- Hundreds of Rwandan troops have crossed into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to hunt down Rwandan Hutu rebels under a December agreement between the two countries, Rwandan government said.
Following an attack last year by Congolese Tutsi rebels, who say they need to defend themselves against the Rwandan Hutu fighters, the Rwandan and Congolese governments agreed on launch joint operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels.
Local news reports said the latest campaign targeting a Rwandan rebel army currently said to be hibernating in the dense Congolese forest, fleeing the judiciary for their involvement in the Rwandan infamous genocide, are allegedly threatening to unseat the Tutsi led government in Rwanda.
The local news agency reported that 2,000 Rwandan troops crossed the border early today and began to make their way towards the town of Rutshuru, north of the regional capital of Goma, where they were expected to join Congolese troops for the joint operation in Kivu province.
Congolese troops have reportedly also been moving tanks and trucks full of ammunition early on Tuesday from Goma north towards Ruthsuru.
The UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo spokesman, Jean-Paul Dietrich said the mission only received a vague advance warning Monday night about the planned operation, even though their mandate is to provide security. The joint operation is expected to last for a maximum of 15 days.
More than 250,000 people have been displaced since August 2008, when rebels led by Gen Laurent Nkunda resumed fighting with the Congolese army. Mr Nkunda claims to be protecting the Tutsi minority against the Hutus.
The presence of FDRL in eastern Congo, many of whom are accused of participating in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, has been the incessant menace to Rwanda and Congolese government.
Rwanda and Congo have agreed on several occasions to cooperate to tackle the Hutu rebels, but have failed to do so in the past amid widespread accusations that Congolese government forces, who are notoriously ill-disciplined and ineffective, have sided with the FDLR Hutu fighters, according Rwandan official reports.
Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, before Tutsi rebels led by current President Paul Kagame took control of the country.
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