MONUSCO demobilize ex-FDLR soldiers, Rwanda redeploys them to join M23

MONUSCO patrolling streets of Goma

“Former Rwandan Defence Forces [RDF] officers and politicians and M23 collaborators indicated that ex-FDLR combatants from within the RDF Reserve Force have been remobilized and deployed to Runyoni alongside M23,” says UN Group of Experts Addendum.

Many people are strongly convinced that the problem of insecurity in the Great Lakes region, and particularly in Democratic Republic of Congo, is not due to rebel movements, whatever number there is presently, but dictatorships in Kigali and Kampala who need them to perpetuate themselves into power. The revelations below which are extracted from the UN Group of Experts Addendum published on 27 June 2012 are loudly telling. And they raise critical questions on the whole rationale of having militia and rebel forces operating in DRC demobilised, when they can be redeployed in the same manner by the culprit regimes.

Demobilized ex-FDLR

Several sources confirmed to the group of UN experts that Rwanda was remobilising ex-combatants for sending them in DRC to support M23.

“20. The RDF has also deployed demobilized former FDLR combatants to reinforce M23. According to several former senior FDLR officers, all former combatants of Rwandan armed groups, upon completion of the Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission’s programme, are automatically enrolled in the RDF Reserve Force, commanded by General Fred Ibingira. As members of the Reserve Force, they can be ordered to deploy on behalf of the RDF on short notice. Former RDF officers and politicians and M23 collaborators indicated that ex-FDLR combatants from within the RDF Reserve Force have been remobilized and deployed to Runyoni alongside M23. Active FDLR officers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo also confirmed this remobilization of previously repatriated FDLR combatants. According to Rwandan former M23 combatants who escaped from Runyoni, small groups of former demobilized combatants arrive every day and are dispatched between the various M23 positions.”

Rwandan Reserve Force is reported to be the ground for recruitment of demobilised ex-FDLR

“21. The Group interviewed two former FDLR, who had previously been demobilized in Rwanda and were sent to Runyoni in May 2012. Both belonged to the Reserve Force. One was deployed after being called by RDF officers, while the other was invited to join a meeting with other demobilized soldiers when he was instructed to depart for military service. Both were taken to the military base at Kinigi, where they received weapons and ammunition, and were escorted to Runyoni in the same way as the civilian recruits. Both testified that they had been sent to Runyoni in a group with 70 other people, among whom 31 were demobilized soldiers. Upon arrival, they saw 11 other demobilized soldiers at Chanzu (see S/2012/348, para. 123).”

M23 has also been vigorously recruiting locals for engagement in combat. The report indicates that:

“123. Two other escapees told the Group that they had been caught while attempting to flee combats in Masisi at the end of April, forced to carry military equipment to their military positions and then forced to join the ranks of the mutineers. One of the witnesses had been forced to carry the  luggage of military soldiers under the command of Col. Ngaruye and Col. Karangwa until their position, where he had seen 12 other men who had been recruited in the same way. Another civilian stated that he had been recruited by the mutineers in Kirolirwe, together with eight other men, forced to carry ammunition boxes, then to engage in combat for M23 at Runyoni. FARDC officers, surrendered mutineers and local leaders reported that the mutineers had continued to recruit in Runyoni. Civilians from the village of Chanzu reported that Gen. Ntaganda and Col. Makenga had carried out sensitization meetings in which they had encouraged the population to provide recruits to the movement. According to surrendered combatants, M23 was training those new recruits in Chanzu.” 

We have been recently pointing out that inside Rwanda as well there were security related operations which were, according to sources in the country, feeding M23 with new recruits.

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