News / Africa

Congo Official Says FRF Rebel Group Blackmailing Government

The leader of the Federal Republican Forces (FRF) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo says his group will continue its offensive against the national army after accusing the national army of attacking FRF positions.

UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congno and DRC soldiers get ready to deploy from Gemena
UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congno and DRC soldiers get ready to deploy from Gemena

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Audio
  • General Venant Bisogo, leader of Congo's FRF rebel group spoke with Clottey

  • Lambert Mende, DRC Information Minister spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

The leader of the Federal Republican Forces (FRF) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo says his group will continue its offensive against the national army after accusing the national army of attacking FRF positions.

General Venant Bisogo said the rebels’ objective is to force President Joseph Kabila’s government to resolve problems, including underdevelopment in eastern Congo after what he claims to be years of neglect.

“We had a meeting, a conference in Goma (and) we asked many things and government accepted… (but) now government refused to give us the solution about many problems that we have in eastern Congo after two years,” Bisogo said.

The rebel group has often refused to hand over their weapons despite the government’s ultimatum demanding Minembwe, a town in South Kivu be an independent territory.

Bisogo said the government has failed to develop eastern Congo.

“We have so many problems… we have no development, we have no roads, we have no hospitals, we have no schools and we have many insecurities in eastern Congo. We want to sit around the table and to discuss about that problem. If we finished the discussion, we will enter into the government forces,” Bisogo said.

The rebels accused the government of excluding them in previous peace accords -- a charge the government has denied.

In 2009 a Belgian researcher claimed Rwanda supplied arms to the FRF rebel group shortly after President Paul Kagame told Congo’s President Kabila that his government would not be a source of instability for Congo -- allegation Kigali has sharply denied.

Analysts say the FRF rebel group was formed as an anti-Rwanda political movement funded by Congolese Tutsis.

Information minister Lambert Mende said the administration will not allow the rebels to undermine the government’s mandate.

“He claims to fight for being appointed as cabinet minister. This is blackmail. Our policy has been these last years to strictly reject any political claim backed on blackmail. Because when you say yes to such blackmail from criminal elements like those, it is not the right way to the rule of law in our country and we won’t follow that way,” Mende said.

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