Saturday, January 24, 2009

Joint forces capture Nkunda in Rwanda

Joint forces capture Nkunda in Rwanda
Written by Reuters
Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:51:22 AM

Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested in Rwanda after he resisted a joint Rwandan-Congolese military operation designed to pacify eastern Congo, officials said yesterday.

The arrest of Nkunda, who has led a Tutsi rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 2004, occurred during the joint Congolese-Rwandan operation which was launched this week to hunt Rwandan Hutu militiamen operating in Congo.

Wars, rebellions and ethnic violence since 1998 have killed more than five million Congolese, holding back the development of the huge former Belgian colony in central Africa, which is rich in minerals like copper, cobalt, coltan, gold and uranium.

"Ex-general Laurent Nkunda was arrested on Thursday, January 22 at 22:30 hours while he was fleeing on Rwandan territory after he had resisted our troops at Bunagana with three battalions," Congolese and Rwandan military commanders said in a statement.

The statement, read at a news conference in the eastern border city of Goma, gave no more details. A Congolese minister said Congo's government would ask Rwanda to extradite Nkunda.

A Congolese army colonel, who asked not to be named, said Nkunda and rebels loyal to him had fought against Rwandan and Congolese troops when they arrived at Bunagana, a town on the border with Uganda in Congo's North Kivu province.

Nkunda's leadership of his Tutsi rebel National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) group had been challenged this year by dissident rebel commanders who last week ended hostilities with the Congolese government.

The commanders' statement urged Tutsi fighters loyal to Nkunda to disarm and integrate into the Congo government army. - Reuters

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