The end of FDLR and of misery.

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Five years ago, when a UN intervention brigade deployed in DRC was preparing a major attack on the FDLR, Faustin Twagiramungu, a Rwandan political comic living on welfare in Belgium announced that he and friends would come to the militia’s rescue. As I write this, the FDLR is being shelled in eastern Congo’s forests in what is likely to be the final battle and the end of violent militia, it’s top leadership EKA; the 75 year old Twagiramungu had trouble getting out of bed this morning. Those who believed in his foolhardy promises have themselves to blame.

Yesterday when FDLR leader Mudacumura was killed, he was photographed with a teaspoon in hand. That’s the weapon he had, a utensil for eating. That sums up who these people are, lumpen genocide perpetrators haunted by their own past, running across forests with no place to hide.

With Mudacumura’s death, let’s revisit the cause of anti-Rwanda militia groups roaming the region. What do they fight for? What positive change do they intend to bring to Rwanda? What past and present have they led and how does it inform us of their possible future? What is their end?

Mudacumura was an infamous killer, a ‘beast of no nation’, indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity on the four corners of the planet, roaming forests of Congo, causing desolation on his path, killing, raping, abducting innocent civilians, with arrest warrants from all sources on his head: Rwanda, ICC, the US-most wanted list, Interpol, etc. His end, although as a human rights lawyer I would have wanted to see him arrested and tried in Rwanda and sent away, was undoubtedly to be one of a stray dog…

Young people with a future in Rwanda are unfortunately lured into desperation by old men with none due to their despicable pasts, dying to satisfy their fantasies. These people are what is described as warlords or drug lords. Egocentric old men recruiting confused young souls and enrolling them into spreading violence and suffering for personal gains. 

In a photo, four barefooted young men are presented to the press as Mudacumura’s bodyguards captured in the raid that killed their commander. These men could have had a life in Rwanda, founded families, benefitted from the one cow per poor family, the Ubudehesocial welfare, their children accessing free educationand universal healthcare. Instead they lived a life of hiding and terror into forests and will probably die how they lived. 

More than twenty years later as the violent militia is finally being defeated, a new one is seeing the day in another neighboring country, at this stage causing tension between Rwanda and the neighboring country harboring them, and potentially becoming a source of suffering to the local communities in the said country

Why would any government have interest is supporting such violent groups with an expressed mission to attack a neighbor? What guarantees do they have that said groups might not turn against their citizens? FDLR was invited in the DRC, armed (or not disarmed) and trained and protected, soon enough they turned against Congolese people and became, not only a cause of tension between Rwanda and DRC, but also a calamity to the Congolese People. 

FDLR brought nothing good to the DRC. No geopolitical gains, no territorial victories; nothing. Just suffering. This should serve as a lesson to all, to embrace the principles of the African Convention Governing Specific Aspects of refugee Problems in Africa, namely to preclude refugees on host territories from conducting subversive actions against their countries of origin. 

This should also serve as a lesson to young people in the diaspora, that in the warlord’s eyes,  they are expendable, their lives not worth the bullet that will probably kill them. This too is an opportunity for soul-searching among all in the diaspora to come home and join fellow Rwandans to rebuild our country, in peace.


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