First group of Burundian ex-fighters repatriated from the DR of Congo, UN says

29 December 2003

The first group of Burundian former combatants who volunteered to go home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been repatriated, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country said today.

The 151 ex-fighters, who were members of the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) and the National Liberation Forces (FNL), along with 10 of their dependents, left for home yesterday, according to the mission, which is known as MONUC. Since February, the fighters had gradually moved into a transit centre at Adi Kivu, 30 kilometres north of Bukavu.

Yesterday, the former combatants were escorted to the Gatumba refugee centre in Burundi, where they were met by representatives of the national rehabilitation commission before moving on to their home districts, MONUC reported.

The mission hailed this development and praised Bujumbura for its cooperation while expressing hope that the several hundred Burundian combatants still estimated to be in the DRC would soon be repatriated through similar operations.


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