International community needs to step up, objectively, on Congolese fanning of conflict

Last Friday, June 10, the Democratic Republic of Congo army, working with FDLR Interahamwe fired two shells into Rwandan territory, in the Kinigi Sector, Musanze District. Though it did not cause any casualties, it left the locals terrified. This latest shelling by FARDC was the third in less than four months, following two similar incidents in March and May in Musanze and Burera districts, which left several civilians injured and property damaged. After all these incidents, the Rwanda Defence Force issued statements but there was no reaction from the international community in general. FDLR kidnapped two young Rwandan soldiers whom they handed over to the Congo army, who the latter highly mediatized to push the narrative that M23 was being supported by Rwanda. All was quiet in the international community.

This silence by the international community has emboldened Congo authorities who have considered this as a blank cheque to continue their provocations against Rwanda, as well as escalate hate speech again Rwanda with impunity. Shockingly, after international silence has allowed Congo authorities to sustain their false accusations against Rwanda to evade the responsibility of honoring their side of the many agreements signed with M23, the international community wakes up with a clear inclination toward the false Congo narrative.

Disappointingly, nobody seems to care that the Congo army has armed FDLR and sent them to the frontline against M23, in areas too close to the border with Rwanda. It seems that the international community does not find this a serious breach of regional security, and instead lends credence to false accusations against Rwanda advanced by Congo authorities. The presence of MONUSCO who have for long been cited as accomplices in the insecurity in Congo has done nothing to put the record straight concerning the situation on the ground. They are instead feeding FARDC with sensational information which they excitedly jump on to sustain their narrative.

M23 is a product of unfulfilled agreements since 2009. Concerning the source of their arms and ammunition, the M23 spokesperson during an interview with DW cleared the air, mentioning the three sources of their firepower as mostly FARDC, who sell their arms and ammunition to Congolese civilians who sell them on to M23. The other source is from the battlefield, where they collect a considerable cache from the national army who flee in the face of defeat. The spokesperson also talked about personal contributions, where the Congolese communities. The spokesperson emphasized that they have not received “even a single needle” from Rwanda as the Congo government keeps claiming.

Instead of asking Congo to solve these regional security issues, the international community chooses to be vague in their statements, instead of believing Congo’s diversionary tactics of laying blame on Rwanda. The conflict is not between Congo and Rwanda as the DRC Government has maintained, but an internal conflict that has its roots in discrimination of a section of the population, incompetence, and poor governance as well as allowing a blacklisted genocidaires militia to stay active in Congo.

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