Rwanda News: FDLR commander Leodomir Mugaragu killed in Congo

NAIROBI, Kenya — For nearly 18 years some of the Hutu commanders responsible for organizing and orchestrating the Rwanda genocide have been hiding out in eastern Congo, preying on local villagers and plotting the downfall of President Paul Kagame's Tutsi-led government.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) have not posed much of an existential threat to modern Rwanda for more than a decade yet they persist, and their survival is an affront to Kagame whose rebel forces halted the 1994 genocide.

A court in Rwanda recently convicted 22 people of having links to the FDLR and being responsible for a spate of grenade attacks in the capital.

Read more on GlobalPost: FDLR attack kills 26 people

The FDLR spends much of its time nowadays battling other militias for control of lucrative mines in eastern Congo or carrying out horrific attacks of rape and pillage.

But Kigali has not forgotten the FDLR nor especially its few remaining commanders who were directly involved in the genocidal attempt to wipe out the Tutsis.

More on GlobalPost: On-the-ground look at Rwanda now (PHOTOS)

According to Jason Stearns writing on his influential CongoSiasa blog a squad of Rwandan special forces recently assassinated a senior FDLR commander named Leodomir Mugaragu:

"On Wednesday, 11 January, a group of soldiers — some reliable reports claim they were a unit of Rwandan special forces, guided by the FDC – penetrated into the FDLR headquarters in Walikale and ambushed FDLR leaders around a fire. They killed the FDLR chief of staff Brigadier Leodomir Mugaragu. The overall FDLR commander General Mudacumura was also apparently present but was able to escape.

"Mugaragu, aka Leon Manzi, was one of the only remaining FDLR commanders with concrete allegations against him of involvement in the 1994 genocide. According to one report, he was a major and battalion commander in 1994 in Ruhengeri, where he was involved in mobilizing militias and setting up roadblocks to kill Tutsi."

If true, the killing of Mugaragu is another serious blow to the increasingly weak FDLR but the downside, as Stearns points out, is the FDLR's tendency to exact revenge on local people who it accuses of supporting its enemies.


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