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January 05-11, 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on January 12, 2015

Compiled by Berta Fürstová

Some regional governments lenient to military action against FDLR; MONUSCO launched offensive against Burundi’s FNL rebels in DRC; FARDC still arming FDLR; FDLR stepped up recruitment; UNSC presses Kabila to act against FDLR; Kigali criticises another diplomatic meetings
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 6 th January 2015

“‘Why FDLR won't disarm and why force is the only option” by Joseph Rwagatare

  • No action has been taken against the FDLR as the deadline to disarm has gone. Instead of the expected attack on the FDLR, one can see renewed diplomatic activity in the region.
  • Rwagatare points the reasons for the leniency of some regional governments towards FDLR:
  • The political survival of DRC president Kabila depends on the manipulation of the security situation in the east of his country. Kabila is also beholden to the FDLR fighters, some of whom are believed to form his close protection unit. Others are also believed to be part of the Congolese armed forces. Many more helped in the fight against M23 rebels. For Kabila and his major foreign backers, the FDLR is seen as a useful nuisance against Rwanda that will keep that country bogged down by security concerns and prevent it from playing any influential role in the region.
  • Tanzania has been active in trying to sanitise FDLR into a regular political organisation. President Jakaya Kikwete even advised President Kagame to negotiate with them. There were many reports of senior FDLR commanders travelling to Tanzania and being hosted at a very high level.
  • South Africa has been a haven to Rwandan fugitives from justice who pass themselves off as legitimate political dissidents. It is well-known that these fugitives have been trying to forge a united front with FDLR against Rwanda, with the tacit approval, if not outright support, of their hosts. Some of South Africa's leaders have huge mining and other commercial interests in DRC. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has been lately to Tanzania and Uganda to plead FDLR's cause. He has now come out with a statement asking for more patience with FDLR.
  • Malawi has a big, wealthy and influential constituency of FDLR supporters among Rwandan exiles in the country.
  • For the various concessionaires from the West and elsewhere, a united, stable Congo is not good for continued plunder.
  • “A certain person” at the UN Office of Peacekeeping Operations will thwart every effort to go after them with force. Some of those involved in renewed diplomacy are driven by animosity towards Rwanda.  

New Times, 6 th January 2015

“‘Is Monusco moving to strike FDLR militia?” by James Karuhanga

  • Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the UN Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese army have developed a joint military plan for operations against the FDLR rebels. The announcement followed a closed-door session of the UN Security Council.
  • Dujarric said that "shaping operations have already commenced as Monusco has prepositioned its troops and enablers to support offensive operations against the FDLR in keeping with its mandate.” Monusco and Congolese troops had launched offensives against Burundi's FNL rebels in eastern DR Congo what UN officials claimed was a tactical move. Dujarric added: "They (FNL) were occupying real estate (Monusco) needs to launch its operation against the FDLR."
  • Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DR Congo, Martin Kobler, updated the Security Council on January 5 via video-conference on the FDLR issue.

New Times, 8 th January 2015

“‘DR Congo still arming FDLR, says UN report” by James Munyaneza

  • According to a leaked report of UN Group of Experts, there is new evidence of continued collaboration between the Congolese army, FARDC, and FDLR, including giving ammunition to the combatants. "Three former FDLR combatants, including a former FDLR radio operator based at the FDLR headquarters who was receiving messages from FDLR units, told the Group that FDLR often obtained ammunition from FARDC elements," reads part of the report.
  • The new report also accuses the FDLR of stepping up a recruitment, including children, during the six-month ultimatum.
  • Commenting on this report, the Rwandan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, said Kigali had been "waiting patiently, fulfilling all its obligations toward the UNSG Framework, to see decisive action against the FDLR, only to witness inaction accompanied by excuses."
  • Mushikiwabo criticised what she described as "the same attitude toward Genocide perpetrators as 20 years ago," and warned that "violence and support for men who killed a million Rwandans takes a toll on a regional stability."

New Times, 9 th January 2015

“‘Security Council calls on Kabila to authorise anti-FDLR operations?” by James Munyaneza

  • The UN Security Council has called on DRC President Joseph Kabila to "approve swiftly and implement fully" joint operations by Congolese troops and UN peacekeepers in the country against the FDLR militia.
  • It underlined that the "swift neutralization of the FDLR is a top priority in bringing stability to and protecting the civilians of the DRC and the Great Lakes region.”
  • The Security Council reiterated "its readiness to consider targeted sanctions against any individual or entity found to be supporting the FDLR".
  • The statement came a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke on phone with President Kabila and pressed him to authorise an attack on the militia group.

New Times, 9 th January 2015

“‘Luanda summit on FDLR 'a waste of time, money'” by James Munyaneza

  • Foreign Affairs and Cooperation minister Louise Mushikiwabo said she was surprised that the upcoming regional summit on the FDLR in the Angolan capital Luanda was to discuss the way forward regarding the militia's refusal to disarm during a grace period of six months that passed on January 2.
  • "I was very surprised to read in the media that the Summit is supposed to discuss the way forward for FDLR; for Rwanda, it's enough with the talking!" she told The New Times.
  • The minister said: "If concerned countries and Monusco are not ready to take military action, then at least they should not waste scarce time and money in endless meetings, repeating the same thing…There is no other way forward to decide than military action agreed more than a year ago, by the UN, the African Union, and the same SADC-ICGLR joint Summit.”
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