Militia leader surrenders

Militia leader surrenders

KINSHASA – The leader of a Congolese pro-government militia surrendered to UN peacekeepers on Saturday, following a two-day operation by the army to track him down, UN and army officials said.

Congolese soldiers, backed by peacekeepers from the UN mission (MONUC), surrounded Kasereka Kabamba and around 50 of his Mai Mai fighters late on Friday in the Rutshuru district of troubled North Kivu province. “We encircled him last night.He was already finished,” General Vainqueur Mayala, the army’s commander in North Kivu, told Reuters.”He asked me: ‘My General, send me to MONUC’.”Kasereka’s militia is one of several armed groups – including Congolese Tutsi insurgents, the army, and Hutu rebels from neighbouring Rwanda – that have clashed in North Kivu this year, displacing thousands of civilians and raising fears of a return to war in the vast central African nation.A former high ranking army officer, Kasereka has said he had government support to wage a guerrilla campaign against the forces of renegade General Laurent Nkunda, who took up arms three years ago to protect members of his Tutsi ethnic group.Kasereka has joined forces with Nkunda’s tribal enemies, the Hutu-led Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), for operations against the rogue general’s forces.Nkunda and officials of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan government accuse Congo of supporting the FDLR, something President Joseph Kabila has denied.Rwanda has twice invaded Congo in pursuit of Hutu rebels it blames for its 1994 genocide, in which 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.The second invasion triggered a 1998-2003 war in Congo which sucked-in six neighbouring countries and killed some 4 million people, mostly from disease and hunger.Nampa-Reuters”We encircled him last night.He was already finished,” General Vainqueur Mayala, the army’s commander in North Kivu, told Reuters.”He asked me: ‘My General, send me to MONUC’.”Kasereka’s militia is one of several armed groups – including Congolese Tutsi insurgents, the army, and Hutu rebels from neighbouring Rwanda – that have clashed in North Kivu this year, displacing thousands of civilians and raising fears of a return to war in the vast central African nation.A former high ranking army officer, Kasereka has said he had government support to wage a guerrilla campaign against the forces of renegade General Laurent Nkunda, who took up arms three years ago to protect members of his Tutsi ethnic group.Kasereka has joined forces with Nkunda’s tribal enemies, the Hutu-led Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), for operations against the rogue general’s forces.Nkunda and officials of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan government accuse Congo of supporting the FDLR, something President Joseph Kabila has denied.Rwanda has twice invaded Congo in pursuit of Hutu rebels it blames for its 1994 genocide, in which 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.The second invasion triggered a 1998-2003 war in Congo which sucked-in six neighbouring countries and killed some 4 million people, mostly from disease and hunger.Nampa-Reuters

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