Rwanda arrests, hands over 2 DRC soldiers

Corporal Jean Marie Eric Molanga and Sgt Omar Jean Muntu, the two Congolese soldiers extradited to DRC

Corporal Jean Marie Eric Molanga and Sgt Omar Jean Muntu, the two Congolese soldiers extradited to DRC

Rwanda has arrested handed over two Congolese soldiers belonging to the national army (FARDC) for allegedly entering the country illegally.

The two soldiers, who were handed over this Tuesday to the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) great lakes collaboration force, were allegedly arrested while on a drinking spree in Rwanda and had crossed the borders without official permission from the command centres.

The soldiers Corporal Jean Marie Eric Molanga and Sgt Omar Jean Muntu were arrested in November and December 2015.
Rwanda says that the act is a gesture of goodwill and promoting good relations with its vast Central African neighbour.

“This is intended to keep the good relationship within the regional forces and our objective is to have disciplined forces” said Lt Col James Cassius, top Rwandan military official.

Col. Fulbert Okandza who represented the Congolese military at the handover, said that this is a lesson to Congolese soldiers and that they will try encourage and train them to respect territorial borders.

“We thank the Rwandan counterparts for resolving this issue in a peaceful manner. We will embark on educating our soldiers to learn how to respect other nations’ borders,” Okandza said.

The captured duo said they were surprised upon arrest because “the border was not clearly demarcated.”

“We were arrested here knowing we had not crossed into a foreign land. We were confused by the borders which are not well demarcated,” said Omar Muntu.

In the past, Rwanda has apprehended and extradited Congolese soldiers. In 2013, three Congolese soldiers; Capt. Augustin Bareke, Private Kasongo Tshiteya and Isac Muzige were arrested in Rwanda for allegedly engaging in suspicious activity before being sent back to their country.

In the same year, in a period of two months, Rwanda had handed over to EJVM six Congolese military personnel who had illegally crossed into Rwandan Territory.