The German Lutheran Church is up in arms about a press report by a left-leaning newspaper, citing a UN report that $5,000 ended up in the hands of the Hutu militia FDLR currently operating in Congo. The FDLR includes members accused of being involved in the Rwandan genocide, and its political leadership is facing trial in Germany.
The German Lutheran Church denied the allegations claiming that the money was only intended to be used in a project for the “peaceful demobilisation of FDLR members”. The money was handled by its Congolese sister church, the Église du Christ au Congo (ECC). However, a Norwegian missionary, Kare Lode, involved in a joint project by a Norwegian and Congolese Pentecostal parish testified that most of the money was paid out to the FDLR for what appear to be highly dubious claims, such as transportation costs and meals for 150 members, which just don’t add up to $5,000. Thus, it can be assumed that the money was pocketed by FDLR commanders, who also have made it clear that they were not interested in the demobilisation of their fighters.
According to the UN report, the Congolese government paid $60,000 to the FDLR commander Mudacumura to provide an incentive for him to come to the bargaining table, an endeavour which ultimately failed.