RUSIZI - A group of 43 rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were last Tuesday repatriated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
They arrived in Rwanda at around 3:50 pm through Rusizi 1 border in Kamembe.
Immigration officials at the border said 13 men, 11 women and 19 children were repatriated by the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) from Mwenga and Uvira regions in north Kivu province.
Among them were two sergeants, five corporals and the rest were privates.
Speaking to The New Times shortly after their arrival, Sergeant Pole Murekezi said they had left the country during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsis.
He thanked the government of Rwanda for having accorded them a warm reception.
“I am so happy today for having returned to my own country. It has restored our hope,” he said, adding that they left many of their colleagues in the jungles who are trying to defect.
The rebels face death from rebel leaders upon making unsuccessful defections, he noted.
Clementine Nyiramirimo who was repatriated with three children said, “I have nothing to say but only to thank the government of Rwanda for this kind of reception.
I wish all of our colleagues to come back because in my view, the Rwandan government treats all its citizens equally.”
The former combatants are currently staying at Ntendezi transit camp but they would be transferred to Mutono demobilisation and reintegration center for solidarity camp training before being reintegrated into the mainstream society.