DRC: President of FDLR confirms that renounces armed struggle
President Victor Byiringiro have FDLR
The acting president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), General Victor Byiringiro confirms that his men have laid down their arms since December 30, 2013. This statement Rwandan Hutu rebels, some of whom are accused by Kigali of being former genocidal raises some suspicion both on the side of Rwanda and the international community. The head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, has decreed that the fight against the FDLR was his priority for 2014. Military operations against the armed group are in preparation. Victor Byiringiro – whose real name is Gaston Iyamuremye – is under UN sanctions as a key member of the military and political leadership of the FDLR. Joint RFI, it calls on African leaders and especially those of the Great Lakes to follow the disarmament process.
RFI : Why did you decide to disarm?
Victor Byiringiro : The reason is that we are truly peacemakers, we FDLR. We have tried to do in 2001 when we were in Kamina. We filed more than 1,000 weapons and stationed an entire brigade. We tried it again in 2005. We were in Rome .
But these initiatives have failed. We did not really wanted to accompany us. This time, we retentons the same thing by inviting the international community to join us, but we especially targeting African leaders. For we, Rwandans, we had a lot of deaths, whether within the country, whether here in the DRC where we are refugees. Is it that we can continue this game?This we did not. This is why we have laid down their arms in favor of peace and seek a peaceful solution through political means.
What does this mean?
We have initiated a process of collecting all our weapons and place them somewhere. And that, because we had a setback in 2002 when we had laid down their arms and even sent people to the country for an exploratory mission. When they came back, we were bombarded with Kamina.It was now called MONUC MONUSCO (Mission of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo), with the Congolese army. It was a sad fact for us.And I do not know if we can still play like that. Maybe we can find a negotiated solution with MONUSCO. But we will take the process in hand while asking the international community and especially to African leaders to join us in helping us get a highly inclusive inter-Rwandan dialogue.
But Rwanda refuses dialogue. He says you only have to go as other members of the FDLR did.
Kagame [Rwandan President Paul Kagame] say “no” to dialogue, that’s his business. But we are determined to overthrow costs. But the reverse peacefully because we laid down their arms. We will do politically and peacefully. This regime knows no democracy. This is why we, the opposition to this plan, we try to put together all our political forces for precisely we reverse this regime and replace it with a democratic system.
How do you hope to return to Rwanda taking this kind of speech?
Yes, it is our wish to return to Rwanda; this is our country. But I’ll give you some examples: Victoire Ingabire, FDU party, the PDP-Deo Mushayidi Imanzi party, Mr. Bernard Ntaganda of PS Imberakuri. These people, they are in prison because they are opponents. This is why we do not yet returned. We want to be free in this country to participate in its development.
The Rwandan government believes that some of the FDLR are guilty of genocide, you send genocidal ideology to children who were not born in 1994 …
We have been demonized long. If we are called genocide, why do not they made a list of names that can appear before national or international courts? We were demonized long enough. We are now called terrorists. What terrifies you? Demonization, we’ve had enough.
You yourselves are under UN sanctions. Are you not afraid, in laying down arms, to be pursued by international justice?
Really, I have committed no sin. I am a refugee here in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).Me, I’m not afraid of anything. If you ask me to answer anything, I will answer. But I know I’m innocent in all.
Have you ever initiated contacts with African leaders? We talk about the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete?
We are trying to initiate these contacts . And I am sure we will succeed.