Rwanda troops complete pullout from North Katanga, DR Congo
The Rwandan army withdrew troops and equipment from Nyunzu, Kabalo, Kongolo and Kalemie in an operation that began on September 21, according to the sources in Goma, the headquarters of DRC rebels backed by Rwanda.
Rwandan Army Chief of Staff General James Kaberebe said last week that the entire force of some 23,400 Rwandan troops would be pulled out by the end of this week under a July peace deal with Kinshasa.
A pullout is also under way from North Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda, whose capital is Goma.
About 20 troop transports crossed the border at Goma heading for the Rwandan town of Gisenyi on Saturday.
Under the peace deal, mediated by South Africa, Rwanda is to withdraw all of its forces who entered the country in 1998 to back rebels of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RDC) fighting to topple the Kinshasa government.
Kigali also argued that the troops were there to prevent the return to Rwanda of soldiers and militia known as Interahamwe who fled the country after perpetrating the 1994 genocide there.
The peace deal calls for the disarming of these fighters by the UN observer mission in the DRC (MONUC) with cooperation from the Kinshasa government.
Kaberebe, asked last Thursday about the risk of leaving instability in the wake of the Rwandan withdrawal, said: "The Congolese will handle their own security. It's their country".
hba/as/gd AFP 291101 GMT 09 02
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 09/29/2002 07:02:06
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