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DR Congo rebel chief arrested

Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested in neighbouring Rwanda, the chief of police in the Democratic Republic of Congo said in a statement.

world Updated: Jan 23, 2009 12:59 IST

Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested in neighbouring Rwanda, the chief of police in the Democratic Republic of Congo said in a statement on Friday.

The DR Congo army and Rwandan army "inform the public of the arrest of deposed general Laurent Nkunda Thursday at 10:30 pm while fleeing in Rwandan territory after putting up brief resistance," said the statement.

DR Congo and Rwandan troops yesterday advanced on Nkunda's headquarters at Bunangana in the Nord-Kivu region of the east of the country.

Rwanda sent thousands of troops into Congo on Tuesday as part of a joint agreement to eradicate Rwandan Hutu rebels based across the border and quench a revolt by Tutsis against Kinshasa.

Nkunda, a Tutsi ex-general, had been silent since top commanders of his National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) movement defected and went over to Congolese forces last week, saying their conflict with Kinshasa was over.

The Rwandan army twice occupied eastern Congo in the 1990s in its battle against the rebels of Rwandan Democratic Liberation Forces (FDLR) and its return has sparked alarm among local inhabitants, aid agencies and the UN peacekeeping force MONUC.

Rebel chief of staff Bosco Ntaganda claims to have removed Nkunda as the CNDP leader and put his forces at the disposal of the allied armies to fight their common enemy, the FDLR.

The rebels control much of eastern Congo but since Tuesday they have been cooperating with the Congolese army.