RUBAVU - A few days after a string of commanders from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia abandoned the group, Lt .Col. Amri Bizimana is the latest to surrender and return to Rwanda.
The FDLR is a terrorist organisation, comprising mainly the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Colonel, who had lived in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994, was received by the United Nations mission in Congo (MONUC) from Kimuwa in northern Kivu province.
“The Congolese army bombing us, the diseases in the bush and the continuous wars in eastern Congo make life unbearable yet the Rwandan government wants us to return voluntarily,” Bizimana said, explaining his decision to return home. He added that fellow combatants who had returned home and relatives living in Rwanda also influenced his decision.
“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 willingly,” added Bizimana.
The 45-year old who left Rwanda in 1994 as a Second Lieutenant, has been in the high command of the militia.
Bizimana who stepped on Rwandan soil, on Wednesday, for the first time in 16 years, had been with MONUC in Goma in eastern Congo for five days as they coordinated his repatriation.
He pointed out that though it is not easy to escape from the FDLR, most of the fighters, especially in the lower ranks, want to quit the rebel outfit and return home.
The former rebel encouraged his comrades who are still holed up in the bush to drop the FDLR propaganda of fighting the Rwandan government and come home.
He said that he is ready to do anything to earn a living as well as it contributes to the development of the country and if given the opportunity, he would serve in the Rwandan Defence Forces.