By Moses Gisa
In another defeat for Congo-based terror groups, a military operation has gunned down four fighters of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, and captured one of its officers, a lieutenant.
According to Rwanda Tribune – an online news outlet, the firefight took place last Friday in the Bukombo region of Rutshuru Territory, North Kivu Province. The terrorists were killed in what’s described as a fierce battle between FARDC, the Congolese military, and the FDLR that was also backed up by Mai Mai CMC, another illegal armed group in the vast country.
Reports are that the intention of the two terror outfits was to dislodge the government forces from Bukombo.
According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, FDLR joined ranks with a breakaway faction of Mai Mai CMC, an illegal armed group headed by one “Gen.” Dominiko, to capture the territories under control of Mai Mai NDC Nduma of Col. Guido Shimirayi who recently deserted the national army. “The fight lasted a few hours, the army managed to kill four FDLR combatants and captured its officer. The militias fled fire and the territory remained under the control of the national army,” the source said.
The new developments come amidst President Félix Tshisekedi’s tour of duty in the city of Goma where he held a virtual regional security summit with Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola Heads of state. The Congolese leader announced his decision to relocate his office to Goma and setting up a military base within the city to address the insecurity concerns caused by FDLR and other armed groups.
The normalizations of diplomatic relations between the government of Rwanda and its DR Congo counterpart, which has among other things committed to enhance security across both countries’ territories and borders, is already bearing fruit, analysts say. “The disbanding of terrorist groups that are a major factor of regional instability is well on course,” an eastern Congo-based media analyst said.
For years FDLR rode rough shod over civilians in eastern DRC. This group, best known as an offshoot of the genocidal ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias born in the jungles of DRC mainly as a force for continuation of the ideology of genocide thrived under past regimes that did nothing to disband it from Congolese soil. Its specific mission when it started as “ALIR”, undergoing a few other name changes before it became “FDLR” was to overthrow the current Rwandan administration and then proceed with the “unfinished business” of exterminating Tutsis.
But with the coming of a new administration in Kinshasa, since January last year, has seen a very bad spell not only for FDLR but all other terrorist groups in the east. Kinshasa has stepped up efforts to get rid of all of them and ensure total peace for long-suffering citizens. President Felix Tshisekedi sanctioned military operations, dubbed “Sokola II”, to dismantle and disarm all the rebel groups, many of them anti-Rwanda terrorist groups.
Following that it isn’t only FDLR that has lost most of its commanders, fighters and territories where they held sway in the mineral rich country. Other groups most notably Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC, or RUD, an offshoot of FDLR too have been routed. Many of the captured suspected war criminals have been transferred to Kigali for trial.
“If current events are anything to go by, FDLR’s end is very near. It’s been seriously weakened; the funds it used to raise out of mineral smuggling deals to sustain its terror activities – buying arms and ammunitions and recruiting fighters – everything is lost,” said the analyst.
The Congolese army is yet to decide on the fate of the captured FDLR militia.
If repatriated, the terrorist would face terrorism related charges as the terror outfit’s former spokesperson Ignace Nkaka alias La Forge Fils Bazeye and its former head of intelligence Lt Col Nsekanabo Jean Pierre aka Abega currently undergoing trial on similar offences in Rwanda.