Rwanda: Regional Military Team Probes Burundian Fighters Found in Nyungwe Forest

A team of experts under the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a regional military framework, was on Monday morning in Nyaruguru District to investigate circumstances under which 19 Burundian combatants ended up in Rwanda.

The 19 combatants claim to be part of Red Tabara, a Burundian armed group, and were apprehended last month by the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) after crossing into the Rwanda territory.

A five-member team of military officers who work across borders of the Great Lakes region visited Ruheru Sector where the heavily armed fighters were found.

Red Tabara is an armed group fighting the government of Burundi.

The officers who are part of the verification team are drawn from Kenya, DR Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda and Burundi.

On Monday morning, they were briefed by Battalion 1 commander Major Alex Nkuranga, who informed the team that the 19 combatants were captured on September 29.

Nkuranga said the armed forces were ambushed during RDF's routine patrol rounds after they had crossed 600 metres into the Rwandan territory.

"It was 10 am during routine patrols when our forces ambushed the Burundian armed group," he noted.

They were apprehended with their guns (a machine gun, one RPG launcher, 17 SMGs (AK 47), and 2 walkie talkies of Motorola type.

After a one on one interview with the Burundian combatants, EJVM said it will issue a final report to the regional members.

The mechanism operates under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) which brings together 12 countries from the region, including Rwanda.

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