Rwandan troops entered the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday to tackle a Rwandan Hutu militia whose leaders are accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide before fleeing to Congo. The troop movement takes place under a pact with the Congolese government and is the result of a Dec. 5, 2008, agreement between the countries to root out conflict in eastern Congo. Some observers fear a humanitarian disaster is in the offing because of poor military planning and coordination with the international community.
About 2,000 Rwandan troops entered eastern Congo early on Tuesday morning to hunt the Rwandan Hutu militia Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), reports Bloomberg.
Action against the FDLR signals a thaw in relations between Rwanda and Congo, reports Bloomberg. Before last month's agreement, both countries accused each other of backing rival rebel groups.
The joint action follows last Friday's cease-fire between the Congolese government and a breakaway faction of the CNDP, which claims to protect Congolese Tutsis from attack by the FDLR. According to Agence France-Presse, CNDP commanders will now fight alongside government forces.
Rwanda and Congo have previously attempted to cooperate against the FDLR, but to no avail. Rwanda invaded Congo twice in the 1990s in attempts to stamp out the FDLR, leading to a decade of bloodshed that has claimed over five million lives.
In 2005, the International Crisis Group (ICG) reported that the FDLR was willing to cease military action against Rwanda and begin repatriation. At the time, FDLR offered to demobilize its forces and transform its struggle into a political movement. ICG analysts pointed out then that failure to deal with FDLR in a peaceful way would leave only military options.