28 November 2012

Rwanda: Three Feared Abducted By FDLR

Photo: Radio Okapi
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda rebels (file photo).

Three residents of Rubavu District were yesterday reported missing following Tuesday's deadly attack by the DR Congo-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, local residents said yesterday.

The attackers are remnants of an army and militia group blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than a million lives.

The militia group attacked villages in Rubavu, Western Province and left at least one civilian dead.

According to Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), the offensive was mounted by at least two heavily armed companies of the FDLR, equivalent to about 120 troops.

The Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) operating along the DRC border with Rwanda - a group composed of military officers from 11 regional countries - has promised to work closely with the UN Mission in Congo, Monusco, in searching for the missing Rwandans.

There is wide belief that they trio was abducted by the rebels.

"We cannot discuss anything with the militia; we shall seek help from Monusco [UN Mission in Congo] and the DRC government as we try to find the three," said Col. Gabriel Ntirandekura, JMV's team leader.

He was responding to questions from journalists who went on a guided tour of Bugeshi and Cyanzarwe sectors in Rubavu district, the scene of the fire exchange in which six rebels were killed and two captured.

Some of the deceased were found with identification documents of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), heightening speculation that the militiamen could have received the ammunition from the DRC military.

"It is possible that rebels may have legally acquired the national military uniform and documents and this will be another issue of contention for us," Col. Ntirandekura added.

Rwanda's Defence and Military Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, who was among the officials with the journalists yesterday, confirmed that they had received reports of missing people.

Kigali has said it has no intentions to pursue the attackers inside the Congo, which is faced with a rebellion in the country's east.

In Bugeshi and Cyanzarwe areas, residents expressed fears, suggesting the missing colleagues were abducted by FDLR.

Nzabamwita assured the residents of their security.

Martin Ngirukwayo, one of the rebels who were captured by the RDF with several rounds of ammunitions, told journalists that the insurgents who had crossed the border into Rwanda were about 250.

The attack that occurred early Tuesday left at least six militiamen dead, while on the Rwandan side, one civilian was killed while three were injured, according to the RDF.

After the fire exchange between RDF and the rebels, the latter were repulsed and went back to DRC jungles.

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