United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a phone call with Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President, Joseph Kabila, today appealed for decisive action against the armed group FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), after it failed to surrender on deadline.
Mr. Ban reiterated that the FDLR has “failed to deliver on its promise to disarm and that the deadline of 2 January had expired without significant results”, according to a read-out of the phone call provided by his spokesperson during the daily press briefing at UN Headquarters this afternoon.
The Secretary-General welcomed President Kabila’s assurance that his Government is ready to take action and noted that the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) is ready to engage in operations alongside the Congolese military, also known by the French acronym FARDC.
Echoing that sentiment, UN Force Commander of MONUSCO, Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz today in an interview with UN Radio said that as FDLR had failed to meet its deadline to surrender voluntarily, action to force disarmament may be imminent.
“As you know, 2 January was [the deadline] for the FDLR to surrender voluntarily. Unfortunately, they didn’t meet expectations. One option is to…defeat the FDLR and to force the surrender of this group,” General dos Santos Cruz said over the phone from DRC’s capital, Kinshasa.
“It is very important for FDLR to stop its activities in the eastern part of Congo to bring stability to the region. We don’t have only FDLR as an armed group but they are very important politically and their surrender is important to stability here,” General dos Santos Cruz added.
He explained that MONUSCO and the Congolese army have joined forces to follow-up on the progress of disarming the group. An upcoming 15 January meeting with several regional organizations is expected to focus on the matter and decide what action to take.
In the meantime, General dos Santos Cruz said that the leaders of the 2,000-strong FDLR take action toward surrendering based on international negotiations.
“They need to surrender to bring more stability to the eastern part of Congo and to the whole region. If they don’t comply with that, we are ready to follow up with the political authorities and we are going start operations against them,” the General warned.