They are detained in Kinshasa: DRC mulls sending kidnapped Rwandan soldiers to third country

On 3 June 2022 at 10:58

Details have emerged that two Rwandan soldiers recently kidnapped by Congolese Army (FARDC) in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are detained in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

IGIHE has learnt that DRC mulls sending the soldiers to Angola instead of directly handing them over to Rwanda.

These soldiers of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) include Cpl Nkundabagenzi Elysée and Pte Ntwari Gad. They were arrested on patrol along the border between Rwanda and DRC.

DRC said that they were arrested in 20 kilometers from the border as they went to support M23 in its clashes with Congolese Army.

However, Rwanda rejected the statement insisting that they were kidnapped along the border on patrol.

On Tuesday this week, DRC President Félix Tshisekedi accepted to release them on the request of Angolan counterpart João Lourenço, who is the mediator between both countries on the issue. Despite the pledge, the country has not yet released the soldiers.

IGIHE has learnt from credible sources that the soldiers were initially detained by FDLR and later handed over to Congolese Army which incarcerated them in Goma.

The time for their release as agreed by Tshisekedi remain unknown but sources indicate that DRC doesn’t want to send them directly to Rwanda. It is said that the country mulls sending them to Angola as the mediator which will hand them over to Rwanda.

Sources also reveal that the aircraft to carry them to Luanda, the capital of Angola from where they will be flown to Rwanda is not yet available.

Meanwhile, protests are escalating in DRC where all political parties including some harbouring destructive ideologies against Rwanda are requesting to stage demonstrations.

Each political party has to write to DRC leadership requesting for a go ahead to mount protests at Rwanda’s embassy in the country.

Rwanda’s embassy is headquartered in Avenue de Justice in Kinshasa. It is located in a multi-storey building which also houses different businesses.

It is said that the embassy’s officials are safe as they have opted to work from home lest they are assaulted by protestors.

On Thursday, protestors turned up in large numbers at the embassy but, according to sources, Police dispersed them because they tampered with businesses operating in the same premises.

More anti-Rwanda demonstrations are expected this Friday.

It has been reported that Vincent Karega, Rwanda’s ambassador to DRC was rescued by Police as protests escalated at the embassy. IGIHE has however learnt that circulated information is not true because Amb. Karega was at his home when the demonstrations were staged.

Speaking to the media recently; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta said that Rwanda wants its soldiers released and requested DRC to stop its provocations on Rwandan territory.

“We want such provocations to stop. We want these soldiers released. However, in case these attacks continue to threaten our country’s security, we would be legitimate to defend ourselves and you know that we have capacity,” he disclosed.

Rwanda has been accusing FARDC of working with FDLR. During their clashes with M23 recently, the forces shelled rockets on Rwandan territory which injured people and destroyed houses.

It was the second shelling on Rwanda’s land this year.

DRC President, Félix Tshisekedi recently accepted to release Rwandan soldiers on the request of Angolan President, João Lourenço who is the mediator between both countries.