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Rwanda: 3,500 FDLR Rebels Surrender, Demand Repatriation to Rwanda

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At least 3,500 rebels of the Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and their dependents, on Tuesday evening (January 01, 2013) emerged from their jungle hideouts in the Kabare territory of the South Kivu Province, DR Congo – headed for UN demobilisation centres.

The rebels came from the forests of Nindja, Kalonge, and Bunyakiri – moving towards Luhago-centre, in Kabare territory of the south Kivu, according to local officials quoted by UN broadcaster Radio Okapi. A traditional ruler in the area said the rebels were seeking to lay down their weapons and go back to Rwanda.

According to the territorial leader for the Luhago area, these thousands of rebels have expressed the will to lay down firearms; saying that they are tired of the forest and unbearable conditions which they have had to face for years.

“From yesterday, 1st January 2013 at about 17hours (5pm) local time, the first group of FDLR composed of combatants and civilians of Rwandan origin…who had fled after the 1994 genocide against Tutsis arrived at Luhago center from Bihari,” said the traditional ruler of the area where they surrendered.

The UN mission in DRC has reportedly dispatched a team to establish the facts on the ground, and will immediately facilitate the repatriation of the combatants to Rwanda.

These combatants had come from Kalehe, Bunyakiri, Kashehi, Kitumba-Ninja and Luyuyu. There are also some of them who came from North Kivu territories, according to UN officials.

After arriving at Luhago-centre, the first group of the FDLR, led by two commanders identified as Colonel Job and Nicolas, set off for Mulambula, in Walungu territory. MONUSCO has a based in this area, and its here that they will be transported to Rwanda.

MONUSCO’s disbarment and repatriation section said it had received the information and that it is ready to receive, disarm and repatriate the militias. MUNOSCO’s officials however said they are also setting up a special commission for the task in case the process happens as it is reported.

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