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DRC police arrest rebel leader

11 February 2013, 15:58

Bukavu - Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have arrested the leader of a rebel coalition based in the volatile South Kivu province, an aide to the provincial governor said on Monday.

Gustave Bagayamukwe Tadji, head of the Union of Revolutionary Forces of Congo (UFRC), was arrested on Sunday in Uvira on the shore of Lake Tanganyika south of the provincial capital Bukavu, said Desire Kyakwima, press attached to the governor.

Bagayamukwe in January announced the creation of the UFRC as a "politico-military" alliance of armed movements whose goal was to overthrow President Joseph Kabila, who came to power in 2001.

Kyakwima said Bagayamukwe will be swiftly transferred to the capital Kinshasa.

In a note sent to AFP after it was founded, the UFRC called for the organisation of "democratic elections and the rapid installation of a new political order".

The coalition proposed the formation of "national organs of transition and the beginning of the reform of the defence and security systems, starting with South Kivu province".

South and North Kivu are two of the eastern provinces in the vast DRC that are rich in minerals, including gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan, which is used to make many electronic devices including mobile phones.

Several armed groups active in the two Kivus are closely involved in mining operations. Since May, the Congolese army has concentrated on fighting another rebel force, the Movement of March 23 (M23). The United Nations accuses neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda of backing M23, but both countries strongly deny the allegation.

Nations in the Great Lakes region, which include the DRC itself, plan to deploy an international neutral force on the border between the DRC and Rwanda. In its statement, the UFRC demanded "the cancellation of the sending of an external force, however neutral it is, to keep the peace in the whole region".



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