UN troops prepare offensive against east Congo rebels
Iran Press TV
Fri May 8, 2015 6:5AM
The United Nations says preparations are underway for an offensive against the rebels in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told reporters on Thursday that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) would carry out unilateral operations to drive out the Hutu militia based in eastern DR Congo.
He made the remarks following a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York.
'The Security Council has empowered us to act unilaterally. We are planning to that effect,' media outlets quoted Ladsous as saying.
This comes as the rebels calling themselves the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) had been given until January 2 to turn themselves in or face an offensive by the UN and Congolese troops. Over 80 FDLR rebels surrendered in early January, but nearly 1,500 to 2,000 others are expected to still be in the remote jungles of the eastern DRC.
However, a dispute over the inclusion of Congolese forces, with allegedly shady human right records, in the military operation against the FDLR has kept the DRC forces from launching a coordinated offensive against the rebels.
The FDLR includes Rwandan Hutus, who are thought to have taken part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of at least 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority.
A large number of the Hutu rebels fled to the neighboring DRC in fear of retaliation by Tutsi people when Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda, ended the genocide in July 1994, and rose to power.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.
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