The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) on Wednesday confirmed it killed FDLR leader Sylvestre Mudacumura.
He was the commander of the genocidal militia and was wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The FDLR comprises elements blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed lives of over a million Rwandans in three months.
According to FARDC, its forces in the North Kivu Province killed Mudacumura along with a number of his close lieutenants on Tuesday night in “the chiefdom of Bwito” located in Rutshuru territory.
The FARDC tweeted that: “The neutralisation of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for the Congolese army because he headed the radical wing of the FDLR which opposed voluntary repatriation to Rwanda. His neutralisation is a strong signal for other rebels”.
Since 2012, Mudacumura has been the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court on nine counts of war crimes in eastern DR Congo’s North and South Kivu provinces.
The FDLR militia is listed as a terrorist organisation.
Over 10,000 FDLR ex-combatants have voluntarily returned home to Rwanda over the years.
Many have since been facilitated to reintegrate back into their communities, while some have been integrated into the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).
More about Mudacumura?
Mudacumura was, until his death, the Supreme Commander of FDLR’s military wing – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FOCA).
He was wanted by the ICC on nine counts of war crimes. The counts relate to murder, inhumane acts, rape and torture allegedly committed by Mudacumura’s fighters between January 20, 2009 and August 31, 2010.
Mudacumura was part of defunct ex-FAR army which drove millions of Rwandans into DR Congo, then Zaïre, after systematically executing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
After the Genocide, the genocidal regime’s army (ex-FAR) together with the Interahamwe militia, who were central to the Genocide established bases in eastern DR Congo where they operated under different names, including FDLR.
Mudacumura was the Deputy Commander of the notorious Presidential Guard of the then Rwandan Armed Forces, a brutal elite force that carried out most of the killings during the Genocide.
Mudacumura was known to be an uncompromising genocidaire whose agenda of exterminating the Tutsi persisted.
In 2017, FDLR deserters told this paper that there were serious rifts following disagreement over the fate of thousands of Rwandan refugees – noncombatant FDLR dependents – who some in the militia wanted registered and given essential material support by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Mudacumura’s group was strongly against the idea as the latter feared that the UN refugee agency’s efforts to provide humanitarian relief and safety to the refugees would make known the refugees’ actual number and possibly provide an opportunity for them to bolt from militia’s grip.