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Was FDLR Ever Designated Terrorist Organization by US Government? Yes. Is It Now? No.

RwarakabijeOver the last few weeks, heated debates  erupted following the  recommendation by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to the governments of Rwanda, Uganda,  and  the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)  to hold direct talks with their respective armed opposition.

Photo: FDLR Top Commander General Rwarakabije and Rwandan Military Chief of Staff General James Kabarebe in 2003.

Direct Talks: The Best Way, Says Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete urged these governments to hold direct talks, as the best way to bring so much needed peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa after decades of bloodshed, violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. For President Jakaya Kikwete, Rwandan government  must talk to its armed opposition, including the Democratic Forces of Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, Ugandan government to ADF/NALU rebels, and DRC government to M23 rebels (see  our article Talk to Your Armed Opposition, Tanzanian President Kikwete Tells Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Joseph Kabila of DRC of May 26, 2013  and Tanzanian Jakaya Kikwete and Rwandan Paul Kagame Meet in Japan of June 1, 2013).

The proposal has raised a storm of attacks, insults and character assassination directed against the Tanzanian President Kikwete by  Rwandan government top officials: the Rwandan President General Paul Kagame called  President Jakaya Kikwete an ignorant Four-Bs ( “an opportunist, attention seeker , arrogant and  contemptible person.”  ) and  the Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo accused him of being a genocide and terrorist sympathizer.

Rwandan Hutu Puppet Prime Minister on the Frontline

Even  the usually obscure  Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi added to the foray when he stated the following in his opinion comment published by the Rwandan Intelligence Services’s owned news media, New Times on June 12, 2013:

“Shockingly, most of their killers are now scot-free in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that shared a border with Rwanda. There are also others in certain African as well as Western countries. In all those parts of the world the Genocidaires continue to get support and mentorship from different people. Ironically, they (killers) are even getting support from people whom we believed were partners in the fight against the genocide ideology or who are neighbours with whom we have a lot in common. 

There are two Rwandan proverbs that state that the one with bad language dies with it and that in every family there is black sheep (Inda ibyara Mweru na Muhima). Indeed, there are some neighbouring countries that used to have good leaders who were champions of African unity, who loved the truth and only truth, who contributed a lot in the fight for independence of African countries to the extent that they were called Fathers of those countries. All we know is that those countries were true friends to Rwanda and its people. 

Unfortunately, those Panafrican leaders were not succeeded by people who shared their exemplary leadership qualities.”

So even the Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi, who is widely classified by Western diplomats and independent observers in Kigali, among the puppets and incompetent Hutu government officials appointed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front Government  to project an illusion of inclusion (see our article:US Embassy in Rwanda: Power in Hands of a Powerful Tutsi Minority With A Few Incompetent Hutu Figureheads of September 4, 2011) , dared to call the Tanzanian President a mediocre leader, for merely urging dialogue as the best way to solve conflicts.

Jakaya Kikwete and General Paul Kagame: Deadlock?

The problem with Rwandan leaders, including Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Prime Minister  Pierre Habumuremyi, and President General Paul Kagame, is that Jakaya Kikwete has something to show and to marry his words to deeds: successful inter-Burundian dialogue in Burundi, successful inter-Mozambique dialogue, and the support of South Africa through the painful transition from apartheid, in which Tanzanian Government played a major role, if not the role of being the peace broker.

To date, there is a deadlock: Rwandan government officials have adamantly said that they will not negotiate with the Rwandan armed group FDLR, whereas the Tanzanian Government stuck to its  guns and maintains its recommendation.

The government of Rwanda has maintained that FDLR are terrorists.  The problem with this is that the Rwandan government has welcomed the ex-FDLR overall commander, General Rwarakabije, now a top official within the Rwandan government, and many more FDLR top commanders, founding members, and troops. When faced with the “direct talks with FDLR” dilemma and the hypocrisy typified by General Rwarakabije case, the Rwandan Defense Minister  General James Kabarebe recently tweeted:

“I didn’t negotiate with Gen Rwarakabije to return,he came at his own will and I facilitated him.”

“I will facilitate any FDLR to return,if he abandons genocide ideology.To come and integrate or face justice if he killed”!

The problem is that he lied. He initiated the dialogue with General Paul Rwarakabaje through a Rwandan Intelligence Services operative who had infiltrated FDLR well before its creation and who was later compensated handsomely. But that is the subject of another story and it is not the issue.

Is FDLR-FOCA a Terrorist Organization? That is not question.

Rwandan argues that FDLR is a terrorist group, classified as such by the United Nations (UN) Security Council  and Western governments. This is partly true. The UN  Security Council never classified FDLR as a terrorist group. However, the UN Security Council did take sanctions against  most of the top  FDLR political and military leaders since 2009 and recently against FDLR-FOCA as a group.

