DRC planning attack on ‘irregular’ Rwandan rebels

The Democratic Republic of Congo army plans an "imminent" attack on Rwandan Hutu rebels based in the powderkeg east of the country, government spokesperson Lambert Mende said Tuesday.

"There is no more place in our country for any irregular group," Mende said, adding that the newly defeated M23 rebels had been "top of the list" before their surrender on Tuesday.

"They have been replaced by the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda)," Mende said. "We are going to get on with disarming them."

Further military action "will take concrete shape in the offensive that will imminently be launched" by the army against different armed movements in the east of the vast country, he added.

Tuesday's military victory by UN-backed Congolese troops over the mainly Tutsi rebels of M23 "does not… put an end to efforts to normalise our country," the spokesperson said.

The FDLR has been present on Congolese territory since fleeing across the border from Rwanda in 1994, after the Rwandan genocide of some 800 000 people. Older members of the FDLR are blamed for the slaughter, which targeted the Tutsi minority.

Mende said that once the FDLR had been dealt with, "it will be (the Ugandan rebels) of the ADF-NALU and the LRA, then the (Burundian) FNL" rebels and then a host of Congolese militias.

The FDLR, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF NALU), the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), the National Liberation Forces (FNL) and a myriad armed groups, including tribal militias, have each held sway over parts of Congolese territory, sometimes for many years.

President Joseph Kabila on October 30 urged all armed movements in the country to turn in their weapons voluntarily or face "a forcible disarmament operation as vigorous as the one (then) under way" against M23. – AFP

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