The United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today reported that all Rwandan Patriotic Army forces have withdrawn from the country.
In a statement released in Kinshasa, MONUC reported that on 5 October, 1,152 troops crossed the border from Goma in the eastern part of the country to Gisenyi in Rwanda, completing a process that began on 17 September.
The border crossing was witnessed in Goma by senior MONUC staff, the Third Party Verification Mechanism established to verify the implementation of the agreement signed on 30 July between the DRC and Rwanda, and by the Joint Military Commission (JMC).
Established under the Lusaka Accords, the JMC is composed of MONUC, Zambia and two representatives from each party under a neutral chairman appointed by the African Union. The JMC is the only permanent forum in which all the recognized parties to the conflict meet.
MONUC said it was able to physically count 20,941 Rwandan troops of the total number of 23,760 which was provided by the military command of the Rwandan Patriotic Army. That figure included the Marine Unit, which had been previously unaccounted for.
The Mission, which is expecting a final confirmation from Kigali, said the Rwandan military command had explained the shortfall of 2,819 troops as being due to leave, training and other assignments at the time of withdrawal.
MONUC confirmed, however, that the Rwandan troops left with their personal weapons, large quantity of ammunitions, machine guns, rocket launchers, rocket propelled grenade launchers, mortars, armoured vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons.
The Mission said it would continue to monitor and re-verify the position of Rwandan forces as well as those of other foreign troops recently withdrawn from DRC.