Regional investigators in Rwanda to probe a rebel invasion from Burundi

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19 combatants reportedly arrested inside Rwandan territory being paraded before ICGLR investigators; RDF Photo

A team of military investigators today embarked on a probe to verify a suspected rebel incident in which 19 Burundians were captured after illegally crossing into Rwandan territory with arms.

A team from Joint Verification Mechanism, a regional military framework under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), convened in Nyaruguru sector, southern Rwanda on Monday, on a mission to ascertain the circumstances behind the incident.

On September 29, the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) said they apprehended heavily armed rebels in Nyungwe forest, having crossed from the neighboring Burundi.

The Rwandan military said it informed the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) about the incident and requested it to verify and investigate the case.

The Rwandan army has since said the combatants work with Red Tabara, a Burundian rebel group.

An assortment of arms allegedly confiscated from combatants who invaded Rwanda; RDF Photo

ICGLR is a 12 member inter-governmental organization of African countries in the African Great Lakes region which advocates for a concerted effort in order to promote sustainable peace and development within member states.

The team was today briefed by the RDF area commander, Major Alex Nkuranga about how the group of Burundian combatants were apprehended as investigations into their intentions commence.

With headquarters in Bujumbura, Burundi, the regional body is a 12 member state (Angola, Burundi, CAR, DRC, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Republic of Congo) and 7 other co-opted members including; Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

A team of investigators from ICGLR meeting with RDF in Nyaruguru sector on Monday; RDF Photo

Cross-border incidents between Rwanda and Burundi involving armed elements, date back to the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which suspected 800,000 people perished and political instabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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