Rwanda is willing to return a captured rebel general to Congo, but set no timeframe and said it needed to look at how this could be done.
Rwandan authorities arrested Congolese General Laurent Nkunda in January, and officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) want him returned to face war crimes charges, Reuters reports.
“General Nkunda is a Congolese. His return place has to be DRC, but we agreed that we need to look at how this was done so that it does not jeopardise the kinds of gains that we’ve been able to arrive at,” Rwandan Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali told reporters in Cape Town.
She said a joint Rwandan-Congolese team considering Nkunda’s repatriation would report to foreign ministers on March 27 and 28 in Kinshasa. That meeting would also look at consolidating the success of a joint operation between Congolese and Rwandan troops in eastern Congo in January against Rwandan Hutu rebels.
The rebels are accused of killing civilians and using rape as a weapon during their 14-year presence in Congo.
Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger western neighbour under the pretext of rooting them out, sparking a 1998-2003 war that triggered a humanitarian catastrophe estimated to have killed 5.4 million people.
“Once the Rwandan forces have left (Congo), the DRC remains with the responsibility of dealing with the FDLR problem, so part of what we will be discussing is how we carry forward these successes and be able to consolidate them,” Museminali said.