Thursday, March 15, 2012

D.R. Congo: Rwandan rebel leader surrenders amid UN-backed offensive in DR Congo

UN - 14 March 2012A top Rwandan rebel leader has surrendered amid a joint military offensive by the United Nations and the national army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a spokesperson for the world body has confirmed.

Lieutenant Colonel Idrissa Muradadi, considered a “big fish,” and three of his bodyguards turned themselves in last Friday to the joint forces of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and the Congolese national armed forces (FARDC).

“This is excellent news,” said Manodje Mounoubai, spokesperson for MONUSCO.

Lt. Col. Muradadi was a former commander of the Forces démocratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), which has been active since late 1994 mainly in the eastern DRC.

He was sent to a disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, rehabilitation, and repatriation camp after his surrender and will soon be sent to Rwanda, according to MONUSCO.

“His surrender will have a demoralizing effect on others FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo,” said Mr. Mounoubai, adding that it is good news for civilians in the region.

“Usually, those who surrender are rank and file. So it is a very interesting development.”

The FDLR is among several armed groups active in eastern DRC. The Congolese Government has launched a number of offensives targeting these groups with logistical support from the UN peacekeeping mission.