8 December 2012

Rwanda: Three FDLR Members Arrested in Germany

German authorities have arrested three men accused of being core members of the Congo-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia.

The three men possess German nationality and were only identified as Bernard T., 49, Felicien B., 43, and Jean Bosco U., 66.

Rwanda's Ambassador to Germany, Christine Nkulikiyinka, confirmed the development but added that Rwanda did not ask for the extradition of the suspects.

The suspects were arrested n the western cities of Bonn and Cologne, German's federal prosecutor's office announced.

The spokesperson of Rwanda Public Prosecutions Authority, Alain Mukuralinda, confirmed the development but declined to release further details, saying that investigations were still ongoing.

It added that arrest warrants on charges including membership to a foreign terrorist organisation had been issued by an investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice last month,

FDLR, is a terrorist group composed of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The arrested trio is suspected of having set up an FDLR cell in Germany and having taken over publicity and propaganda work for the rebel group after the arrests of several of its leaders.

Information from Germany indicates that, investigators searched the men's homes as well as those of 11 suspected FDLR supporters in several German states in an operation involving around 150 officers, it said.

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the fight against Genocide, Jean De Dieu Mucyo, welcomed the development and called on several other European countries to emulate Germany.

"We are aware most of the FDLR commanders - some of whom participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi - are based in European countries and commanding the militias' operations from there, they should be arrested and brought to justice," said Mucyo.

No date has been communicated about when the three suspects will be taken to court.

The group has for the last 18 years operated in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where they are accused of rapes, pillage and killings.

The eastern DRC where FDLR is accused of orchestrating series operations has been plagued by armed conflict and violence, resulting in the death of thousands of civilians.

In May 2011, Ignace Murwanashyaka, the head of the militia group, and his deputy, Straton Musoni, went on trial in the south-western city of Stuttgart accused of masterminding, from their homes in Germany, atrocities in eastern DR Congo in 2008 and 2009.

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