Capt. Damien Kwizera, a member of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, has joined other senior members in defecting from the outlawed group.
FDLR is mainly comprised of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which was declared a terrorist group by the United Nations.
Kwizera, 41, abandoned the outfit and returned to Rwanda on April 15, after 17 years in the Congolese jungles.
His return was facilitated by the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONSUCO).
“I was tired of fighting a senseless war. I wasted a lot of my precious time in the bush and I am happy to be finally home,” Kwizera said in an interview.
He explained that his willingness to return to Rwanda was motivated by the communication he had with his fellow ex-combatants who had returned earlier.
“I escaped after I realised that there was no reason why I should remain in the bush fighting a hopeless war. Others also want to defect but it’s not easy to escape,” Kwizera added.He defected with nine other combatants and two civilians.
Kwizera, who was attached to the political wing of the outfit, left Rwanda in 1994 as a young second lieutenant.
“Our objective was to capture power through armed struggle, but given the lack of support and the Umoja Wetu Operation, we were left without direction.”
Umoja Wetu was a joint military offensive that was mounted by the Congolese army with help of their Rwandan counterparts that left the FDLR was severely weakened.