Mobutu Sese Seko’s regime promised the founders of the FDLR help to capture Rwanda, and his successors up to the current Felix Tshisekedi with continued promises assuring FDLR of taking over Rwanda.

He also noted that the DRC government continued to collaborate with the FDLR regardless of the massacres the group continues to commit against Congolese people.

Maj Gen Nyakarundi also touched on how this has led to an increase in Congolese refugees, including those hosted in Rwanda to this day.

He stated, "That’s why you hear there are talks between the Rwandan and Congolese governments, mediated in Angola by the President of Angola, to have these people return home and dismantle the FDLR, but it’s not easy. We do not know what plagues the Congolese."

He mentioned that the difficulty lies in the lack of willingness from the country to dismantle the FDLR as stipulated by the Luanda agreements, yet it is among the foremost threats to its own people’s security.

Recently, the DRC’s Foreign Minister, Christophe Lutundula, stated that Congo’s forces will not combat the FDLR, suggesting that Rwanda, which has issues with the group, should be the one to deal with it.

In March this year, Lutundula signed the outcomes of meetings held in Angola, promising to collaborate with his government to show readiness to eradicate the FDLR, which has been in Congo for 30 years.

Major General Nyakarundi pointed out that the Congolese government lacks a solid plan to dismantle the FDLR, and among those being killed are its own citizens.