GOMA – Another Captain of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) was captured by the joint Rwanda-DRC forces Wednesday and is reportedly on his way to Rwanda.
According to Wednesday’s joint operations communiqué, Pontier Nkeramihigo, alias Richard Amani, was captured in Walikale region, somewhere within one of eastern DRC’s richest mines, Bisie, the largest cassiterite mine in North Kivu.
Composed of the architects of the Rwandan 1994 genocide against Tutsis, the ex-Far/Interahamwe or FDLR elements in eastern DRC have been responsible for grave human rights abuses against the civilian population, including killings and rape on a large scale.
It is reported that they also controlled swathes of mineral deposits. Their direct involvement in mining, especially tin and gold in the east of the country has in the past put all peace efforts at risk.
The press statement which mainly points to recent operations in three regions – Masisi, Lubero and Walikale also highlights that the joint forces over-run and took control of several earlier rebel held territories “without enemy resistance.”
This was on the Masisi-Walikale axis in North Kivu Province, the areas retaken being – Lukweti, Mutongo, Kashunga, Mingazi, Muchele and Misau.
In Lubero, at a place called Tshiamba, four Pareco elements surrendered with two fire arms and 18 child soldiers were also handed over to MONUC at Goma airport.
“Elsewhere, 200 Rwandan refugees under our protection are on the way from Kibua to Rwanda passing through Katoyi-Kibabi where vehicles await them,” the statement reads, saying they will then be transferred to Rwanda.
Wednesday statement stresses that since the joint operations started, statistics of FDLR including Rwandan refugees are as follows: 872 FDLR and their dependants have been repatriated, 331 more await repatriation as well as over 2,000 civilians.