Rwanda Nabs Congo Rebel Leader

Nkunda arrested by country once accused of supporting him
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2009 5:31 AM CST
In a startling turn against its former ally, Rwanda has arrested Congo rebel leader Laurent Nkunda after he fled a joint sweep launched by the armies of the two nations.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)
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(Newser) – Fearsome rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, the head of a movement that has destabilized the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been arrested over the border in Rwanda. Hundreds of Rwandan troops converged on a mountain village last night inside Congo where the general was stationed, but he crossed the border into Rwanda before he was arrested. The bust is a turning point for war-mired Congo and marks a startling reversal for Rwanda, which had been accused of supporting the rebel leader.

Congo has endured civil war for most of the past decade, with Nkunda—a Tutsi, like Rwanda's leaders—leading a fierce rebel army in the country's east. In recent months, however, several of Nkunda's deputies have defected from his army, while European countries have cut aid to impoverished Rwanda for supporting him. Nkunda was being transported to the Rwandan capital of Kigali, a UN spokesman told the New York Times.