MUSANZE — At least 209 ex-combatants from different rebel groups fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, were on Friday discharged after completing a three month reintegration course at Mutobo Demobilisation and Reintegration Centre in Musanze district.
Among them was one former Major, two Captains, four Lieutenants, Sergeants and several corporals.
“We lived a very bad life in the forest of Uvira (DR Congo) for the last 13 years. The conditions were unbearable, the soldiers are held back there due to wrong propaganda,’’ said Bonavanture Bimenyimana, a former FDLR Major.
Speaking during the discharge ceremony, the US Ambassador to Rwanda, W. Stuart Symington, said that it was a positive signal reflecting the stability of the country.
“Rwanda today is a better [place]…there is no country or people who have not made mistakes, but every one is judged by the works they do every day,’’ W. Stuart said. The ex-combatants accused the UN Peace keeping Mission in Congo-MONUC, for failing to deploy in rebel occupied zones to provide safe routes for the civilians and the rebels willing to defect.
MP Anne Marie Musabyemungu, said the government commends the ex combatants’ return to Rwanda to join others in rebuilding the country. She challenged the group to foster peace, unity and reconciliation.
“Peace and reconciliation spirit should start from your hearts,’’ Musabyemungu said.
The chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, Jean Sayinzoga said that Rwanda is ready to receive all those who stop rebel activities. He urged the group to register in order to vote in the in the upcoming presidential elections.
The former rebels said that during the course, they acquired a clear perspective about Rwanda’s history, good governance, human rights and justice.
Also present was the Burundian Ambassador to Rwanda, Remmy Sinkazi, officials from the embassies of Kenya, Tanzania and the MONUC representatives in Congo.