Lt Gen Laurent Ndagijimana, alias Wilson Irategeka or Rumbago, the political chief of the combatants of the National Council for the Democratic Renewal (CNRD) would have died from his injuries. In any case, this is what the concordant sources say in Mwenga in the south of the Province of South Kivu.
It’s very true, everything on the ground suggests that the operational capacity of FLN Rwanda rebel movement has been greatly reduced.
Today, in the Lwindi chiefdom where more than 100 CNRD combatants, a dissidence of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and their dependents arrive in the afternoons at Ishungwe near the Zokwe river in a Kigogo group.
Among them, sick children and women. Sick, yes, perhaps because of the distance traveled in the Congolese forests from North to South South.
In fact, for several months, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(FARDC) have been tracking down Rwandan rebel groups.
Operations started in Kalehe territory. Since then, several combatants and their dependents have taken the forest route to escape the strike force of the Congolese National army. They covered several territories including Kabare, Walungu and Mwenga in South Kivu.
According to their testimony, it took them barely a month to reach Nyamaleke (Mwenga) from Kitindiro and elsewhere (Kalehe). That is, from November 28 to December 23 of last year.
Their final goal was first to reach Kilembwe and Lulimba in Fizi territory “to join the others” and organise to send “Paul Kagame”.
A life of brainwashing operation in Congolese Forests
On site in Luindi’s chiefdom, the CNRDs can now be counted at your fingertips. They also say they are ready to be repatriated back to their homes in Rwanda.
For some, their relatives are already in the country of a thousand hills and for nothing in the world, they would no longer accept to stay in the Congolese forests, “especially since we are not even more than 200” they recall.
We met Patrice, around 25 years old, he says he spent his whole life in the forest between Masisi, Walikale, Lubero and Rutshuru (North Kivu), Kalehe and Mwenga (South Kivu). He said he did not understand the reason he was fighting, but he said, “they told us that we will go to fight Kagame and liberate Rwanda”.
Years later, Patrice recognizes that this war is going nowhere. He wasted his time “unnecessarily”.
“There is no point in continuing to run. I see people dying every day. I have seen a generation die in the Congolese forests since I was born, ”he regrets, having spent at least 5 years in a class in primary school because of the wars which had to lead him to flee continuously. and thus interrupting his studies.
Yet, he still recognises, it is only their leaders who really know what they want. He explains that no combatant knew the destination beforehand except their leaders.
Totally reduced human and operational capacity
In their testimony, these combatants and their dependents say that certain combatants and leaders have lost their lives in these confrontations.
For example, their political leader Willson Irategeka. One of the combatants who says he was close to him explains that he was unable to reach Nyamaleke after being injured in Kasika, still in Mwenga territory.
“He was injured in clashes with the FARDC. It was when we saw that he did not join us that we immediately understood that he died, “he explains with certainty.
Combatants treated humanely by the FARDC
When asked why he now wants to go to the military and if he is not afraid of being killed, “Patrice” says he has received positive feedback from that side.
He also reveals that some of them have surrendered and there is news that they are not being abused at the hands of government forces. His colleagues were, in principle, repatriated to Rwanda alongside more than 2,000 other returnees recently in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, “Patrice” wants to return to Rwanda even if he does not yet know if his wife has joined the ranks of those who have been repatriated. He says he wants a normal life by doing a job that allows him to live decently with his small family.
It is his dearest wish and calls on other Rwandan armed groups like the FDLR to join the scheme of voluntary return before things get complicated for them.