Rwanda warns Congo, UN against overlooking FDLR problem

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 5 October 2022 at 08:21

Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Claver Gatete has warned the international community and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), against continuing to overlook the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) problem by taking the threat it poses lightly.

FDLR is a terrorist group comprised of remnant masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Amb. Gatete voiced the concern on Friday to the UN Security Council, after receiving a report on the activities of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

He said that one of the factors that continue to cause insecurity in Congo and the region, includes the FDLR and other groups affiliated to it.

Amb. Gatete added that the concern lies in the way the Congolese Army (FARDC) came to the fore cooperating with the FDLR instead of fighting.

He revealed that it is unfortunate to hear that the FARDC and its affiliates are working with the FARDC yet such situations often lead to groups regrouping, recruiting new fighters and launching cross-border attacks.

Amb. Gatete underscored that FARDC should stop cooperating with armed and sanctioned groups like the FDLR.

He said that the FDLR should not be considered as a simple group yet there are evidences of the attacks it plotted to Rwanda recently that have caused a lot of damage.

Amb. Gatete gave the example of three attacks that have taken place this year, with the help of the Congolese Army.

The fact that the FDLR is in DRC, he said, is not something that should be taken lightly.

Amb. Gatete expressed concerns that a group guided by Genocide ideology should not be judged by the number of its members, because it can attack Rwandan territory, cause damages and kill people regardless of the size.

Based on these attacks recently plotted attacks, he highlighted that FDLR and its affiliated groups are clearly a serious problem to Rwanda’s security.

The President of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, recently told the UN General Assembly that the FDLR is an excuse because it is made up of people struggling to find means of survival that they ’cannot threaten the security of Rwanda’.

However, he said that the group killed the Italian Ambassador to Congo last year.

Amb Gatete also blamed speeches of some Congolese leaders, who drag Rwanda in the country’s problems to dodge their involvement.

He said that such acts fuel hate speeches against Kinyarwanda-speaking people and exacerbated the situation in eastern DRC.

Gatete also said that the way Congo externalize its problems is a serious concern noting that accepting its responsibility is one of the ways to find a solution.

He underscored that Rwanda will continue to do what it sees fit and protect its people and sovereignty.

Congo has been accusing Rwanda of contributing to the insecurity in the eastern part by supporting the M23 rebel group.

Rwanda has repeatedly rejected these accusations, saying that M23 problems that should be solved internally because the members of that group are Congolese, demanding rights in their country.

Amb. Gatete has said that FDLR should not be overlooked as it poses threat to Rwanda's security.