The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will continue with military operations against elements from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who are holing up in the east of the country, General Mayala, a regional army commander, has said.
According to a private radio Top Congo, General Mayala, who was addressing a press conference in Goma on Wednesday, also cleared the air over the misunderstanding that has been generated by the declaration, which was attributed to General Amisi Tango, DRC's army commander, on Aug. 11, 2007, regarding the suspension of these operations.
Mayala said contrary to media reports, the army commander had declared that only integrated army units would continue waging the war against the FDLR.
According to Mayala, the security problem posed by the FDLR to the east of the country was a national problem that the government was keen on solving.
Over the weekend, General Amisi had been quoted by sections of both national and international media as saying that the military operations had been suspended owing notably to difficulties in differentiating between DRC's Hutus and Rwandese Hutus as well as accusations of genocide, which had been leveled against the army by the local hutu population, North-Kivu politicians as well as other regional ethnic groups.
William Swing, UN special envoy and head of the UN Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), had also on Monday denied having supported the move to suspend the military operations.
Essentially made up of Hutus, the FDLR is composed of former Rwandese soldiers, who fled and regrouped in eastern DRC after being involved in the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
By largely employing guerilla tactics, the FDLR has conducted cross border raids into Rwanda, where it has continued to commit atrocities mainly against the civilians but also waged war against Rwandese armed forces.
In addition, the rebels have been accused of looting villages as well as killing and raping civilians across eastern DRC.
In addition to worsening the security situation in the DRC, the presence of FDLR in eastern DRC has invited the wrath of Rwanda, which has twice entered the country in order to rout the rebels out.