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January 12-19, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for The Democratic Republic of Congo
Posted on January 19, 2015

Contents

Compiled by Marie Lamensch

  • Military offensive against the FDLR
  • Military offensive against the FRPI
  • Other Armed Groups
  • Election Law
  • Rwanda stealing DRCongo’s Coltan?

Military offensive against the FDLR
State-owned media

(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)
RDC-FDLR/Désarmement : Tout est fin prêt pour passer à l’offensive, selon la MONUSCO

  • MONUSCO and the FARDC are ready to launch military operations against the FDLR, and are waiting for the order.
  • According to the UN mission the FDLR is scattered and very mobile, some militants are hiding within the population. MONUSCO and the FARDC are well prepared to face these challenges and avoid collateral damages.
(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 13 January 2015, in English)
Le sommet des Chefs d’Etat de la CIRGL n’aura pas lieu, déclare le Secrétaire d’Etat angolais aux relations extérieures
 
  • The extraordinary summit of the ICGLR scheduled for mid-January in Angola will not take place. The aim of the summit was to discuss the disarmament of the FDLR.
  • The Angolan Secretary of State said the summit had been convened not by Angola but by “other sources” and Angola believes that the issue has been debated enough. The decision taken by heads of states must be implemented since the ultimatum given to the FDLR has expired. Angola is committed to helping the DRC.
(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 12 January 2015, in English)
Examen de la question de l’ultimatum imposé aux FDLR.
  • The Minister of National Defense, Aimé Ngoy Mukena, spoke with the ambassadors of the US and the UK about the ultimatum given to the FDLR and other active armed groups in the DRC.
  • The diplomats argued for a beginning of the military operations against the FDLR. As agreed by the President, other countries in the region, the SADC, and the ICGLR. • The US ambassador indicated that US provided information to the Congolese Minister Defense about military justice, civil and military operations, and military training. 
(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 11 January 2015, in English)
Le gouvernement confirme l’option de désarmement forcé des FDLR
  • The Minister of Communication and Media, Lambert Mende, affirmed that the government maintains the military option against the FDLR. The disarmament will take place “in due time”, “in synergy with” MONUSCO and using the most appropriate means available.
  • Mende announced a meeting in Angola of the members of the ICGLR and the SADC in order to coordinate strategies. Mende denied that the DRC is only conducting these operations to comply with external pressures. It is the national interest of the DRC is to get rid of the threat posed by the FDLR.
  • He dismissed rumors of a political dialog with Kigali, a rumor started by the FDLR.
  • He also added that measures have be taken to prevent that operations against the FDLR be used as a pretext to steal the country’s natural resources.
Privately-owned media

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 12 January 2015, in English)

FDLR : tout le monde devant un dilemme

  • The future of the FDLR constitutes a challenge for several actors.
  • Rwanda lived under constant threat of a rebellion as long as the FDLR is not disarmed. Kigali dilemma is whether to accept the FDLR’s demand or to reject them and continue to live under the group’s threat.
  • For security reasons, the DRC must get rid of the FDLR but the tracking the rebels is difficult considering their knowledge of the terrain.
  • The UN has made the neutralization of the FDLR their priority.
  • OCHA fears that military operations against the FDLR will affect the loves of thousands of people in the DRC and OCHA’s capacity to provide aid.
  • The fight against the FDLR “is easier said than done. But it must take place.”

(Le Potentiel, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)

Traque des FDLR: Le feu verts du gouvernement congolais attendu

  • The government has yet to give its green light to military operations against the FDLR? 14 days after the end of the ultimatum.
  • MONUSCO reiterated its commitment. The UN Security Council, the government, the ICGLR, and the SADC have all opted for the military operation. MONUSCO’s spokesperson added that the “D DAY” cannot be announced for security reasons.
  • The head of MONUSCO, Martin Köbler, met with the humanitarian community in Goma to discuss measures taken to protect civilian populations.
  • The FARDC and MONUSCO intensified deployments in the zones under the FDLR’s control. According to MONUSCO several members of the FDLR are hiding within the population to avoid being targeted or to use civilians as human shields. Kobler explained that everything will be done to protect civilians from the consequences of the war.

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 13 January 2015, in English)

Le sommet de Luanda sur la RDC annulé: L’offensive contre les FDLR peut-elle attendre ?

