UN Launches Ops Against Rwanda Rebels In DRC

The United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have launched military operations against a Rwandan Hutu rebel militia group active along the country’s eastern border with Rwanda.
UN forces in Democratic Republic of Congo (file photo)
UN forces in Democratic Republic of Congo (file photo)

On Tuesday, UN commander General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz said on UN-backed Radio Okapi that the UN troops would attack rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in an attempt to secure a road between the eastern Congolese towns of Kitchanga and Pinga.

“Everyone knows that the presence of armed groups along the border creates problems with the neighboring states,” said the general.

In November, soldiers of the UN’s newly formed intervention brigade backed the Congolese army with artillery and attack helicopters, which finally resulted in defeating rebels of the March 23 movement (M23) in the east of the country.

“We have already intensified patrols and observation along the border and we are planning operations against all rebel positions along the frontier,” Dos Santos Cruz added.

The FDLR, is a Hutu rebel group, which was formed out of militias operating in eastern Congo since fleeing the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus by Rwanda.

On April 6 of that year, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down. Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was also killed in the plane crash.

The genocide began after the crash, when Hutus were incited to commit acts of ethnic violence against Tutsis, another ethnic group in the region.

Several armed groups have been active in eastern Congo, which holds the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including cell phones.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.

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