Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:26PM
Democratic Republic of the Congo soldiers take positions near the border with Rwanda, June 12, 2014.
Democratic Republic of the Congo soldiers take positions near the border with Rwanda, June 12, 2014.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) says units of its forces have launched a military campaign against Rwanda-based Hutu rebels in the east of the country.

“The action has started and will not stop until we have neutralized these negative forces,” Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda said on the sidelines of the 24th African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday.

He added, “The determination of the government is such that there will be no letup until we have finished this group.”

Hutu rebels with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) vowed Friday to disarm.

“The FDLR in their determination to continue to work for peace in the region...reaffirm their commitment to following the disarmament process,” the rebels said. The disarmament process began in June 2014.

On January 29, the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the official start of operations against the Hutu rebels, but withheld combat for two days.

The FDLR rebels had been given until January 2 to turn themselves in or face an offensive by the UN and Congolese troops.

Some 83 FDLR rebels surrendered in early January, but nearly 1,500 to 2,000 others are expected to still be in the remote jungles of eastern DRC.

Some of the FDLR rebels are thought to have taken part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of at least 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority. A large number of the Hutu rebels fled to the neighboring DRC in fear of retaliation by Tutsi people, when Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda, ended the genocide in July that year and came to power.

MP/HSN/SS

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Hutu rebels in DR Congo vow to disarm Sat Jan 31, 2015