Final Report of the first discussions on the existence of FDLR in DRCongo: FDLR a Myth of a Reality

Report of the first dialogue on the problematic of FDLR in North Kivu under the theme: FDLR a myth or a reality held in the meeting hall of COJESKI North Kivu in Goma on Wednesday April 24th, 2024. For our Presentation on FDLR in DRCongo find it here: English “Presentation on FDLR in DRCongo        the French “Presentation sur les FDLR Francais

Kulihoshi M Pecos sharing with the participants of what he has observed,


Since 1996 up today Rwanda has been military involved in eastern DRCongo claiming various issues among the presence of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda known as “FDLR” which according to Rwanda threatens peace and security in Rwanda. However questions have existed about the claim from Rwanda as a section of people do not believe this anymore. On the same way various Diplomatic Missions accredited to DRCongo has repeatedly issued statements calling upon DRC Government to end support to FDLR and the Congolese Army to stop collaboration with FDLR fighters, some army officers were even transferred to Kinshasa and being accused of working with FDLR. Lastly with this humanitarian crisis in North Kivu caused by millions of Internally Displaced Persons, there is need to find a lasting solution for peace and security and one among the activities to solve the question of FDLR.

What can be done now?

First of all, we realized that a diverse interpretation and definition of who FDLR are exactly at all levels and each stakeholder has his/her understanding, this is why we need to harmonize the views,

Secondly we observed that there is a diverse perception of the danger which FDLR pose in in some cases people view this differently. Is FDLR a danger to who? Why? How? When? And the same time engage on who is a danger to FDLR, why how and when?

Lastly we are strongly divided on existing approaches which appears not only impartial but also it has not never effective despite millions of money injected in these money consuming projects, we also need to agree on the best approaches to both ensure FDLR is not a danger anymore and to also ensure no one becomes a danger to FDLR anymore,

Participants listening to the testimonies of others during the meeting

Events before this dialogue

We engaged various institutions based in Goma about this problem but no one could give us a clear information about the existence of FDLR, and questions have been asked where Rwanda, the United Nations, the African Union do and the Diplomatic Missions get the information from and is this information accurate. Gathering information is the very first step yet we observe that actors involved in this field may have serious challenges to access accurate information because these actors are viewed to be on the side of Rwanda and the United Nations or sometimes imperialists. The information we have been given over the years about FDLR has to be tested in order to be believed as accurate.

Events before the debate in reactions to our move  

Touching on this matter raised the attention of some actors both local and international, yet we just want to have accurate information on this issue of FDLR.

Few days before the debate the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo accused the Congolese Army of supplying FDLR with guns this is the same accusations from Rwanda, on the eve Radio Okay which is the United Nations Radio broadcasted one Wednesday April 24th 2024 at 6am for the first time in four years the fighting between two FDLR factions against each other in South Kivu on Tuesday April 23rd, 2024. These events for us were not hazard but rather a well planned activities to help us to believe in what we have been told about FDLR.

Before that the Government of DRC had also organized two activities, the first which also focused on the problematic of FDLR and a Radio Talk-Show on the State TV and Radio on the same subject.

For us this was appears very to have these variety of views which have never existed before and which started coming up when we publicly said we want to understand better this situation. This is what we want and it should be amplified to other actors at all levels mainly community, provincial, national, regional and international.

Reactions from the key actors

Everyone is busy taking notes of new things which are being discussed, for some this was the first time to hear such,

Those who are directly involved in issues around FDLR indicated that it was sensitive and complex but still questions remains how long would this be sensitive and complex and who will reduce it to make it more easier for people to discuss about it. But also at the national there was two interactions including a Radio and TV Talk-show.

The list of Invited guests  

The guested were invited basing on their roles on issues around Rwandan Refugees and Armed groups in DRC. Intelligence services know as ANR, Migration Department known as DGM, The Congolese Police, The Military Commandant of North Kivu, PDDRC-S, The Governor, ICGLR, DDRRR, MONUSCO, the MONUSCO Civil Protection and the Human Rights Bureau, Human Rights Watch, French Institute, Belgium, UK, and the USA Consulates, UNHCR, The Congolese National Commission for Refugees, SADC Mission, Firimbi, the Civil Society, LUCHA, Veranda Mutsanga, CLC, Security Barometre of Kivu, the leader of the cultural leaders, the DRC Human Rights Commission, the Bishop of catholic Church, the Representative of protestant churches, Muslim Representative, the representative of the local leaders, and the representative from the Adventist church, and representatives from refugees.

