US denounces collaboration between FARDC and FDLR

On 6 January 2023 at 09:43

The United States of America (USA) have condemned the collaboration between Congolese Army (FARDC) and armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). It has also called on M23 rebel group and other armed groups to cease hostilities as per Luanda resolutions.

The US denounced the collaboration through a statement released on Wednesday 4th January 2022, few days after the publication of the report of UN Group of Experts on security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The report pointed out different things fueling insecurity in eastern DRC including the collaboration between FARDC and armed groups like FDLR and hate speeches against Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese among others.

FDLR is a terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The UN group of experts’ report released on 30th December 2022, pointed out the collaboration between FARDC and FDLR during a fighting with M23 at different times.

The coalition of FARDC and FDLR also shelled rockets on Rwandan territory at different times, which injured civilians and destroyed properties.

The US has denounced the collaboration and called on all armed groups to lay arms down.

“We denounce the collaboration between elements of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and armed groups, including FDLR, as outlined in the report. We strongly condemn attacks by multiple armed groups against UN peacekeepers, as well as the reported acts of torture, rape, and attacks against civilians by multiple armed actors which contributed to massive displacement,” reads part of the statement.

The country has also accused Rwanda of supporting M23 as highlighted in the report, and requested it to cease all support to M23 and withdraw its troops from eastern DRC.

Rwanda has repeatedly refuted the allegations and called the fighting with M23 an internal problem of DRC which resulted from failure to implement peace accords signed in 2013.

For several months, Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese have been facing violence, torture while others were killed accused of being allies of M23.

The US has underscored concern about the worrying escalation of xenophobia and hate speech inciting violence against the Rwandophone community in the DRC which was highlighted in the report.

“We urge DRC officials to continue speaking out to condemn such discourse and to hold accountable those who employ violence,” adds the statement.

The United States also commended African-led diplomatic efforts, including the Nairobi and Luanda processes, to promote peace.

“Recognizing the leadership of the Heads of State of the East African Community and Angola, we urge Great Lakes leaders and armed actors to expedite implementation of multiple commitments to end the conflict, especially those agreed at the November 23 Luanda Mini-Summit on Peace and Security,” reads the statement.

“We expect the UN-sanctioned March 23 Movement [M23] to withdraw to the locations specified in the November 23 Luanda communiqué, and we call for all armed groups, including M23, to cease all hostilities, lay down their weapons, and join the East African Community-led Nairobi Process consultations between the DRC government and armed groups,” adds the statement.

Nairobi talks led to different resolutions including the call for armed groups cease hostilities, need for establishment of a joint committee between DRC, EAC and armed groups to expedite peace efforts.

M23 recently reiterated its commitment to withdraw from occupied areas. It has so far handed over Kibumba to the East African Regional Force (EACRF).

US has denounced the collaboration between FARDC and FDLR.