UN demands Congo replace 2 generals in fight against rebels
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations will not support a Congolese government military operation against Rwandan rebels unless two generals leading the offensive who have been accused of serious human rights violations are replaced, a senior U.N. official said Wednesday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said U.N. officials told Congo’s Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda on Friday to deal with the issue urgently.
Otherwise, the official said, the U.N. peacekeeping mission will not support the government’s offensive logistically, operationally or in any other way.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission spent several months planning a joint operation with the Congolese army against the FDLR militant group which was formed by extremist Rwandan Hutus who fled across the border into eastern Congo after taking part in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
But Congo’s President Joseph Kabila announced last week that his forces would lead the operation, supported by the U.N. force.
The U.N. official said when the U.N. discovered that Kabila appointed two “red generals” known to be heavily involved in rights violations — Gen. Bruno Mundevu and Gen. Fall Sikabwe — to lead the military campaign senior U.N. officials warned foreign minister Tshibanda if Congo kept them it would get no support.
Tshibanda wasn’t happy but said he would deal with it, the official said.
The U.N. official said despite statements from Tshibanda the United Nations is not aware that military action against the FDLR has actually begun.
The FDLR, which has threatened eastern Congo for more than two decades, failed to surrender by a Jan. 2 deadline. Since then the U.N. has been pressing for military action.
The U.N. estimates there are between 1,400 and 2,000 FDLR fighters who are intermingled with the civilian population and not in fighting units which means getting rid of them will be difficult.