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Rwanda Withdraws Special Forces From Congo

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The Joint Battalion of DRC-Rwanda Special Forces withdrew from Ructhuru on Friday 31 August and arrived at the Kibumba-Kabuhanga border area in the afternoon of 1 September 2012.

The Joint Commander of the Special Force Bn from Rwanda first safely handed over the FARDC Special Forces to the 8 MR Commander, Brig Gen Lucien Bauma at Kibumba, and thereafter gallantly matched his 357 strong contingent to the Kabuhanga border where the troops were received by the Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Charles Kayonga accompanied by the Army Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Kamanzi Mushyo and other General and Senior RDF and National Police Officers.

The returning home contingent of Special Forces have been working alongside their FARDC (Congolese Army) counterparts in a Joint Battalion under a Unified command of RDF Bn Commander.

They have been conducting joint stabilisation military operations that saw thousands of civilians return to their homes, and the North Kivu area normalised due to containment of FDLR and other groups such as SOC and RUD.

The current joint military operations that started on 1st March 2011 saw a big number of FDLR and other affiliated armed group forced to repatriate back to Rwanda, and peaceful environment in the region that have been engaging in development.

A Congolese delegation led by the 8th region of the FARDC, Brig Gen Lucien Bauma Ambamba, in a sign of good cooperation between FARDC and RDF delivered a message of appreciation for the support given by Rwanda Defence Forces to FARDC to the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen Charles Kayonga.

The Chief of Defence Staff thanked the Special Forces for the good job well done. He reiterated that before the joint operations FDLR and other armed groups were threatening the security of Rutshuru residents, Rwandan dissidents were in preparations to establish firm base in the area.

“You have successfully completed your mission,” said the Chief of Defence Staff according to a statement by Rwanda Ministry of Defence.

One of the Kabuhanga local residents (Bugeshi sector) who came to witness the withdraw of RDF Special Forces told the media that she was surprised of seeing RDF soldiers coming from DRC in Congolese Army uniform with Congolese Army commanders “this indicates that our soldiers were operating hand in hand with Congolese Army, different from the rumors propagated that Rwanda was backing M23 rebels,” said Ayinkamiye Francine of Bugeshi sector.

The RDF Spokesperson, Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita told the media that the withdrawal of RDF Special Forces from Rutshuru was due to clashes between FARDC and M23, adding that Congolese were fighting themselves.

He noted that the just concluded FARDC-RDF military operations discredited the UN report accusing Rwanda of backing rebels fighting FARDC in the Eastern DRC.

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