The Democratic Republic of Congo should explain why it stopped military action against Rwandan rebels hiding in the country, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Charles Murigande said yesterday.
"More pressure is needed to flush out FRDL and ex-FAR insurgents that are undermining peace and security not only in Rwanda but also the Great Lakes Region," he said.
Murigande was opening a two day meeting of Chiefs of Defence Forces and Chiefs of General Staff of the four-member countries under the tripartite plus commission framework, in Kigali. The countries are Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo.
Dr Murigande said his government considers the Rwandan militia hiding in the vast state as destructive forces.
"Although we have much success to celebrate in the joint effort to end insurgency in the region, ex-FAR/Interahamwe that participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which about a million people were massacred are very active in the DRC," he said.
The Congolese government suspended military operations against the Rwandan Hutu rebels saying it was to avoid further ethnic tension in the country’s troubled east.
It is not clear if Rwanda contemplates re-entering DR Congo to fight the rebels. In 1998, Rwanda entered Congo to flush out the Hutu insurgents but later got sucked up in a regional war.
"Our main target is to make Congo flush out the Interahamwe among other armed groups fighting us. If DRC decides to maintain the suspension then we hope they will be able to give us an alternative solution to this problem in this forum," said the Rwanda Defence Forces Spokesman, Maj. Jill Rutaremara.
Kinshasa says at least 165,000 civilians have fled fighting in Congo’s North Kivu province since February, when Tutsi-commanded army brigades began operations to drive the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels. Congo’s ground forces commander General Gabriel Amisi told journalists in Goma, the capital of North Kivu on Saturday, the decision to suspend operations was taken after consultations with the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (Monuc) and foreign diplomats.
Present were the Rwandan CGS Gen. James Kabareebe, Congolese Army chief Deodone Kayembe and Burundian CGS, Godfrey Niyombare and the Monuc Liason Officer in Kigali Mr Joe Felli.
Others were; the US Defence and Military Attache in Kigali Maj. Ronald Miller, while the Ugandan Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima was represented by the Ambassador to Rwanda Richard Kabonero.