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The arrest in Germany this month of 2 key figures in the rebel army that has terrorized eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo demonstrates an international commitment to combating crimes against humanity in the central African region.
German police arrested Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, 2 top leaders of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a rebel group known by its French initials FDLR. The group has operated for years in remote areas of the Congo, killing and raping Congolese civilians and exploiting the area's rich mineral resources to fund its activities.
The United States joined other nations in welcoming Germany's action and the steps that other governments recently have taken to arrest FDLR leaders. France has announced that it is investigating Callixte Mbarushimana, the group’s third-in-command, and Uganda recently detained Idelphonse Nizeyimana, an FDLR commander wanted for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The United States and its fellow members of the United Nations Security Council have also banned senior FDLR leaders from travel and frozen their assets.
While the international community acts to neutralize the group’s leadership, the U.S. urges members of the FDLR to disarm and present themselves to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUC. MONUC has facilitated the return to Rwanda of more than 1,300 former FDLR combatants, who have received financial aid to return to a normal and peaceful civilian life.