Ban Urges ‘Decisive Action’ Against Armed Group
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a phone call with Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President, Joseph Kabila, today appealed for decisive action against the armed group FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), after it failed to surrender on deadline.
Mr. Ban reiterated that the FDLR has “failed to deliver on its promise to disarm and that the deadline of 2 January had expired without significant results”, according to a read-out of the phone call provided by his spokesperson during the daily press briefing at UN Headquarters this afternoon.
The Secretary-General welcomed President Kabila’s assurance that his Government is ready to take action and noted that the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) is ready to engage in operations alongside the Congolese military, also known by the French acronym FARDC.
Wanted Rebel’s Troops Instill Fear – 4 Years Since Arrest Warrant, Sheka Still At Large
Congolese authorities should intensify efforts to arrest and bring to justice a rebel commander whose troops have committed vicious killings, mass rapes, mutilations, and child abductions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
On January 6, 2011, Congolese judicial authorities issued an arrest warrant for the Mai Mai militia leader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka for crimes against humanity for mass rape, but he remains at large. Human Rights Watch published new information today about serious crimes committed by Sheka’s fighters since the arrest warrant was issued four years ago.
“An arrest warrant alone won’t stop a rebel leader like Sheka from committing atrocities – Congo’s authorities need to bring him to justice,” said Ida Sawyer, senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The army and UN peacekeepers should increase their efforts to arrest him before more civilians suffer.”
In July 2014, the Congolese army and the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO, began military operations against Sheka’s armed group in Walikale territory in North Kivu province. Officials said that one of the operations’ objectives was to arrest Sheka, but the operations have been hampered by the remoteness of Walikale – a territory roughly the size of Rwanda with few roads.
With No Rebel Surrender, UN Mission in DR Congo Readies Military Operations
With the deadline for the unconditional surrender of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) having passed on 2 January, and no significant additional surrenders of FDLR combatants registered since June, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is working to address the situation, a UN spokesperson said today.
He said the Mission would work with regional and international stakeholders including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which established the deadline for the FDLR’s surrender, as well as with national partners. “The Congolese Army will play an essential role in operations against the FDLR. The UN Mission and the Congolese Army have developed a joint military plan for operations against the FDLR,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric at a press briefing in New York.
Top Kony ‘aide’ surrenders to US forces
A man claiming to be one of the top commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army has surrendered to American forces in the Central African Republic, a US official has said.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that a man saying he was senior LRA leader Dominic Ongwen had defected, and was in the custody of US forces deployed in the hunt for Kony in the CAR.
“If the individual proves to be Ongwen, his defection would represent a historic blow to the LRA’s command structure,” she said.
“Efforts to establish full and positive identification continue, so I don’t have confirmation of that at this point,” Psaki said.
According to the United Nations, the LRA led by violent warlord Joseph Kony has killed more than 100,000 people and kidnapped more than 60,000 children in an almost three-decade reign of terror in central Africa.
In 2013, the US offered up to $5m for the capture of Kony, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court along with Ongwen and two other lieutenants.