Congo rebel leader Laurent Nkunda arrested in Rwanda

Gen. Laurent Nkunda, leader of the largest guerilla army in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested in Rwandan territory Jan. 23. He reportedly crossed the border after fleeing a joint Rwandan-Congolese operation to arrest him. Reports call it a startling about-face by Rwanda, which had been widely accused of backing Nkunda. The DRC government has issued an international warrant for Nkunda’s arrest following accusations that his forces committed atrocities.

The BBC reports that Nkunda is being held by the Rwandan forces in Rubavu district, close to the border with the DR Congo. It is believed that Rwanda’s crackdown on Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) comes in return for a promised joint Congolese-Rwandan offensive to crush the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), whose leaders are accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. (The Guardian, Jan. 24; BBC News, Jan. 23)

More than 1,000 Rwandan soldiers crossed into Congo on Jan. 20 to join Congolese forces in an offensive against the Hutu militia. UN officials said the Rwandans were working as “advisers” for the Congolese troops. (NYT, Jan. 20)

See our last post on the struggle for Central Africa.