A top Rwandan rebel leader Lieutenant Colonel Idrissa Muradadi today has surrendered to the joint forces of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and the Congolese national armed forces (FARDC).
Reports say that at the joint military offensive, Lieutenant Colonel Muradadi’s three bodygoards also turned themselves to the joint forces.
Lt. Col. Muradadi is considered a “big fish” in the rebel group called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda or the FDLR.
Muradadi was a leader in the 2nd battalion of the Rwandan Hutu militia known by its French acronym FDLR. The FDLR has terrorized eastern Congo for years by launching brutal attacks on civilians.
The Congolese government has been unsuccessful to eradicate the group, which crossed into Congo after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
“This is excellent news. “- Manodje Mounoubai, spokesperson for MONUSCO
Muradadi is reportedly sent to a disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, rehabilitation, and repatriation camp after his surrender and will soon be sent to Rwanda, according to MONUSCO.
The MONUSCO spokeperson stresses that Muradadi’s surrender will have a demoralizing effect on others FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo.
It is good news for civilians in the region as well, Mounoubai added.
“Usually, those who surrender are rank and file. So it is a very interesting development.” -Mounoubai
On December 2011, Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the release of a Rwandan rebel leader after dismissing war crimes charges related to deadly fighting in the far east of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2009.
Callixte Mbarushimana, the head of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda was released from the custody of the court, which is based in The Hague, after the decision by one of its pre-trial chambers.
FDLR forces fought against DRC Government forces, Rwandan Government forces and UN peacekeepers in North Kivu and South Kivu throughout 2009. The FDLR is among several armed groups active in eastern DRC.