Rwanda: a new politico-military opposition party

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Kigali, April 6, 2001.

by AfroAmerica Network.

Rwandans opposed to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) regime led by General Kagame have created a new politico-military organization. The organization,
called the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) was officially announced by its spokesperson, Alexis Nshimyimana from Austria, Europe.

 

During this last quarter, Rwandans have been busy creating parties opposed to the the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime led by General Kagame. The first
party to be created in exile was RDR. Then came a military group which launched deadly attacks against the Rwandan Patriotic Army and reached the
outskirts of the Kigali, before withdrawing.

Recently, the exiled former Rwandan King, Kigeli, created his own party. As late as a week ago, the former official of the RPF, Professor Alexandre
Kimenyi of Califonia State University along with Mr. Kabuye Sebarenzi, the former speaker of the National Transition Assembly under RPF, created yet
another party. Mr. Kabuye fled the RPF regime and is currently exiled in USA. Today, Mr. Alexis Nshimyimana publicly introduced the FDLR to the
media both in Europe, Africa, and USA.

In a letter and a statement addressed to the media, a copy of which AfroAmerica Network obtained (please visit our website: www.aroamerica.net/rwanda_testimonies.html to see the entire content) , the  FDLR declare taking the opportunity of the commemoration of the 6 April 1994
interethnic massacres to officially launch their organization.

It is in May 2000, that AfroAmerica Network first heard of FDLR. The FDLR had held its meeting in Nasho, Kibungo and promised to overthrow Kagame's
government. According to the meeting account, a copy of which AfroAmerica Network received, the meeting in Nasho was attended by delegates from
America, Europe, Asia, and all over Africa and Rwanda.

Since then, sources in Rwanda and abroad confirm that the FDLR have been actively recruiting all over the country and the World, including the
capital Kigali and seem to be very well organized both militarily and politically. The meeting in Nasho prompted the Rwandan Patriotic Front
militia, the so-called Local Defense Units (LDU) to massacre families suspected of supporting the armed political party, in early June 2000.
Bodies of those massacred were dumped in the River Akagera. These massacres sent thousands of Refugees to Tanzania.

"This is by far the most serious challenger to the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime. The FDLR has an army, a political organization and popular support, " political analysts in Rwanda and Europe told AfroAmerica Network.

Following is the interview that FDLR spokesperson, Alexis Nshimyimana, had with AfroAmerica Network correspondent in Europe on April 6, 2001.


Who are the FDLR?
The Rwandan Liberation Democratic Forces (FDLR) are Rwandans determined to defend their motherland and their families kept under constant threats of
extermination by a tyrannical and barbaric regime.The FDLR are a response to contempt, arrogance, ruthless and bloodthirsty repression, and fascism of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and to the opposition by the RPF to diverse initiatives taken in favor of a political dialogue, open democratic activities, and respect of fundamental human rights in Rwanda. The FDLR constitute a political and military organization. FDLR's goals are to liberate Rwanda, plead in favor of the oppressed and the excluded, open a new era of peace, and bring back into the hands of citizens the planning and management of their lives.

Who is behind FDLR?

The Rwandan People. This means the voiceless people of Rwanda, especially Hutu and Twa who remained, under terror and oppression, in Rwanda in 1994;
More than 200.000 prisoners dying a slow death in Rwandan dungeons and jails; Tutsi survivors of 1994, victims of merciless massacres and
persecution; Repatriated Rwandans of 1994 up to now forced to live as refugees in their own country; Forcibly repatriated refugees of 1996-1997, deprived of their  rights and properties; Hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees around the World; Disregarded citizens of Rwanda and foreigners, victims of the Rwandan tragedy.

Why the FDLR now?

Rwandans are fed up and have decided not to remain passive spectators of the destruction of their country and the relentless extermination of the
population. They are prepared to face the challenge of liberating Rwanda and to free their fellow citizens nowadays reduced to slavery by a clique
of professional killers and corrupt thugs who make up the inner circle of RPF-INKOTANYI.

What kind of new society are you going to build in Rwanda?

The FDLR have a political platform which is too specific to describe in an interview. Briefly, the FDLR believe that a research of solution to the
Rwandan conflict should be based on a thorough analysis of the roots of the present situation and on the lessons obtained from the tragic events that
took place since 1990. From that perspective, the FDLR consider that the Rwanda conflict is political in essence. Political solutions must be found;
all sincere steps and fair approaches of negotiation, arbitration, and conflict resolution must be furthered; the fundamental respect of citizen
rights and dignity remains the sacred principle to be upheld; a political solution can be viable only when it is just, equitable, and fair, and preserves the legal interests of all the components of the Rwandan society, including Hutu, Tutsi,Twa, and other groups.

Other political organizations exist?

I can only speak for the FDLR. With those who have the same objectives we shall cooperate. FDLR is a resistance movement against the power in Kigali,
not against any other political party. FDLR believe in democracy.

Are you a military force?

We are a political movement of resistance. As such we have both a political organization and a military wing. We would like to find a negotiated solution to the Rwandan problems. However, we are ready to use any other available means of pressure. We view military force as another way of achieving political objectives. Sometimes you have no other choice.

How many troops have you? Are they in Rwanda or outside?

We have troops to achieve our objectives. We have the Rwandan people behind us. We have the troops where we need them.

Who is your leader?

Our leader is Colonel Mutabazi.

Where are your headquarters?

Nasho is our headquarters. However, we have branches all over the World. We have dedicated members all over Rwanda. We have our executive committee with functioning organs.

Insurrection was tried in 1997-1998, got in the outskirts of the Rwandan capital and then died down. What is different this time?

FDLR is a new political and military organization. We have set clear objectives. We will change the political system in the Rwanda for some of
the reasons I already mentioned. There is no turning back.

(Interview conducted in French)

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