Joint operation destroys Hutu rebel bases

Joint operations by Rwandan and Congolese troops have destroyed the main bases of Rwandan Hutu Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwandan government radio reported on Wednesday.

The report cited General Marcel Gatsinzi, Rwanda’s defence minister, who said that since the operation started on January 20 the main bases, including their headquarters at Masisi in Nord-Kivu province, had been destroyed.

The Masisi base had included a university and training facilities for officers, Gatsinzi said, in an address to Rwanda’s National Assembly.

The general was reporting back on the results of the joint offensive by troops of the two countries against the FDLR.

Elements of the rebel force, which has been based in eastern DRC for more than a decade, are believed to have taken part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide of 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

During the operation, which showed unprecedented cooperation between the two countries, 89 FDLR rebels had been killed, said the radio report.

A statement issued by the assembly called for the operation to be extended until it had completed its mission of ending the threat from the 6 500-strong force.—Sapa-AFP

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