Various guests who attended

In short invitations where categorized into the following:

Government Institutions, United Nations Agencies, Diplomatic Missions, the Civil Society, the local leaders, traditional leaders and refugee representatives.

Three among these actors play roles in issues around FDLR mainly Government Institutions, the United Nations and the Diplomatic Mission surprisingly none among these actors was represented, we also have actors of the Civil Society who work on this issue and who are funded by foreign donors, some claimed they would come but did not, others just refused to come and others just kept quiet.


To either establish or remove claims about the presence of FDLR in North Kivu and the risks they present,

To advocate for better approaches towards Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

To provide the Congolese people and decision makers with accurate information,

To put to end the claims and contre-claims between DRC Authorities and Rwanda Government,

To promote exchange and dialogue between actors in the great lakes region over lasting peace,

To advocate for the implication of leaders of refugees and other armed groups on finding durable solutions,


The dialogue was a result of four years interactions with Rwandan Refugees in North Kivu, and collecting different information from them,

A field work was then initiated which made us to visit the DRC Government Institutions, the United Nations Agencies and the International Conference on the Great Lakes, and the Civil Society Actors among others. We realized that there is the lack of the debate.

Invitations were sent to all the actors mentioned, among them three declined their participation mainly the Directorate of Migration, Human Rights Watch and SAMIDRC (SADC) Mission.

The list of the participants

The following organizations and institutions were represented and contributed to the discussions: ASSODIP, CLPC, MVA, COMICO, ANR, SOCIV, NDSCI, AJUDI-ONG, FARCD Task-Force, COJESKI, BADILIKA, JSK, CCFR/CIRGL, UNHCR, REFUGEES, CLC, FIRIMBI, VERANDA, LUCHA, JS4, Two Refugees, which the total number was 30 participants. We expected at least 25 participants.

Findings from the debate

Participants observed that FDLR existed in the past but currently they are no longer seen, there is a big confusion on who is exactly FDLR in order to help the audience to reflect on this we provided and presentation which helped the participants, and it was also argued that FDLR is now a mere ideological movement of those who are opposed to the current Rwanda regime.

Participants were informed about activities of FDLR in one village of Nyiragongo especially abuses against civilians who are using fire-arms in order to survive and recommendations were formulated to local people, the DRC Government, the International Community and to Rwanda. And the audience requested to organize more of these debates in order to push for lasting solutions.

Results of these discussions

For the first time different actors came together to discuss about this issue and those who participated agreed on various things and came up with recommendations. It was clearly agreed that in the past the Congolese Army worked with FDLR fighters to resist against Rwanda and this may change the narrative about FDLR.

The dialogue made the problematic to go beyond some few experts and becomes a community issue, this issue should be discussed also at the community levels,

Clear information was shared and participants took to their homes the presentation in order to share it with others, and continue the conversations but also get enough time to share with us the feedback,

Many actors visited our offices for their first time and were briefed about our work in order to remove speculations,


The first challenge was the lack of financial means in order to make the event much better, we had enough people which did not fit in the office and the discussions deserved to be held somewhere in the Hotel,

There is still lack of information on where are the FDLR in DRCongo exactly and various opinions could not give a clear source to which we could focus on, and especially that what a big audience think about FDLR is not necessary what they are,

The key participants who are involved in issues around FDLR were absent, the Diplomatic Mission Absent, and the UN Agencies absent also,

The meeting failed to provide participants with the necessary logistics,

The meeting could not involve and bring on board participants from Rwanda and from FDLR Groups,


We have the opportunity to extend the conversation with all actors at various levels including one to one meeting,

The need to mobilize the necessary funding for this activity in order to make it more attractive,

The need to involve the media and the press in order to cover a wider audience,

The need to involve also political leaders especially the members of the parliament at various levels and political parties,


Creating a consensus on the problematic of FDLR is partly the solution to wars in DRC, and will contribute at 40% to peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region, we remain engaged to create such debates so that people can reach to common understanding and look at the reality in the same way.

Our end goal is to ensure that Congolese at all levels do not keep armed groups which are danger to Rwanda in case this is found to be true, and at the same time to end Rwanda’s claims about armed groups in DRC, but also to engage Rwandans not to support armed groups against DRC, and with a particular attention towards the protection of Rwandan refugees in DRC,

To clearly put a demarcation between refugees, asylum seekers and armed groups and advocate for the protection of refugees,


Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos

Provincial Coordinator


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