  • The military offensive against the FDLR is yet to be launched, despite the end of the ultimatum set by the ICGLR and the SADC. Monusco has urged Kinshasa to give the green light.
  • The summit in Angola has been canceled, which pleases Kigali. Before the cancellation, Rwanda’s Foreign Affair Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the New Times that the summit was “loss of time and money” and demanded action against the FDLR.
  • The South African president is said to be frustrated by the cancellation of the summit, which would have confirmed the military option against the FDLR.
  • Is the decision is a consequence of Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s visit to Angola in December? President Zuma asked Angola for explanations, especially since Kigali has long accused South Africa of preventing military offensive against the FDLR.
  • Only 337 FDLR militants have voluntarily surrender, 26% of the 1300 combatants present in the DRC according to Congolese authorities. Monusco says there are at least 2000 combatants, Rwanda says more than 3000.

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)

Guerre de l’Est : plus de 5 millions de morts, les Congolais un peuple sans mémoire ?

  • The attacks in Paris led to mass protest in France and almost around the world where people expressed their solidarity with the French people and government. 50 world leaders attended the March in Paris.
  • The journalist wonders why the DRC has always stayed silent in the face of the death of 4-5 million Congolese. The fault of the victims to live in a resource-rich country.
  • Congolese leaders should have decreed a national day of mourning. He wonders whether they regard the victims’ lives as worthless.
  • All Congolese people, including civil society groups, churches and association, have a responsibility to honor the victims.
State-controlled media, Rwanda

(New Times, state-controlled media, Rwanda, 19 January 2015)

Rwanda: Disarming FDLR Militia - Kabila Holds Key (Editorial)

  • The FDLR will not disappear as long as “Kinshasa stops propping up the genocidal militia and round up the bandits whose whereabouts in the vast country are well known to the Congolese government.”
  • According to analysts, the FDLR continues to “nurse genocide ideology”.
  • If Kinshasa has the will to do so, it could get rid of the rebels without firing a shot. The Congolese should cut off arms supplies and prevent them from plundering national resources.
  • Individuals without the government and security institutions have “a soft spot” for the FDLR. The rebels have also infiltrated the Congolese army.
  • Edouard Munyamaliza, president Rwanda Civil Society Platform, says “Kinshasa has not demonstrated the will to disarm and demobilize the militia.” 
  • The ICGLR and SADC should also stop talking and organizing meetings and start acting.
  • It is alleged that the FDLR continues to recruit, despite the ultimatum set by the UN Security Council. 
  • The UN and national military forces are unwilling to use the same force they used against the M23 against the FDLR.
  • Kinshasa holds the solution against the FDLR.

(New Times, state-controlled media, Rwanda, 19 January 2015)

Congolese Civilians Deserve No Less (Editorial)

  • Despite the end of the ultimatum “the threat to forcibly disarm them (the FDLR) has remained a dead letter. Monusco’s guns remain silent.”
  • According to the journalist, the FDLR is not Monusco’s priority and regard them as “clients”, people “they would rather have them on their side.”
  • The international community should push Monusco to act. “The Congolese civilians who have borne the brunt of the violence for the last two decades deserve no less.”
State-owned media

(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)

RDC-Groupes armés/ Lancement de l’opération de désarmement forcé des éléments de la FRPI

  • The FARDC launched operations against the FRPI (Force de résistance populaire de l’Ituri) in Province Orientale (north-east), according to MONUSCO, which provides logistical help. MONUSCO’s spokesperson confirmed the success of the operation and welcomed the professionalism of the army. Yet he is fearful of reprisal attacks against civilians, such as the use of children as human shields.
  • Negotiations with the FRPI have been ongoing since 2014 to convince them to surrender peacefully. However Cobra Matata’s men have refused to voluntarily disarm.
Privately-owned media

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 19 January 2015, in English)

Après le refus des rebelles de se rendre, les FARDC et les éléments de la FRPI s’affrontent

  • The FARDC and the FRPI are fighting each other in Ayeba, after the militant group refused to disarm and attempted to flee. According to sources, the FRPI attacked the FARDC.
  • The Congolese army has re-taken control of Aveba following intense fighting, which has caused 15 000-30 000 people to flee. 14 FRPI combatants and 6 soldiers have died.
  • Civilians remain anxious and fear the FRPI possible return

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)

