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DR Congo hands over 128 suspected rebels to Burundi

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has handed over 128 suspected rebels to Burundian authorities, the Burundian justice minister said.

The handover of those Burundian young people took place on Tuesday evening at Gatumba border post, 18 km west of the Burundian capital Bujumbura, between DR Congo’s South Kivu Province Governor Marcellin Cishambo and Burundian Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana.

"We are informed that young people were recruited by some groups in order to come and intimidate the Burundian government. These people could be rebels, but we will need to identify them," Kanyana said.

Those young people were detained in custodies and prisons in South Kivu Province in the DR Congo.

Kanyana said, "We thank the Congolese government for this cooperation initiative and we pledge to do the same if there are Congolese nationals that should be extradited."

She indicated that those people will in return show other Burundian people still "stranded" in exile that Burundi is peaceful.

Kanyana added those people will receive civic education before integrating their families.

DR Congo’s South Kivu Province Governor Marcellin Cishambo said that all those people were people "irregularly" living on the Congolese territory, adding that they had been detained in prisons.

"People always feel better in their home. They were here (in the DR Congo) for some 14 months. The repatriation is voluntary," Cishambo said.

According to him, 37 Burundian nationals have refused to return to their home country "fearing for their security" while 18 Rwandan nationals said they wanted to be extradited to their home country (Rwanda) instead of being taken to Burundi.

The east African nation plunged in a crisis since April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement that ended a decade-long civil war.

More than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and about 300,000 people fled to neighboring countries mostly Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Congo and Uganda since the outbreak of the crisis.


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