KIVU —The commander of Rwanda’s rebel group the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sylvestre Mudacumura was killed by Congolese army, authorities said Wednesday.
Mudacumura, who has led the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) for years, was killed in eastern Congo’s Rutshuru territory, army spokesman Richard Kasonga said.
Mudacumura, 65, has been wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In 2012, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mudacumura over alleged attacks against civilians, murder, rape and torture in eastern Congo, where the militia group operated since the end of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Mudacumura was killed with his closest lieutenants, the Congolese army said.
“The neutralization of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for the Congolese army because he was at the head of the radical wing of the FDLR who opposed voluntary repatriation to Rwanda and his neutralization is a strong signal for the other rebels,” added Kasonga on Twitter.
Mudacumura was the deputy commander of the Rwandan presidential guard during the genocide.
He fled to Congo along with other senior security officials after being defeated by Rwandan Patriotic Army led by current President Paul Kagame.
While in Congo, the group formed the militia which kept changing names, eventually to the FDLR and declared war on Rwanda.
About three Rwandan soldiers were killed when suspected FDLR fighters from DR Congo attacked Rwanda’s Rubavu border district in 2018, President Kagame told a press conference last December.
DR Congo’s mineral-rich east is home to a myriad of armed groups, including Rwandan rebels, Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces.