Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed on Wednesday that the army had killed Sylvestre Mudacumura, the commander of a Rwandan Hutu militia who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
Mudacumura, who has led the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) for years, was killed overnight in eastern Congo’s Rutshuru territory, army spokesman Richard Kasonga said.
News of his death was welcomed by authorities in Rwanda.
“The death of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for peace and security in the region,” state minister for regional affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe told AFP.
“With his genocide group, the FDLR, he was destabilising DRC, killing Congolese and Rwandans.”
“His death confirms the commitment of President Felix Tshisekedi in fighting negative forces and will open a new era of good and peaceful cooperation between DRC and countries in the region,” said Nduhungirehe.
The international court issued an arrest warrant for Mudacumura in 2012 for alleged attacks against civilians, murder, rape and torture in eastern Congo, where militia members have operated since the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.
Mudacumura was the deputy commander of the Rwandan presidential guard during the genocide, before fleeing to Congo with other senior security officials.
There, they formed the militia that would later come to be known as the FDLR and waged periodic war with the Congolese government and other armed groups.
The Rwandan government cited the FDLR’s presence on Congolese soil to justify repeated interventions across the border.