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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 12:04 GMT
Former Burundi rebels return home
Burundi soldier
Hutus rebels are being integrated into the Tutsi-dominated national army
Some 100 former Burundi rebels have been sent home by the United Nations from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The former rebels attacked Burundi from their bases in DR Congo and also fought in the Congolese war.

The UN Mission in Congo, MONUC, said the fighters had surrendered their base which they had used since 1993.

Burundi rebels and the government signed a peace deal last month ending a decade of civil war and setting up a joint army and government.

Loans

The former rebels were accompanied by 20 women and several children.

The chairman of Burundi's national disaster commission Frederic Banvunginyunvira told the AFP news agency that he identified the former rebels in DR Congo before the repatriation exercise.

The returnees will be taken to their home districts in Burundi.

The government in Burundi plans to set up bodies that will help the former rebels return to civilian life by providing small loans to them.

"If this operation goes well then it will make possible the regular repatriation of Burundian combatants," said Monuc spokeswoman Eliane Nabaa.

Last month President Domitien Ndayizeye awarded top ministerial posts to Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) main Hutu rebel leaders in line with Burundi's peace agreement.

However, the second largest rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation (FNL), continues to reject any power-sharing deal.

FDD rebels are already being integrated into the Tutsi-dominated national army.

The head of the rebel's military wing Adolphe Nshimiramana was appointed deputy chief of the army to mark the beginning of the process.

Some 30,000 former rebels will join the army.




SEE ALSO:
First rebel joins Burundi's army
16 Dec 03  |  Africa
Burundi rebel deadline rejected
17 Nov 03  |  Africa
Q&A: Burundi's moves to peace
25 Nov 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Burundi
16 Nov 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Burundi
08 Dec 03  |  Country profiles


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