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Nkunda captured, Congo demands extradition

Article published on the 2009-01-23 Latest update 2009-01-23 14:52 TU

Congolese soldiers on the road north of Goma.(Photo: Reuters)

Congolese soldiers on the road north of Goma.
(Photo: Reuters)

Rebel Tutsi leader, Laurent Nkunda has been captured and detained by Congolese and Rwandan troops on Thursday after fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to spokespeople from both countries.
Laurent Nkunda in Rutshuru, November 2008.(Photo: AFP)

Laurent Nkunda in Rutshuru, November 2008.
(Photo: AFP)

The joint force was established on Tuesday to track down Hutu rebels of the Rwandan Democratic Liberation Forces (FDLR).

Speaking with RFI following Nkunda's arrest, DRC's Information Minister Lambert Mendé Omalanga said “now we think that peace is back in North-Kivu.”

Nkunda, whose National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) has also been fighting the Hutu militias, or Interhamwe, including the FDLR, had announced that he would cooperate with the Congolese army and their Rwandan counterparts. 

But once in position on Thursday, government forces began to advance on Nkunda’s position in Nord-Kivu province, clashing with the Tutsi rebels five kilometres west of Bunagana.

Nkunda fled towards the Rwandan district of Bigogwe – a Tutsi refugee camp - and was pursued by soldiers before being caught and detained at a “secret location” in Rwanda.

Authorities in the DRC now want Rwanda to extradite Nkunda so that he can face war crimes charges.

“A lot of Congolese have lost their lives at the hands and bullets of this guy – who we tried to negotiate with,” Mendé Omalanga told RFI. “He ruled out any attempt by our president and our government to have a peace process.”

Comment: Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mendé Omalanga

23/01/2009 by Billie O'Kadameri


Both countries have hopes that their mission against the FDLR would ease tension between the two countries.

The FDLR are now positioned ten kilometres from the eastern town of Tongo, within the sights of Rwanda’s heavy guns.