Ten thousand rebels have surrendered to Rwandan government


As of this monty, 9 740 Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo have surrendered to the Rwandan government as a result of military pressure, incentives and a media campaign, according to government figures.

Rwanda’s demobilization and reintegration commission revealed a significant increase in the number of rebels surrendering or giving up their fight, according to the Rwandan Ministry of Defence. On average, the commission is receiving more than 90 combatants and their family members every month. In April alone 98 rebels handed themselves over.

As of May 12 the commission had discharged 8 621 former rebels from the Mutobo demobilization centre in northern Rwanda. More than 85% percent of these ex-combatants were from the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). The group is the main Hutu rebel group in the east of the DRC and has been involved in fighting from its formation in 2000. It is opposed to Tutsi rule and influence in the region. Many FDLR rebels have bee implicated in acts of genocide.

Other Rwandan rebels have come from RUD Urunana (The Rally for Unity and Democracy), former Rwanda army (Ex-FAR), the Congolese government army, and the CNDP (National Congress for the Defence of the People) rebel group. Other Rwandans have surrendered from Burundian rebels groups. The RUD Urunana is a faction of the FDLR and is also based in the DRC. It has been called a terrorist organisation by the United Nations.

Rebels have also been surrendering to the United Nations – last year, 1 881 FDLR rebels, including 64 senior officials, voluntarily surrendered to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

On February 7, the United Nations special representative in the DRC, Roger Meece, told the UN Security Council that significant progress had been made to protect civilians and fight against armed groups like the FDLR.
“It’s premature to say that the FDLR is dead, but we can authoritatively say that the group’s capacity has been diminished. For the first time, I believe that we are closer to eliminating this group which has always been a threat to the civilian population in eastern DR Congo. We have not yet achieved total success but definitely there’s some progress,” Meece told the Security Council.