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Regional military experts probe entry of Burundian rebels into Rwanda

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A team of military experts under the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a Great Lakes regional military framework, on Monday investigated 19 Burundian fighters’ illegal entry into Rwanda, the Rwandan military said.

The experts, with the mission to verify and report back to EJVM Command on the cross-border incident, visited Ruheru sector, Nyaruguru district in southern Rwanda, where the captives of the Burundian rebel group Red Tabara were captured on Sept. 29, according to a statement by Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).

After crossing the border with Burundi in Nyungwe Forest, the fighters were ambushed by RDF at 10 a.m. local time (0900 GMT), immediately arrested, disarmed and escorted to rear areas for further investigations, the statement said.

The incident will be discussed during the next International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Chiefs of Defense Staff meeting, EJVM team leader Rigobert Ibouanga told media before a meeting with the Rwandan army.

The fighters had infiltrated into Burundi from South Kivu region in the Democratic Republic of Congo via Lake Tanganyika on Aug. 23, 2020 to launch attacks against the Burundian military and the Burundian ruling party’s youth wing, according to the arrested rebels.

They strayed into Rwanda because they were not familiar with the terrain and didn’t recognize the borderline in Nyungwe Forest, they said.

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