Rwanda: DR Congo Releases Rwanda’s Kidnapped Soldiers

Congolese authorities have released two Rwandan soldiers kidnapped last month along the common border while on patrol, the Rwanda Defence Force confirms.

An RDF statement on Saturday, June 11, noted that following the kidnap of two RDF soldiers on patrol along the Rwanda-DR Congo border on May 28, “and the subsequent diplomatic interventions” between the Heads of State of Angola, DR Congo and Rwanda, the RDF is pleased to announce that the two soldiers are now safely back in Rwanda.”

“The RDF is grateful for the efforts invested in securing the release of the two soldiers,” ends the statement.

Congolese authorities on May 31, agreed to release two Rwandan soldiers. This was announced the same day by Angolan President João Lourenço after he held talks with DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and requested him to release the Rwandan soldiers.

At the time, Lourenco’s office said: “This step is intended to help reduce the tension in the relationship between the two countries.”

Lourenço, who is the Chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), spearheaded mediation efforts to resolve the current impasse.

The Congolese army and the terrorist FDLR militia, according to Kigali, kidnapped two Rwandan soldiers who were patrolling along the common border.

The RDF earlier indicated that the duo, Cpl Elysee Nkundabagenzi and Pte Gad Ntwari, were held by the Rwandan genocidal FDLR militia in eastern DR Congo. Kigali immediately requested DR Congo authorities to release the two soldiers.

The FDLR is a genocidal armed group formed by remnants of the masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It has been based in eastern DR Congo ever since it fled there in 1994. After killing more than one million people 28 years ago, they fled into eastern DR Congo, where, Kigali says, they were tolerated and preserved by Kinshasa.

According to Kigali, over the years, Kinshasa sanitised the genocidal militia group to the extent that it is currently co-located, and fighting alongside the Congolese army. Rwanda has always noted that the FDLR and its various splinter groups pose a serious security threat, not only to Rwanda, but to the entire region.

Kigali has stressed that it has no intention of being drawn into an intra-Congolese matter, but Kinshasa claims that the M23 rebels are supported by Kigali.