UN suspends support for DRC campaign against rebels

DRC President - Joseph Kabila

DRC President – Joseph Kabila

KINSHASA (AA) – The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has temporarily suspended its support for a DRC military campaign against Rwandan rebels, a source close to the mission said Wednesday.

According to the source, the Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) took the decision based on the participation in the campaign of two generals earlier accused of committing rights violations.

The mission had hinted earlier that it might suspend its support for the operation following the appointment of generals Bruno Mandevu and Sikabwe Fall to head up the DRC force tasked with disarming Rwanda’s FDLR rebel group in the east.

The UN mission justified its decision by pointing out that the two generals were both listed on the UN’s “Red List” due to earlier accusations that troops under their command had committed human rights violations – including summary executions and rape – in 2011 and 2012 during an operation against Rwandan rebels.

The FDLR, composed almost entirely of ethnic Hutus, is the main rebel group fighting against Rwanda’s ruling Tutsi-led regime. It is reportedly based in the DRC’s eastern region.

In mid-January, DRC and UN forces both voiced their readiness to launch joint operations against the FDLR rebels, but said they were awaiting a green light from DRC President Joseph Kabila.

Kabila, however, who is also supreme commander of the national army, announced days later that the offensive would only be conducted by DRC troops, while “operational, logistical and strategic” support would be provided by MONUSCO.

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