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Germany to FDLR: “Page not found”

August 31, 2009

It’s not like the FDLR web page was any big secret. The Hutu militia still active in eastern Congo, and viewed by most as the central cause of the ongoing conflict, has had a web presence for years. The UN wrote about it in their December 2008 experts report. The president of the FDLR, who lives in Manheim, even told a court there in March that his main communication with the men in Congo comes through the Internet.

Not anymore. In response to an inquiry from German newspaper Die Tagezeitung (TAZ), the FDLR’s Internet service provider has pulled the plug on the militia’s page.

“TAZ has succeeded at what the UN has so far failed to achieve,” the paper proclaimed in the opening sentence of its article.

TAZ claims that, after the UN wrote about the web page, it called the service provider to let them know, just in case they missed the memo, that they were aiding and abetting the militia. But the service provider claimed it learned of it first from TAZ and then immediately took the page down.

It’s a small victory — everyone on both ends of FDLR cyberspace still has email, after all — but not an insignificant one. If the UN and Rwanda have garnered some success in getting FDLR foot soldiers to give up and go home, the organization has totally failed to get traction on ending the European cover the FDLR leadership enjoys in France, Germany and Belgium, among other places. This may just be a start?

(In an interesting but nerdy aside, the future of privacy on the Internet had the cover of Der Spiegel, Germany’s big-deal weekly current affairs magazine, a week or two ago. Some of the comments on the TAZ article put this development in that context and wonder (hopefully FDLR ideology aside?) about the future of Net freedom.)

UPDATE: Those crafty FDLR! They took the “www” out of their page name, registered a new domain–with OVH–and the site is live again (though domain directories promise it is “pending transfer.”). Information, they say, finds a way…

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mbuyi permalink
    September 20, 2009 2:48 am

    Hello everyone,
    Wer congolese we are so disappointed how UN and any other big NGos are handling DR Congo issue.
    Instead of reaching out and look how they can sold rwanda political problem with FDLR, they are burning it’s website. Deas burning website matter?
    We need peace, not UN keep playing and making situation worse and loosing our own people.
    I think FDLR agree genocide and , it needs to take part in arresting those who might have take in part in genocide, so why can’t UN and IC keep forcing rwanda to agree flank dialogue?
    I think , if UN doesnt want to support peace dialogue, that means that it support conflits.
    I think UN is in DR Congo for busness,
    In so doing they let innocent pepole still loose their lives in the conflicts.

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