On Thursday night, Laurent Nkunda, the former leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), was arrested by the Rwandan army as he crossed into Rwanda through the southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border.
The rebel group was fighting the Kinshasa government and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)- remnants of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe’ responsible for killing over one million, people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
According to Mende Omalanga, DRC’s Minister of Communication, Nkunda and his men were ambushed at their fortress and stronghold in Bunagana located on the Ugandan border. Nkunda fled south into Rwanda where he was arrested by the Rwandan army.
Nkunda right from 2004 took the challenge to protect his Congolese tribe by counteracting the FDLR who were continuously killing them.
The 40-year-old rebel commanded the CNDP described as a well trained force that had dominated the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Earlier in August 2005, they threatened to take over the Kinshasa government accusing it of failing to contain the FDLR. However, the arrest of Nkunda does not come as a shock for many.
Way back in June, 2007, during the Tripartite Joint Plus Commission in Lubumbashi, DRC, the governments of DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda agreed to disarm all rebel factions in the eastern region.
The countries combined their political and military strengths in a bid to stop the insecurity in the region. That was not all. The 2007 Nairobi Joint Communiqué emphasised disarming and repatriation of all rebel factions in eastern DRC.
Of course the promising bilateral relations between Rwanda and DRC last year also played a major role in taming the rebels.
But the squabbles in CNDP have also played a part. One and a half weeks ago—on Friday January 15, 2009, CNDP’s Chief-of- Staff, General Bosco Ntaganda ousted Nkunda, and a coalition of 10 other military leaders signed a peace declaration in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, to stop hostilities against the Congolese government.
The agreement is a huge step towards stopping the war in Congo, which had a negative effect on the Congolese populace.
When in August last year CNDP launched an offensive against the Kinshasa government, over 250,000 people were displaced leading to a humanitarian crisis in the region.
The developments in DRC come after the United Nations’ 21,000 peacekeeping troops, have failed to contain the crisis. What still stands is to crush the FDLR who are the root cause of the eastern DRC troubles. And if the Rwanda- Congo relations still stand, then surely the negative genocidal forces will soon be history.