Rwanda hands over 19 rebels to Burundi as two neighbors in course to restore ties

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President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi (C-R) welcomes Rwandan President Paul Kagame (C-L) in Goma, North Kivu province, DR Congo, on June 26, 2021. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda signed on Saturday three agreements on bilateral cooperation after a meeting between the two heads of state in Goma. (DR Congo's presidency/Handout via Xinhua)
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi (C-R) welcomes Rwandan President Paul Kagame (C-L) in Goma, North Kivu province, DR Congo, on June 26, 2021. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda signed on Saturday three agreements on bilateral cooperation after a meeting between the two heads of state in Goma. (DR Congo's presidency/Handout via Xinhua)

The government of Rwanda on Friday handed over 19 combatants of the Burundian rebel group Red Tabara, as the two countries try to improve ties worsened since 2015.

The handover of the rebels, who crossed into Rwanda in September last year and were later apprehended by the Rwandan military, took place at Nemba Border Post in southern Rwanda and was facilitated by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) and witnessed by the UN Special Envoy to Great Lakes Region, Rwanda ministry of defence said in a statement.

EJVM is a multi-national force established under the auspices of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region to provide professional and objective findings regarding incidents on the common borders of member states, especially those involving DRC borders.

EJVM Commander Col. J Miranda in the statement commended the good will and engagement demonstrated by both countries, and said the handover was a sign of collaboration in achieving peace and security in the region.

The relations between the two neighbors deteriorated after Burundi accused Rwanda of hosting and supporting perpetrators of the 2015 coup plot against late Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, which was denied by Rwanda.

Both of the countries have expressed the willingness to improve their relations since last year.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente visited Bujumbura in early July to represent Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the celebration of Burundi’s 59th Independence Day, where he reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to consolidate and promote the existing relations of friendship and cooperation with Burundi. Enditem

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