MONUSCO accused of standing by and watch resurgence of FDLR

By Musangwa Arthur
On 1 August 2022 at 11:13

Troops deployed under the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) have been accused of standing by and watch the resurgence of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Congolese Army (FARDC) has been accused of collaboration with armed groups including FDLR during its fight with M23 rebel group.

Meanwhile, MONUSCO which has been present in the country for over 20 years is blamed for complicity over standing by and watching the collaboration with the terrorist group continuing.

The peacekeeping troops have the mission of fighting armed groups which have cemented their presence in eastern DRC.

Despite their presence since 1999, the groups have been increasing where a large number of civilians continue to die in different attacks.

Congolese accuse MONUSCO of working in the interests of foreign countries instead of delivering on their mission.

The accusations saw Congolese staging protests demanding the troops to depart from the country over failing to deliver on their mission.

Recent demonstrations which took place in towns including Goma and Butembo left 15 people killed. These include two police personnel and a military peacekeeper.

As he appeared in an interview aired on Radio Moto belonging to the Catholic Church in DRC, the Bishop of Butembo-Beni Diocese, Sikuli Paluku Melchisédech has criticized the UN troops over their failure to address security problems.

He pointed out an example of FDLR where a large number of combatants laid arms down and spent three years in Kanyabayonga camp protected by MONUSCO.

In 2018, the combatants were relocated to areas bordering with Goma but were not returned to Rwanda. At the time, Actualite.cd media house reported that at least 352 FDLR combatants were relocated.

Appearing in the interview, Bishop Sikuli said: “MONUSCO tells a lie by announcing that there are no Rwandans present in Congo because they did not address the issue of FDLR combatants who had been brought together in Kanyabayonga located in my diocese."

“After a while, they are no longer talked about yet killings intensified. One sure thing is that they did not return to Rwanda,” he said.

Bishop Sikuli revealed that the combatants did not return home yet there are other FDLR combatants received in the same year, before and after.

“In brief, they resurged to conduct their activities in the diocese and its surroundings,” he noted.

Bishop Sikuli requested DRC to review its agreements with MONUSCO to determine whether it is still needed on its territory.

He however observed that MONUSCO needs to leave the country voluntarily lest the situation worsens further.

“They need to make the decision on their own. Why should they stay here after realizing that they do not have space? They need not wait until citizens’ anger escalates at such extent. It is something that can be done in accordance with agreements, and negotiations between the United Nations and our government,” said Bishop Sikuli.

He also reminisced on UN troops’ failure to protect civilians during their stay in Congo.

“Should we clap our hands without witnessing improvements? We thank them for what they did well but we have to reflect on inflicted pain in situations where they failed us, which is against their mission of protecting civilians. The killing of civilians continues,” said Bishop Sikuli.

Recently, Rwanda requested MONUSCO not to stand by and watch the collaboration between FARDC and FDLR continuing.

Congolese in anti-MONUSCO protests last month.