With the deadline for the unconditional surrender of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) having passed on 2 January, and no significant additional surrenders of FDLR combatants registered since June, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is working to address the situation, a UN spokesperson said yesterday.
He said the Mission would work with regional and international stakeholders including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which established the deadline for the FDLR’s surrender, as well as with national partners.
“The Congolese Army will play an essential role in operations against the FDLR. The UN Mission and the Congolese Army have developed a joint military plan for operations against the FDLR,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric at a press briefing in New York.
“Shaping operations have already commenced. MONUSCO has pre-positioned its troops and enablers to support offensive operations against the FDLR in keeping with its mandate,” he added.
Earlier today, MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler updated the Security Council via video-conference on the FDLR and on the general security situation in the country, reporting the arrest of the Force de Résistance Patriotique de l’Ituri (FRPI) leader, Cobra Matata in Délé, on 2 January.
He also pointed to support given by MONUSCO to the Congolese Army during an attack against Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces rebels in North Kivu on 3 January, which killed five rebels and captured two others.
The six-month grace period for the full and unconditional surrender of the FDLR expired Friday. At that time, the UN and its partners urged that “all necessary measures” be taken to disarm the rebels, who have had a “long history of heinous crimes” in the DRC.
In a news release issued Friday, a team of international envoys that included Mr. Kobler and the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Said Djinnit noted with concern that the FDLR has not met this deadline.
“Instead, the FDLR has used this six-month grace period to continue to commit human rights abuses against innocent people in eastern DRC, recruit combatants, and champion its illegitimate political agenda,” said the news release.
“Ending the threat of the FDLR is not just a DRC responsibility; it is a regional and international responsibility. We all have a deep commitment to ensuring accountability for those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide,” the release continued.