DR Congo repatriates nearly 300 Rwandan rebels

Fighters belong to breakaway faction of FDLR rebel group

James Tasamba   | 16.12.2019
DR Congo repatriates nearly 300 Rwandan rebels

KIGALI, Rwanda 

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday repatriated to Rwanda 291 members of a Rwandan rebel group, authorities said.

The National Council for Democratic Renewal (CNRD) members were captured in South Kivu Province during recent fighting with Congolese army. 

The CNRD is a breakaway faction of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group based in Congo, which is reportedly led by former Rwandan Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu and "Hotel Rwanda" movie star Paul Rusesabagina, who live in Belgium and the U.S. respectively.

The former combatants who were captured in Kalehe territory were repatriated through Rwanda-DR Congo border post at Rusizi under the supervision of Dieudonne Muhima, Congolese commander of Operation Sokola 2 in South Kivu.

The fighters included 41 rebel leaders and 11 children, said Muhima.

“The combatants were captured after Congolese army launched operations at CNRD base in Kitindiro. Other than these fighters, there are some hardline elements still hiding around Nyamunyunyi but operations are ongoing to track them down,” added Muhima.

Receiving the former combatants at the border, Alex Kagame commander of the Rwanda Defense Force third division operating in the western region of Rwanda, said the repatriation showed that Congolese army offensive against rebels in eastern Congo is yielding fruits.

After their capture, the fighters and their dependents were kept at Nyamunyunyi military camp near Bukavu in Kabare territory, according to Muhima.

Congolese forces launched operations against armed groups in the eastern part of the country at the end of October.

More than 300 members of the FDLR surrendered to the Congolese army with their weapons in the Kalehe region of South Kivu province after their base in Kahuzi-Biega National Park was destroyed, military spokesman Leon Kasonga said early this month.

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