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44 Interahamwe reportedly willing to demobilise

The leader of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Kisangani-Mouvement de liberation (RCD-K-ML), Mbusa Nyamwisi, has told the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUC, that 44 Interahamwe in Beni, in the eastern part of the country, are willing to be demobilised, MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure said on Thursday. He told IRIN that MONUC would send a delegation to the town at the end of the week to "assess the situation". In September 2000, Congolese President Joseph Kabila made a similar offer concerning almost 2,000 Interahamwe, Toure said. Rwanda, which backs the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Goma (RCD-Goma), says thousands of Interahamwe, responsible for the 1994 genocide in which about 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed, are hiding on DRC territory. The Rwandan government has repeatedly refused to withdraw support for the RCD-Goma, which governs an estimated 30 percent of eastern DRC, until the Interahamwe have been demobilised and the threat to Rwanda thereby neutralised. The government in Kinshasa refuses to withdraw support for the Interahamwe until all Rwandan forces leave the Congo. In a recent report the advocacy think-tank, International Crisis Group said, "Kabila will not abandon the ALiR [Army for the Liberation of Rwanda, composed of Interahamwe, members of the former Rwandan army, and more recent recruits] until he is sure that his power is guaranteed and his country liberated, and Kagame will not demilitarise the Congo until he has concrete proof of goodwill on the part of the Congolese government." The Crisis Group estimates there are 25,000 to 29,000 Rwandan Hutu soldiers still living in the Congo.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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