The top United Nations envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today welcomed the arrest of two leaders of a rebel Rwandan militia on suspicion of carrying out crimes against humanity and war crimes in the eastern region of the DRC.
The two men, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, who are thought to be high-ranking members of the ethnic Hutu rebel Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), were taken into custody by German authorities on Tuesday.
“This is an important development, which we believe will help the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region move to a more peaceful future,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Alan Doss.
“I would urge other nations where FDLR leaders are sheltering, to follow Germany's example,” added Mr. Doss, who also heads the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC.
The nearly 19,000 strong MONUC force, set up in 2000 to help restore peace after years of multiple civil wars, has been supporting the DRC national army in its efforts to flush out the FDLR rebels who have been operating in the east of the country since the end of 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.
The arrests are in line with Security Council resolutions calling for UN Member States to take action against leaders who are known to be supporting FDLR commanders in eastern DRC, where an estimated 1.7 million remain homeless due to violence in North and South Kivu with over 400,000 of them fleeing their homes since January.