- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
KINSHASA, Congo The U.N. mission in Congo (MONUC) has repatriated 11 Rwandan rebel officers arrested in October, its special envoy told a press conference yesterday.
"As we speak, 11 of the 19 members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda are being repatriated to Kigali by MONUC," said envoy Amos Namanga Ngongi. The 11 are "commanding officers who were arrested in Kinshasa with war weapons," said a government official in charge of the effort to disarm, demobilize, repatriate and help former fighters in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to rejoin civilian life.
The government official added that the expelled Rwandans were not among suspects from the genocide being sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, signed a July peace accord in South Africa, asking the world to help them end four years of warfare in Congo estimated to have claimed 2.5 million lives.
The pact called for Rwandan Hutu rebels based in eastern Congo, which the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda claims to represent politically, to be rounded up, disarmed and repatriated by Oct. 27, while Rwanda pledged to withdraw 20,000 troops from Congo within the same time frame. Rwanda honored that promise.
In September, Kinshasa declared it would no longer provide a safe haven for members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.
Days later, Tharcisse Renzaho, a former governor of Kigali and key suspect in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was arrested in Congo and handed over to the U.N. tribunal, based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Mr. Renzaho was a colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces, which was responsible along with the Hutu extremist Interahamwe militia for the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda of nearly a million people, mostly ethnic Tutsis.
Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans fled to Congo during and after the genocide. The tribunal was set up by the United Nations in 1994 to try those accused of being genocide ringleaders.
MONUC says it has already repatriated about 800 former fighters and their families among the 2,000 who had been regrouped at a military base at Kamina, in southeastern Congo.
Earlier in Geneva, the High Commissioner for Refugees announced it will start in April repatriating more than 5,000 Rwandans living in camps in Zambia under an agreement signed a week ago in Kigali.
The agreement "is the first in a series to be signed this year with the government of Rwanda and countries hosting Rwandan refugees," said U.N. spokesman Ron Redmond.
The High Commissioner for Refugees plans to start informing the Rwandans in Zambia of the travel arrangements and plans to help them go home and reintegrate socially. Then the agency will carry out a census of those who wish to be repatriated, Mr. Redmond said.
Most of the Rwandans arrived in Zambia after the genocide of 1994. They live mainly in the Meheba and Mayukwayukwa camps in western Zambia, though small groups of Rwandan refugees live in towns in the southern African country.
Before the end of March, a team sent by the Rwandan government will visit the camps in Zambia to tell refugees there about the situation in Rwanda, Mr. Redmond said.
On Monday, Mr. Kagame briefed his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, in Pretoria about recent developments in Africa's Great Lakes region, but an official declined to give details.
"I cannot disclose anything at all about the contents of the meeting," Mbeki spokesman Bheki Khumalo told AFP, but he confirmed that the two heads of state met for about 90 minutes in the South African capital.
South Africa is responsible, jointly with the U.N. observation mission in Congo, for overseeing compliance with the agreement that Kigali and Kinshasa signed in Pretoria in July.


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