Preparations begin for military operation against DRC rebels

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A UN Peacekeeper stands near a helipad as a MONUSCO helicopter lands near Kanyabayonga COB.
Credit: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

Preparations have begun for a military offensive against rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the UN Spokesperson.

A deadline issued to the Rwandan Hutu rebels known as the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda or FDLR to fully and unconditionally surrender expired on 2 January.

Leaders and members of the FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

The UN Mission and the Congolese Army have developed a joint military plan for operations against the rebel group.

Stéphane Dujarric noted that the military solution needs to be part of a comprehensive strategy.

"Taking into account the disperse nature of the FDLR and its immersion in the local situation it will take time to achieve the results that we want. And various tactics will be used which may not necessarily lead to the immediate or large scale blows to the armed groups. I think we have drawn lessons from previous operations against the group, including those that involved a significant number of Rwandan soldiers in 2009. Military operations have a potential to weaken as I said but not to eliminate the FDLR and the military solution needs to be part of a comprehensive strategy that includes a number of non-military steps."

No significant additional surrenders of FDLR combatants have been registered since the initial surrenders in June.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’31″

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