The US based Enough Project is requesting that troops composed by elite forces be formed to deal with FDLR military leaders. At the same time, Enough urges the US Government to “work at a senior level with Rwanda and donor countries to design a specialized demobilization, dialogue, and economic reintegration program for mid-level FDLR commanders.”
In the report titled “U.S. Congo Policy Matching Deeds to Words to End the World’s Deadliest War, published by Aaron Hall and Sasha Lezhnev of Enough Project on October 4, 2011, Enough observes that after all other military initiatives have failed to dismantle the FDLR organization, eliminating FDLR military leaders may be the only remaining option.
According to Enough, U.S. policy regarding the FDLR [...] has been a case of too little, too late. Through the support of a number of poorly planned and commanded military strategies with MONUSCO and the governments of Congo and Rwanda, strategies to dismantle groups like the FDLR have instead further spurred reprisal attacks against villages and Congolese army outposts. In one particularly brutal assault, Congolese soldiers, led by Col. Innocent Zimurinda, ordered attacks against a reportedly FDLR-supporting community. During the attack in Shalio, more than 50 civilians were reportedly killed, 40 women raped, and several women’s breasts were cut off. The FDLR retaliated against the Congolese population soon thereafter in a massacre in the village of Busurungi which led to at least 96 deaths. The administration subsequently sanctioned Col. Zimurinda, but in the absence of a functioning justice system, formal charges against him were never pursued, and he remains a commanding officer in the east.”
Enough remarks that the two decades initiatives in the region, whether in dealing with FDLR or LRA have not produced tangible results and have instead led to more civilian suffering and humanitarian tragedies, such as rapes and massacres:
“Ongoing international aid for civilian protection over the past two decades
has had mixed results, and often times is merely a band-aid for immediate crises, when
what is needed is focus on the systemic drivers of abuse. A focus on protecting communities in both FDLR and LRA affected areas must be a priority.”
As a recommendation, Enough proposes that the US Government “Work with the Congolese government and other regional partners to design a new counter-insurgency strategy that is much more focused, uses a smaller force made up of elite units targeted at FDLR leadership. Simultaneously create incentives—through the U.N.-backed “DDR” initiatives—for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of rank-and-file combatants.
The recommendations by Enough appears to repeat previous recommendations and not to add little to what has already been proposed. It appears not clear how this will work at this time. The report seems not to address the root of the problem: why FDLR and all armed rebellions exist in the region in the first place.
However, one major event coincides with the publication of the report. The decision by the US Government to send 100 military officers to support Ugandan troops in the hunt of LRA leader, Joseph Kony.
©2011 AfroAmerica Network, 2011