Story by Eddy-Claude Nininahazwe
Translated by Jean Damascene Hakuzimana
Eleven fighters from the National Liberation Front were handed over to Rwanda this Tuesday, October 19 at the Burundi-Rwanda border of Gasenyi-Nemba. The rebels, arrested on Burundi soil, belong to the National Liberation Front “FLN” – a group founded by Hotel Rwanda movie star Paul Rusesabagina, who previously was sentenced by Rwandan courts to 25 years for terrorism. The eleven rebels were handed over to Rwanda, with their weapons.
Colonel Musaba Ernest, head of military intelligence, who represented the Burundian army during the handover, said the gesture proves good relations exist between the two sister countries. This senior Burundian army official announced that Burundi will never give shelter to criminals who want to destabilize Rwanda.
Brigadier General Vincent Nyakarundi, head of military intelligence in Rwanda, acknowledged the handover as a positive gesture, and encouraged the government of Burundi to continue tracking down criminals who try to disrupt the security of Rwanda.
A reciprocal handover happened in July when Rwanda sent 19 rebels of the Red Tabara rebel movement to Burundi after they were caught on Rwandan soil. The United Nations and African Union representatives witnessed the handover of these captured rebels. FLN rebels have claimed responsibility for attacks on Rwandan soil, and Red Tabara has done the same in Burundi. The two groups have said they have bases in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and are believed to shelter in a dense forest that extends along the shared border of Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC.