Congo agrees with Rwanda to disarm Hutu rebels

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KINSHASA, Nov 11 (Reuters) Congo has reached a deal with Rwanda to forcibly disarm Rwandan Hutu rebels on its soil in an effort to reduce tensions with its central African neighbour, a joint statement said today.

The Hutu rebels, including former Rwandan soldiers (ex-FAR) and members of the Interahamwe militia, are among several armed groups continuing to destabilise eastern Democratic Republic of Congo even after the end of a broader 1998-2003 war.

More than 370,000 people have fled fighting between Congolese government soldiers, Tutsi-dominated insurgents and Rwandan Hutu rebels -- accused by Kigali of involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide -- since the start of the year.

''The government of Democratic Republic of Congo commits to launch military operations as a matter of urgency to dismantle the ex-FAR Interahamwe as a genocidal military organisation in the DRC,'' the countries said in a joint statement.

The agreement came after a meeting in Nairobi between the Congolese and Rwandan foreign ministers.

Under the terms of the deal, Congo will prepare a detailed plan by December 1, with the backing of the country's United Nations peacekeeping mission, to disarm the rebels.

Kigali promised to share with Congo and the United Nations a list of individuals it accuses of orchestrating the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande also agreed to seal his country's border with Congo and ensure illegal armed groups -- particularly a Tutsi insurgency led by renegade General Laurent Nkunda -- do not receive cross-border support.

Rwanda has long accused the Congolese government of harbouring the rebels, now known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Congo's army has meanwhile been battling Nkunda's forces in the troubled North Kivu province since late August, when the rebel leader abandoned a January peace deal and pulled thousands of his fighters out of special mixed army brigades.


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