KIGALI - Colonel Jonas Nteziyaremye, alias Makoto of the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD), a breakaway faction of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) has abandoned the bush and returned to Rwanda.
The colonel, who had spent 16 years in the forests of eastern DRC, was received by the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) from Rubero in North Kivu Province.
“I was tired and frustrated by life in the bush although it was not easy to escape, but when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to return home,” Nteziyaremye said.
He added that his willingness to return to Rwanda was due to the communication he had with his fellow ex-combatants who had returned earlier and his relatives who live in the country.
“I kept receiving messages from my former colleagues who defected to Rwanda and my family who assured me that Rwanda was peaceful and the government wanted us to return voluntarily,” he added.
Nteziyaremye, was the liaison officer between the militiamen and the local population, and was the public relations officer of the militia group.
According to Nteziyaremye, RUD whose ultimate commander is, Brigadier General Musale, is comprised of about 300 rebels.
“Our objective was to capture power through armed force but given lack of logistics and shortage of recruits as well as support, one would be wrong to assume that any rebel group in eastern Congo can takeover power in Rwanda,” explained Nteziyaremye.
The now former rebel had gone outside the RUD territory to solicit education materials for the rebels’ children as well as identifying immunisation centres when he decided to defect.
Nteziyaremye said that, given the opportunity, he would want to continue his military career in the Rwanda Defence Force.
He encouraged his fellow militiamen, still holed up in the bush to quit the RUD or FDLR propaganda of fighting the Rwandan government and come home instead.
“People in these two rebel groups should return to Rwanda and join hands with the rest of the Rwandans to develop the country,” Nteziyaremye said.
The two groups are mainly comprised of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.