UN, DRC forces to resume joint fight against FDLR rebels

Monday February 1 2016

A UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) armoured

A UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) armoured personnel carrier on patrol on November 5, 2013 on Chanzu hill in the eastern North Kivu. MONUSCO and the DRC army will carry out joint operations to defeat the FDLR rebels. AFP FILE PHOTO | JUNIOR KANNAH 

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The United Nations military force has joined forces with the Democratic Republic of Congo government to conduct joint operations against the FDLR rebel group.

The initiative announced by the UN last week on Thursday puts an end to a nearly year-long stalemate between the UN forces, known as MONUSCO, and the DRC army.

Disagreement over human rights issues had prevented the two forces from carrying out a long-planned offensive intended to defeat the FDLR, which has been terrorising the eastern DRC for 20 years.

The group comprises mainly of Rwandan Hutu rebels believed responsible for a rampage earlier this week that left 14 Congolese villagers dead and drove 20,000 others from their homes.

That attack continues the "cycle of misery" experienced by millions of Congolese victimised by the FDLR and other rebel groups, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.

The anti-FDLR partnership between MONUSCO and the DRC army broke last year over human rights violation claims.

The UN had refused to take part in operations against the FDLR due to involvement of two DRC generals who are alleged to have been involved in major human rights violations.

The DRC government had rejected UN demands that the two commanders be removed from their posts.

Neither DRC nor UN officials are saying whether the two generals will lead the new offensive.

A UN spokesman in New York did not comment on the two generals in an email to the Nation.

"The support of MONUSCO to such operations will continue to be provided in full compliance with United Nations human rights due diligence policy," wrote spokesman Farhan Haq.