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Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:33AM
Congolese rebel fighters (file photo)

Congolese rebel fighters (file photo)

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have captured the leader of a rebel group in the eastern province of South Kivu, an aide to the provincial governor says. Desire Kyakwima said on Monday that Gustave Bagayamukwe Tadji, the leader of the Union of Revolutionary Forces of Congo (UFRC), was arrested on Sunday in Uvira on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, south of the provincial capital Bukavu, AFP reported. In January, Bagayamukwe announced the creation of the UFRC as a "politico-military" movement which seeks to overthrow President Joseph Kabila and try him for “high treason.” Meanwhile, on Sunday, South African police said they had arrested a Congolese man suspected of being the mastermind behind a rebel group's plot to topple the government in Kinshasa. Police officials said that the man was the ringleader of a group of 19 Congolese rebels plotting the coup, adding that he was arrested Friday in Cape Town. President Kabila was reelected in November 2011 in a vote described by international observers as "lacking credibility." Several armed groups, including rebels from the March 23 movement (M23), are active in the east of DRC and fighting for the control of the country’s vast mineral resources, including gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including mobile phones. The M23 rebels seized the eastern city of Goma on November 20 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city, which is home to about one million people. The rebels withdrew from the city on December 1 under a ceasefire accord. The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009. Since early May 2012, nearly 3 million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but more than 460,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda. Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead. MN/HGL
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