By Frank Kamuntu
Goma: Military officers from DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania who met in the Eastern DR Congo City of Goma on Thursday and Friday, eventually agreed on a joint plan to track and eradicate foreign and Congolese armed Militia in the vast country.
The meeting was a follow up to the one held mid-September in which senior military officers from the five African Great Lakes countries looked into the possibility of establishing a joint plan to get rid of foreign and Congolese armed groups in eastern DR Congo.
The final plan of the meeting which was also attended by commanders of the UN Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) and those from the United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM), which oversees American troops on the African continent, does not involve joint military operations on Congolese soil as as the case in the past.
Congolese army (FARDC) spokesperson, Gen. Léon-Richard Kasonga, said: “The final report commits the participants to consider a number of actions, notably the pooling together of efforts and logistics to bring peace to the east of the country and within the sub-region. We will pool resources and means. This does not mean calling on military forces that will come to operate on Congolese territory.”
He added that “We are pooling efforts to track these people on our borders. These people cross all the borders of other countries and wreak havoc, and we must be on the alert. We must organize ourselves in order to do this job.”
The armed groups in question include a myriad of militias from Congo’s neighbors, including Rwanda. Some of them have made deadly incursions into Rwanda in the recent past but were repulsed and many captured.
DR Congo’s new President, Félix Tshisekedi, has made it clear he is to deal with the issues slowing down his country’s development, including war and insecurity.
Negative Rwandan elements likely to be targeted include the genocidal FDLR, formed and led by perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and NRC, a terrorist organization blamed for a spate of deadly grenade attacks in Rwanda in recent years.
Even after the regional military officers met and established a working plan, it remains to be seen how the countries can work together considering that some of them are heavily linked with some of the armed groups.
Two senior leaders of the FDLR militia who were arrested by Congolese authorities last year and later transferred to Kigali have since confessed in court that they were seized as they returned from a meeting with Uganda and RNC officials in Kampala.
The meeting in Goma came just weeks after the Congolese army killed FDLR’S Overall commander Sylvester Mudacumura as it stepped up operations against the armed groups in which many P5/RNC fighters have since been killed or captured.
Mudacumura was, until his death, the Supreme Commander of FDLR’s military wing – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FOCA)