• Senior cadre and others captured
GOMA - The ongoing joint Rwanda-DRC operations continue to net FDLR elements operating within the eastern provincial capital of Goma and afar.
As the operations launched last month continue, more militias are being captured from deep within the jungles of North Kivu province.
FDLR’s intelligence network in Goma has been dealt a severe blow as rebel operatives are captured on a daily basis, The New Times has learnt.
Other operatives were seized after having successfully entered Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camps in the region.
“I just used to cook food for them (FDLR) but I don’t know much about their activities. They never let me know much since I have just joined,” Private Gaspard Ruzindana said in an interview, adding that he had managed to infiltrate an IDP camp north of Goma.
Five others were nabbed over the weekend while two more were captured in Goma early morning Monday.
FDLR Staff Sergeant Felecien Karegyeya and Ruzindana were smoked out of the IDP mid-day yesterday. They said that they have been operating in Goma and using false identity papers issued by a local official, at a fee.
Karegyeya who says he joined the former Rwandan army in 1992, also revealed that prior to his capture, he was based in Rugari village, about 30 kilometres north of Goma and constantly operated within Magengo, a suburb of Goma town from where he was nabbed.
Ruzindana said he has been cooking and “running other errands” for FDLR elements in Kanyarucinya, an IDP camp near Kibumba small town north of Goma.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, a top FDLR political cadre Christopher Bahigirubusa alias Rwanda also surrendered and reported himself to the UN Mission in DRC, MONUC, for repatriation.
Bahigirubusa who arrived with his wife and four children revealed that he was in charge of linking the FDLR with the international community, local leaders in the DRC and the other armed groups, especially the Pareco – Mai-Mai faction and others. He hails from Ramba, in present day Ngororero District.
Also captured and returned to Rwanda late Sunday were a medical doctor who is also a Captain – Silvestre Yaramba Mwizerwa, Corporal Karasanyi and Staff Sergeant Joseph Ribakare.
The three were captured at the war front in Masisi region.
The Joint Operations Command Centre in Goma over the weekend announced that operations in Lubero and Masisi regions had seen more rebel fighters captured and bases seized.
A late Saturday communiqué says that former FDLR strongholds in Nyabiondo and Kashebere also fell to the joint forces Saturday.
“Four including a captain and a 15 year old child soldier were captured. The enemy is in flight towards Orientale Province in the Park of Maiko,” reads the statement.
It also points out that the joint forces last Friday attacked FDLR positions “at Mighobwe” an area situated three kilometres from Kirumba town, killing several and recovering different weapons.
“Elsewhere, 54 Pareco Mai Mai combatants surrendered to our forces at Kanyatsi, a locality situated 08 kilometres south of Luofu. At Kasuo, the FDLR fled in disarray after attempting, without success, to sabotage the main hydroelectric station,” concludes the statement.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) is scheduled to hold a broad news conference in Goma today to provide an update of the operation that has been on for the last three weeks.