Burundi hands over 34 militiamen to DR Congo military

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Democratic Republic of Congo military : Reuters

34 Congolese militiamen belonging to the rebel Yakutumba group have been handed over to the Democratic Republic of Congo by officials in Burundi, Congolese military said.

The group had crossed into Burundi while the Congolese army was conducting operations in a nearby region, Burundian police said on Thursday, AFP reports.

Deputy spokesman for the Congolese army in South Kivu province, Captain Dieudonne Kasereka confirmed that the group had surrendered to Burundian security forces on Wednesday, then handed to the Congolese army.

According to the report,  Kasereka said that among those captured include “a captain who commanded the naval force of Yakutumba and a lieutenant of the Congolese army who joined Yakutumba last November.

An anonymous source in Burundi said that four more militiamen were wounded and were left behind for treatment, the report said.

In the last ten days, thousands of Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu.

The DR Congo government has announced it is waging “war” against two militias in the east — the Yakutumba and the Ugandan Islamist rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).

The Congolese Yakutumba are in South Kivu while the ADF are active in North Kivu.

Both regions border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Rival militia groups have long held sway over large areas in the two provinces, often competing for their rich mineral resources.

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