Burundi extradites more than 30 rebels to DR Congo

Burundi extradites more than 30 rebels to DR Congo

Congolese army spokesman says Mai-Mai rebels handed over to military authorities in South Kivu

By Fiston Mahamba

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (AA) - Burundi has handed over more than 30 suspected rebels to Congolese officials, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Capt. Dieudonne Kasereka said that the rebels had fled to Burundi following an offensive launched last week by the army in Ubwari.

Ubwari is the headquarters of the Mai-Mai militia group led by William Amuri Yakutumba, a former Congo military officer.

"Thirty-four rebels were handed over by Burundi to the South Kivu military authorities," said Kasereka.

"The army has formally identified one of the extradited as the commander of the rebel groups' naval force, a major unit of the rebel group whose main base is on the shores of Lake Tanganyika," he added.

He said the 34 people and the other rebels captured during the fighting last week will be presented at a press conference later.

Late last month, the Congolese army launched a naval offensive in Ubwari, the Mai-Mai stronghold.

Last week, fierce fighting between the rebel group and army forced more than 8,000 Congolese to move to Burundi, while others fled to Rwanda and Tanzania.

There are several militia groups in eastern DRC formed by warlords that have been accused of looting property and controlling some gold mines.

The Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) has been struggling to recapture localities recently fallen under the control of the Mai-Mai militiamen.

The insurgent group has been carrying out attacks in eastern DRC for about a decade.

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