FDLR militia shelter from rain in huts outside their headquarters in Buleusa, North Kivu. (File)
FDLR militia shelter from rain in huts outside their headquarters in Buleusa, North Kivu. (File)

Angola, whose President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is the current chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a regional grouping composed of DR Congo ?and neighbouring countries, last week announced there was no need for yet another summit on the FDLR issue since regional leaders had long agreed that in the event the militia failed to meet the January 2 deadline, it would be attacked and forcibly disarmed.

FDLR militia shelter from rain in huts outside their headquarters in Buleusa, North Kivu. (File)
FDLR militia shelter from rain in huts outside their headquarters in Buleusa, North Kivu. (File)

The deadline, set on July 2, 2014, is the second to be missed by the militia group within a year and a joint ICGLR-Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit had resolved that military action would be inevitable if FDLR failed to meet the terms of the ultimatum which required them to unconditionally and fully disarm in six months.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that FDLR, instead of surrendering, continued recruitment and collaboration with the Congolese Army throughout 2014, to-date.

The two-day summit, which had been expected to open today, had been announced by South African President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as chair of SADC organ on politics, security and defence, earlier this month.

However, the Angolan government echoed Kigali?s position, saying there was nothing more to discuss about the FDLR but rather it was now up to the UN to swing into action, in reference to the UN peacekeeping force in the Congo (Monusco), which boasts a special brigade mandated to carry out offensives against negative forces in the Congo.

?The summit will not be held because the decision to take military action against the FDLR has already been made and all that remains now is to implement it,? Angolan Minister for International Affairs Joaquim do Espirito Santo told reporters in Luanda.

Speaking to The New Times, last week, Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo said she heard only learnt about the summit in the media, questioning its relevance.

?If concerned countries and Monusco are not ready to take military action, then at least they should not waste scarce time and money in endless meetings, repeating the same thing,? she said.

Mushikiwabo reiterated Kigali?s position earlier this week. ?It?s time for military action really; there is nothing else to meet over at this point.?

Later, it emerged that Angola had not sent any invitation for the summit after all.

Mushikiwabo hailed Luanda?s decision not to convene the meeting.

?Appreciating leadership of Angola on security in Great Lakes! President Dos Santos truly cares and understands the value of regional stability,? she tweeted last weekend.

The UN Security Council, the US and the UK are among the actors that this month urged immediate and decisive action against the militia, which is composed of elements blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Earlier on, Monusco head Kobler Martin had indicated that the force would wait for the resolution of the summit in Angola, which has since been cancelled.

In recent days, he has said Monusco was ready to launch offensive against the FDLR combatants, even as the UN peacekeepers have instead been attacking Burundi?s FNL and Uganda?s ADF rebels ? also holed up in eastern DR Congo.

As it became clear that the Luanda summit would not be taking place this week, South African media reported that about 1,000 troops from that country serving under Monusco?s Force Intervention Brigade were on the verge of taking on FDLR ? who are said to have ties with Rwandan dissidents based in South Africa.

Tanzania, one of the three countries whose troops constitute FIB but whose government is believed to be sympathetic toward the FDLR, has said it was not opposed to the operations against the militia. Yet there have also been reports that Tanzanian troops were unlikely to partake in the anti-FDLR campaign.

The President of the Security Council, in a statement, last week, urged DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to authorise joint operations by the Congolese army and Monusco against FDLR, a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Kabila to press him to actively cooperate in the impending operations.

In a space of four days, UN troops helped defeat Congo?s M23 rebels in 2013 and it had been hoped that next to be crushed was the FDLR whose leaders are either standing trial in Germany for presiding over a terrorist organisation or are wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The New Times

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