Tags: DRCongo | rebels | Lukweti

DR Congo Army Recaptures Rebel-held Town after Six Years

Image: DR Congo Army Recaptures Rebel-held Town after Six Years
Lukweti, DR Congo

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 11:00 AM

The Congolese army said Monday it had recaptured the eastern town of Lukweti, which a small ethnic rebel group had controlled and used as its headquarters for six years.

"We finally dislodged" Janvier Buingo Karairi, leader of the rebel Alliance for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS), said a spokesman for the Democratic Republic of Congo's armed forces.

Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Amuli told AFP that the army recaptured Lukweti, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the regional capital Goma, on Saturday night.

"There was fighting, but not of great intensity" before Karairi and his men fled the town, the spokesman added.

Lukweti lies in the Masisi region of the mineral-rich North Kivu province where the Congolese army, backed by a special UN brigade, has been hunting down dozens of rebel groups.

DR Congo troops have been battling APCLS fighters for weeks but their operation received crucial aerial backing from a UN attack helicopter on March 9.

The APCLS, believed to number some 500 men, was founded in early in 2008, consisting almost exclusively of members of the Hunde ethnic group.

Against a background of land ownership disputes, it battled against the presence of ethnic Tutsis in North Kivu, refusing to recognise their right to Congolese citizenship.

One observer in the region reported that representatives of the APCLS and of two other armed groups, the Raia Mutomboki and a militia led by warlord Ntabo Taberi Sheka, met on Friday in a bid to form an alliance.

Their goal is to prevent Congolese Tutsis who had sought refuge in neighboring Rwanda from returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Congolese and UN forces are also battling fighters from the ADF-Nalu, a Ugandan Islamist group, and the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia that includes some the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.

The government forces' most significant victory came in November 2013 with the defeat of the M23, a mainly Tutsi rebel group of army defectors which had briefly occupied Goma.

After the vanquished M23 announced the end if its rebellion, the Kinshasa government had said it would promote the return of Tutsi refugees.

Such a measure could concern several hundred thousand people who fled to Rwanda, where some of them have lived since the beginning of the 1990s.

© AFP 2017

 
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The Congolese army said Monday it had recaptured the eastern town of Lukweti, which a small ethnic rebel group had controlled and used as its headquarters for six years.
DRCongo,rebels,Lukweti
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2014-00-17
Monday, 17 Mar 2014 11:00 AM
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