GOMA – Hundreds of Rwandans were repatriated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Monday as rebel militia, including a Colonel, surrendered to the Rwanda-DRC military alliance, reported a communiqué from the Joint Operations’ Command H.Q.
It said Rwandan refugees, formerly held hostage by the ex-Far/Interahamwe or FDLR elements in eastern DRC, have distanced themselves from the outlawed militia group.
In Rutshuru, and specifically in Nyamilima territory, five FDLR elements are said to have surrendered to the joint forces, whereas in Masisi, another top rebel commander capitulated.
“A Mai-Mai-Pareco Colonel Nizeye, formerly allied to FDLR surrendered to the joint forces with 20 other combatants,” the statement says, pointing out that about 20 AK 47 rifles were also seized, at Kazibake situated “north of Nyabyondo.”
“In the sector of Kashuga, the joint forces captured two FDLR elements with two personal weapons,” it adds.
Meanwhile, clashes between the joint forces and ex-Far/Interahamwe or FDLR are said to have erupted Tuesday in Lubero and, the “enemy’s side,” lost three while one was killed and another captured.
No deaths or injuries are reported on the joint forces’ side.
Also stressed is that on Monday, 448 Rwandans in addition to 31 combatants, were repatriated via the border post of Rusizi.
The recent communiqué by and large highlights developments on three fronts – Rutshuru, Masisi and Lubero, all in DRC’s North Kivu Province, against the ex-Far/Interahamwe and FDLR, all who are what remains of the architects of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda.
After killing over a million people, they fled to neighboring DRC, from where they unrelentingly went on killing, raping and pillaging with impunity.
Earlier on Monday, some 29 Mai-Mai Pareco combatants are also said to have surrendered in a place called Bunyantege, while four other FDLR were captured in Mera, in Walikale.
The latest developments come at the end of the joint operations’ earlier set time limit of 15 days, the end of which as predetermined, will be followed by an evaluation to determine what follows.
Many, including North Kivu’s very influential “Bami” or Traditional Chiefs (Les chefs coutumiers) have lately requested the DRC government to consider extending the operations duration, so as to appropriately crush the negative forces’ capacity to disrupt the region’s peace and stability.
It also comes shortly after, the DRC Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Didier Etumba, in a visit to the joint operations’ HQs in Goma last Friday expressed satisfaction with operation “Umoja Wetu”, the ongoing Rwanda-DRC military offensive against ex-Far/Interahamwe or FDLR in eastern DRC.
Since day one, the operation has seen over 250 and 2600 combatants and their dependents respectively, surrender and return home while over 90 have been killed.