This is surprising news. Congolese Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was apparently arrested by Rwandan troops on the Rwandan side of the DRC border yesterday. Jeffrey Gettleman has the story:
Gen. Laurent Nkunda, the fearsome Congolese rebel leader whose national ambitions and brutal tactics threatened to destabilize eastern Congo, was arrested Thursday night along the Congolese-Rwandan border, United Nations officials said on Friday.
According to the U.N. officials and statements made by the Congolese military, General Nkunda was trying to escape a joint Congolese-Rwandan military offensive that was intended to wipe out several rebel groups terrorizing eastern Congo.
He was captured at a small border town called Bunagana after trying to resist Rwandan troops. “He’s going to Kigali,” said Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich, a U.N. spokesman, referring to Rwanda’s capital.
On Thursday evening, hundreds of Rwandan troops converged on Bunagana, one of General Nkunda’s mountain strongholds. Congolese officials said he refused to be arrested and crossed over into Rwanda, where he was surrounded and taken into custody, apparently without violence.
What makes this all the more surprising is that last month a no-nonsense Security Council “panel of experts” report showed that Nkunda was essentially a front for Rwandan business interests in Eastern Congo. Now, it seems Kigali has turned against him–and rightfully so. Nkunda is quite possibly responsible for war crimes in eastern Congo, including, most recently events surrounding the sacking of Kiwanja.
Yet another interesting wrinkle is that earlier this week, Rwandan forces were invited into Eastern Congo by the Congolese government to join in a common offensive against Hutu militias known as the FDLR. It would seem they had another target in mind…