Western governments took in the past a step further. On April 27, 2005, the U.S. State Department identified 40 Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) in its annual terrorism report. Among  groups identified were  the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR)  and the Ugandan Lord’s Resistence Army (LRA)(see here our article  USA: Rwandan Rebel Group designated Terrorist by State Department   of  May 12, 2005). 

Since then, the United States has removed FDLR from the list of Foreign Terrorist organizations (FTO) (see US State Department FTO List here). However  the United States Government has a special treatment of the FDLR:

First, FDLR was maintained on  Department of Treasury Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List under: “DEMOCRATIC FORCES FOR THE LIBERATION OF RWANDA (a.k.a. COMBATANT FORCE FOR THE LIBERATION OF RWANDA; a.k.a. FDLR; a.k.a. FORCE COMBATTANTE ABACUNGUZI; a.k.a. FORCES DEMOCRATIQUES DE LIBERATION DU RWANDA; a.k.a. “FOCA”), North and South Kivu, Congo, Democratic Republic of the [DRCONGO] (see here).

Second, the list of Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons also includes most of the top FDLR political and military leaders:  Ignace Murwanashyaka, Straton Musoni, Callixte Mbarushimana, General Gaston Iyamuremye, General Leodomir Mudacumura (a.k.a. MUPENZI, Bernard; a.k.a. MUPENZI, General Pierre Bernard; a.k.a. “COMMANDANT PHARAON”; a.k.a. “MUKANDA”; a.k.a. “RADJA”),  Colonel Fred IRAKEZA (a.k.a. NSANZUBUKIRE, Felicien), General Pacifique NTAWUNGUKA (a.k.a. NTAWUNGULA, Pacifique; a.k.a. “COLONEL OMEGA”; a.k.a. “NZERI”),  General  Stanislas NZEYIMANA (a.k.a. BIGARUKA IZABAYO, Deogratias; a.k.a. IZABAYO DEO; a.k.a. “BIGARUKA”; a.k.a. “BIGARURA”), Colonel Leopold MUJYAMBERE (a.k.a. IBRAHIM, Frere Petrus; a.k.a. “ACHILLE”; a.k.a. “MUSENYERI”) .

Besides,  FDLR and all top military and political leaders are on the United Nations Security Council sanctions list.

Finally,  two recent developments have highlighted the approach of the West towards FDLR-FOCA:

  • In April 2013, the US government offered US$5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer and conviction of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) supreme commander, General Sylvestre Mudacumura.
  • In June 2013, the German Government arrested three FDLR-FOCA sympathizers, known as Bernard T. ,  Felicien B.  and  Jean Bosco U.

Hence, to come back to our initial question.

Was FDLR ever a Designated Terrorist Organization by the US Government? Yes.

Is It Now? No.

But its top political and military leaders face several political, diplomatic and security hurdles and most are under sanctions in several countries and at the United Nations.

©2013 AfroAmerica Network. All Rights Reserved.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mr avalanche June 22, 2013, 8:50 am

    Gen Kagame has no choice but to talk to his armed oposition; Fact.World leaders, now understands the troublemakers of the Great lakes region and he cannot offer anything to the West or USA apart for invading the powerless DRC, that why they have decided for Gen Kagame to plan his smooth exit the sooner the better for both of them.”change of guards” in the region is what the West and the US believe will bring peace to the region and particular the DRC, Fact

  • Kagabo June 20, 2013, 6:39 pm

    FDLR becomes interahamwe/genocidaires whenever the talk is about politics, RDC invasion, power sharing among rwandans etc. and the same formula applies to Mr. Mushaidi, Mrs Ingabire, and other politicians who try to oppose Mr. Kagame.
    However, this doesn’t apply to anybody who is willing and ready to join RPF, sympatise and praise Kagame’s outstanding performance…
    Kagame attitude: ” leave rwandans to live their own life ”
    I am not suprised czhe did the same in 1994, stopping/delaying any outside intervention to stop genocide,
    His intention was to take the power regardless of what was going on: mass killings.
    He is been dumb listening to advisors and he will remain his way until he is proven otherwise…refer to Mr Kadhafi history, and take a simple example when he torn apart the UN charter in front of all World leaders, claiming he did it because he loved africans and especially, his compatriots; peoples of Libya..
    and don’t get me wrong here cz shortly after that Libians proved to us, what kind of love they had in store for mr. Kadhafi for many years.

  • CARLOS June 17, 2013, 3:00 pm


  • Paul Rwego June 16, 2013, 7:53 am

    Dear all Rwandan Readers,
    Banyarwanda have a saying that ” at strong man’s home alarms ware raised, but ”at weakest man’s home cheering and ullulations were drummed up” “Kwamugabo havuze induru kandi kwambwa havuga Impundu”
    HAbwirwabenshi ariko hakunva bace!
    It’s costless if Kagame speaks to both good and bad Rwandans for long lasting peace and harmony in the country.