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DRC launches operation against Rwandan Hutu militants

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has launched an offensive against Hutu militants from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the east of the country without the support of UN troops, according to latest reports.

"Operations against the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) began in South Kivu early this morning and will last as long as these people resist," said an officer in the armed forces (FARDC) speaking anonymously to AFP. "We have taken steps to protect the population," continued the officer.

The launch of the operation comes after the African Union urged the DRC to accept support from the UN mission (MONUSCO). The UN initially offered to assist DRC forces, however stated that two generals accused of human rights abuses must first be removed.

In response, DRC President Joseph Kabila said last week that his government "renounces, in the most official manner, the support of MONUSCO to track the FDLR. We are going to track them alone."

Speaking after an African Union meeting on Monday to discuss the issue, African Union special representative to the Great Lakes region, Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, told Reuters,

"We think that it should be a joint operation to succeed, which is why, today when Congo as a country renounced any logistical and professional support from MONUSCO, we were not very happy with this issue."