Désarmement volontaire à Bunia : La FRPI de Cobra Matata monte les enchères

  • The FRPI and the FARDC-MONUSCO are discussing voluntary disarmement. Cobra Matata has already surrendered. The FRPI made specific demands: amnesty and integration within the FARDC. The government has yet to react to these demands.
  • Tensions are rife between the two sides and military operations are expected, despite attempts by Monusco and the FARDC to have peaceful talks.
  • MONUSCO director in charge of child protection want all child soldiers to be freed.
  • The demands made by the FRPI are unlikely to get accepted, especially since, in the past, some of them attempted to infiltrate institutions via the DDR program. 
Other armed groups
State-owned media

(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 14 January 2015, in English)

La démission de René Abandi de l’ex-M23 : un acte prémédité

  • The coordinator chosen by the former M23 has resigned but it will have no consequences on the engagements taken by the M23 and the Congolese government in the Addis Ababa Accords and Nairobi declaration.
  • The Congolese government underlined that it is respecting its engagements. 

(Agence Congolaise Presse, government-owned news agency, article dated 11 January 2015, in English)

L’arrestation du chef mai-mai Sheka toujours à l’ordre du jour

  • Government spokesperson Lambert Mende affirmed that the arrest of militia leader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka is still on the agenda. There is an international arrest warrant against Sheka for crimes against humanity.
  • Sheka’s fate will not be different from that of Bosco Ntaganda or Thomas Lubanga (both at the ICC), how ever long it may take.
Privately-owned media

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 15 January 2015, in English)

Opérations lancées contre les rebelles burundais FNL au Sud Kivu : Très bénéfiques pour les populations civiles

  • Security has returned to the Uvira Plateau and Ruzizi plains thanks to military operations against the Burundian group FNL. Monusco’s spokesperson confirmed the operations and is it “cleaning” phase.
  • The operation incited other Mai Mai leaders to surrender. The FNL leader has proposed to surrender, according the UN Secretary General representative general Abdalah Wafy, and contact has been made to make this happen.
  • The population as well as humanitarian NGOs are said to be satisfied. Lately, there has been 10 incidents a day.
  • The successful operations against the FNL send a strong message to armed groups still active in the region.
  • Monusco’s general Carlos Alberto reminded that whenever armed groups are in trouble, they negotiate their surrender. But he refuses to accept negotiations.
Election Law
Privately-owned media

(Le Potentiel, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 19 January 2015, in English)

Le Glissement : Tout est consommé

  • The General Assembly has voted for the revision of the election law, and the Senate is likely to agree. The organization of the elections at the agreed date is now hypothetical.
  • The Potentiel fears for national unity and a possible cycle of violence in the DRC, and calls for dialogue.

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 19 January 2015, in English)

Adoptée samedi sous haute surveillance policière, la loi électorale sauvée des scènes de perturbation prévues ce lundi

  • Following discussion on the revision of the election law, the People’s Palace and its surrounding remained under high surveillance on Saturday and police forces have been deployed to control access to the Parliament.
  • The opposition has threatened to boycott the vote of the election law.
  • On of the amendments includes a national population census before the elections. This could take one, two or three years, longer if badly organized, according to honorable Lapika Dimomfu. The latter believes that there is a risk that the information won’t be collected on time to organize the elections. He believes there are hidden agendas at play. 

(L’Observateur, independent/privately-owned newspaper, article dated 13 January 2015, in English)

Hier à l’Assemblée nationale, la nouvelle loi électorale présentée sur fond des vives altercations

  • There were tensions at the National Assembly during the examination of the new election law. The bill initiated by the government was booed by deputies of the opposition, who tried to prevent the plenary from taking place. The security apparatus in place prevent protesters from entering the building to support deputies. The MPs eventually left the building. 
  • The opposition views a revision of the election as a way to prolong President Kabila’s mandate beyond 2016.
Rwanda stealing DR Congo’s Coltan?
State-controlled media, Rwanda

(News of Rwanda, state-controlled media, Rwanda, 16 January 2015)

Rwanda: Kagame Says Rwanda Not Plundering DRC Coltan

  • President Paul Kagame rejected claims that Rwanda is plundering the DRC’s Coltan, and offered to take those who these accusations to visit Rwanda’s own mines and test the minerals.
  • “Sometimes the World creates mountains out of nothing and just enjoy spreading rumours and confusion”, said Kabila
  • Rwanda is the world's single largest exporter of tantalum mineral, according to the government
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