Monday, November 2, 2009

MONUC gives up on FARDC

The Nord-Kivu (North Kivu) district of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been the scene of a long-running tale of horror, with rebel forces of all sort and Congolese Army (FARDC) troops taking turns massacring each other (and the local population). The fact that a significant number of the rebel forces still out there are drawn from the Hutu exiles from Rwanda... the Interahamwe killers of the Rwandan Genocide, now formed under the misnomer of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda; FDLR)... does *not* excuse misdeeds by any other party. Indeed, it almost demands that the forces fighting against the FDLR be demonstrably more legitimate, more correct, "better" than the murderous barbarians they pursue.

...but we are talking about the FARDC here... army slapped together from various tribal and patronage forces; little better than an association of warlords in the same uniform. The integration and reform plans of 2005 and 2007 have been little more than polite fictions to let MONUC, the United Nations peacekeepers in Congo, keep justifying their role in the drama.

But even MONUC is able to see what is happening now, and that means the end of international support may be on the way:
"We have decided that (Congo's peacekeeping mission) MONUC will immediately suspend its logistical and operational support to the army units implicated in these killings," Le Roy, who has been touring the region, said.

Le Roy named the units as being part of the 213th brigade of the Congolese army. But he did not say how many were affected by the move or what the implications were for UN support of the wider operations.
He probably didn't say so because he doesn't really have any one element to fix blame upon.

The FARDC has been so busy renumbering formations recently that it may be that he doesn't really know who and what is in the "213th Brigade" other than the leader's name on a piece of paper.

But far more likely, the field commanders at MONUC know exactly who is doing the killing... the thousands of rapes... and that it is widespread. It is the way these tribal gangs fight, nowadays; the difference this time is that some of them are wearing uniforms.

Nothing short of mass reform will turn the FARDC into a responsible warfighting force, and that reform will require a whole lot of arrests and drummings out. Until then, expect more of the same in tomorrow's news.

The real shame is that the FDLR needs to be run out of business, permanently. The dead of the Rwandan Genocide deserve better avengers than the FARDC. But...


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