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RELEASE PP/NO. 01/AUG/14

MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE EAST OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC): FAR FROM BEING A SOLUTION FOR RESTORING PEACE IN THE AFRICAN GREAT LAKES REGION, THEY COULD LEAD TO A HUMANITARIAN TRAGEDY IN THE ENTIRE REGION.

Lately, Mr. Martin Kobler, the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been promoting military operations aimed at forced disarmament of Rwandan combatants and forced repatriation of Rwandan refugees residing in Eastern DRC.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC/CND), a coalition of the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana) and the Rally of Rwandan People (RPR-Inkeragutabara) believes that such an approach is neither pragmatic nor realistic; it may even turn out to be even dangerous. In fact for almost two decades, several military operations were conducted against Rwandan refugees over the years and have shown their limits. Meanwhile, such operations have just left behind misery and desolation of mainly innocent people including the local population and the Rwandan refugees. Our organization has a firm conviction that this is time to come up with other solutions, other than military, if the real goal were to bring peace to the African our Great Lakes region. If this were the case, we are ready to propose a plan to the Presidents and Leaders of the governments of SADC and ICGLR countries, outlining a realistic approach for the peaceful and voluntary disarmament of Rwandan combatants based in Eastern DRC, including those of RUD and RPR’s National Army (AN-Imbonezagutabara) and for the return of durable peace in the African Great Lakes region.

Over the years RUD and RPR’ s AN-Imbonezagutabara combatants have consistently shown, through several concrete actions, their willingness for a voluntarily disarmament and their commitment to help restore peace. These actions include, for example, the voluntary disarmament that took place on July 31, 2008, in Kasiki, Lubero territory in North Kivu province. This process, that had the most chance to succeed, was, in part, sabotaged by some MONUSCO officials under the pretext that it was not initiated by MONUSCO.

Between MONUSCO and the combatants, the problem is the lack of trust.

During the preparatory phases of the voluntary disarmament ceremony in 2008, a meeting was held in Kasiki. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the DRC, Mr. ANTIPAS MBUSA NYAMWISI, the Governor of the province of North Kivu, Mr. JULIEN PALUKU, MONUSCO representatives, traditional chiefs, and the medias. During such a meeting, the combatants unequivocally told MONUSCO representatives that they did not trust MONUSCO, for the following two reasons: