May 29, 2013
Genocide survivors have petitioned the UN Secretary General and U.S President over remarks made by Jakaya Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania at the 21st African Union Summit on May 26th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In his remarks, Kikwete is quoted to have called upon the Rwandan government to “negotiate” with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an issue that has raised anger among the genocide survivors in and outside of Rwanda.
The FDLR rebel group is predominantly composed of members of the Interahamwe militia and the Armed Forces of Rwanda, who carried out the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and have continued to conduct killings of innocent civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
During an enclosed meeting called by the UN Secretary General in Addis Ababa, Kikwete is also reported to have argued that since Kinshasa was in talks with the M23 rebels, then it was about time Kigali opened negotiations with the FDLR rebels. Kikwete also pushed argument to Uganda, stating that Uganda should do likewise with its Congo-based rebel force, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
In a statement, released by Alice Umutoni, Vice Coordinator of the US-based organizing committee of the 19th Commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda, the genocide survivors asked Kikwete to openly apologize to all survivors of the genocide in Rwanda and Rwandans in general, Congolese, Americans and many more people who have suffered from the FDLR terrorism.
The Rwandan genocide survivors also argued that Kikwete was fully aware of the atrocities committed by the FDLR in Rwanda and DR Congo, and other rebels groups in Uganda, though he went ahead to make such ridiculous remarks.
The petitioners stated that they were confident that the United States of America would not support this kind of political dealings that act as a setback to Rwanda’s efforts to ensure peace in the DRC and the region as a whole.
United States of America’s leadership has made a commitment to fight the international terrorism, and marked FDLR as a terrorist group, UN also placed a five-million-dollar bounty on handing over some Rwandan genocide perpetrators, including Sylvestre Mudacumura, the FDLR supreme commander who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, torture and attacking innocent civilians.