The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi has figuratively revealed that it is time to wage a war on Rwanda after elucidating that diplomatic process is no longer a promising option to restore peace in the eastern part of his country.
Tshisekedi made the revelation in the evening of Thursday 3rd November 2022 as he delivered state of the nation address.
He delivered the remarks at a time when the fighting between Congolese soldiers and M23 rebel group is ongoing.
Tshisekedi has called on all citizens, security personnel and politicians among others to unite against M23 and defend territorial integrity.
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Tshisekedi said that the rebel group is receiving support from Rwanda in terms of resources and reinforcement troops.
Congolese Army (FARDC) in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) continues to lose bases during the ongoing fighting with M23 rebel group.
The defeat has seen Congolese citizens and politicians externalizing the country’s problems and accuse Rwanda of supporting the rebel group, a claim which the latter has repeatedly rejected.
The accusations were followed by protests against Rwanda where Congolese continue to speak ill of the neighbouring country instead of exerting pressure on the national army to quell rebels.
M23 resumed fighting early this year requesting DRC to implement signed peace accords to give leadership positions to members of the group as a gesture to put an end to discrimination against Kinyarwanda-speaking people in the country.
DRC failed to respect the peace accords signed in 2013, labeled M23 as a terrorist group and refrained from engaging in talks with its members.
Congolese Army is gradually losing different bases to M23 which continues to advance towards Goma town after capturing strategic areas including Bunagana, Rutshuru and Rumangabo among others.
Tshisekedi has said that his country tries to maintain relations with nine neighbouring countries and elevate partnership with Rwanda and Uganda, ‘but surprised by the resurgence of M23 which had been defeated in 2013’.
“Through the false accusations of FARDC support to FDLR, Rwanda has intentions to hoard our minerals. To achieve this, it has opted to destabilize eastern DRC to create a lawless zone for its own interests,” he said.
Alluding to waging a war on Rwanda, Tshisekedi said that his country had two options to address security problems in eastern DRC: diplomacy and war.
“I have resolved to prefer the first option over the second. So, the diplomatic option has been implemented,” he said.
“It is worth reminding that our commitment to the pursuit of peace is in no way a sign of weakness, or an admission of our country’s inability to fight tries abusing our patience by means of war. It is an expression of our peaceful and hospitable character,” added Tshisekedi.
Through the diplomatic process, Tshisekedi said that he met with heads of states from East African Community (EAC) on 20th June 2022 in Nairobi, and later met with President Paul Kagame along with Angolan President João Lourenço on 6th July 2022.
In September this year, Tshisekedi also met with his counterpart of Rwanda and French President Emmanuel Macron in New York.
The Congolese President has said that these efforts yielded no tangible results towards achieving peace.
Tshisekedi explained that he has powers granted to him by the constitution to defend territorial integrity until the supreme sacrifice.
He urged Congolese to stand united and in solidarity with security forces to show the highest sense of patriotism in defending the country’s integrity and ensure security of nationals against attacks from wherever.
Tshisekedi also sent a warning to those who betray the country working in the interests of the enemy that they will face the law.
He ordered the Congolese army commander to establish dozens of military training centers as part of preparations to respond to alleged Rwanda’s support to M23.
“In response to the appeal of young people to enroll massively in our Armed Forces, I reiterate the instruction given to the Chief of Staff to accelerate the establishment of training centers through the twenty six provinces in our country,” he said.
“The war imposed on us by our neighbours demands sacrifice from each of us. It is time to silence our political differences to defend our motherland together,” added Tshisekedi.