KINSHASA - The FDLR is a brutal militia made up of former Rwandese soldiers and Interharamwe operative in the area around the Rwando-Congolese border. Its role seems to be played out, but is it really?
The FDLR’s story is highly complex: the organisation was founded after the Rwandan genocide in the refugee camps of Rwandese Hutus in Congo. Initially, it consisted of soldiers of the former Rwandan army and the Interharamwe, the radical Hutu organisation that committed the most murders during the genocide.
Today, the organisation’s importance seems to have shriveled: most Rwandese Hutus have returned to Rwanda or were killed; the organisation allowed fort he Congolese government to exploit it; it is internally divided and the different fractions are held up in a ‘miniature war’.
Journalists Marc Hoogsteyns, Adeline Umutoni and Chrispin Mvano traveled to the Congolese Masisi region, where they witnessed the devastating effect the militia wars have had. They visited an FDLR fraction and accompanied the Congolese army as it set up a small assault to rid the region of the last remaining radical FDLR. The assault failed, however, which caused thousands of Congolese to flee.
This project was funded through Journalismfund.eu's Flanders Connects Continents grant programme.
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