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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2007, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
DR Congo militia chief surrenders
Mai Mai child soldiers. File pic.
The Mai Mai militia is accused of recruiting child soldiers
A key militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo has surrendered to UN peacekeepers and government troops in the troubled province of North Kivu.

Mai Mai militia leader Kasereka Kabamba was surrounded with about 50 of his fighters on Friday.

He said he was now negotiating over the surrender of the rest of his men.

Kasereka Kabamba's militia is one of a number that have fought in North Kivu province this year, displacing thousands of civilians.

The former army officer, who deserted in 2006, told AFP news agency: "I've left the bush... I've already surrendered and I'm going to meet [Nord-Kivu army chief, Gen Vainqueur Mayala] to see how my troops can do the same."

Map of N Kivu in eastern DR Congo
FLNK - new group made up mainly of Congolese Mai Mai with some Rwandan Hutus formerly in the FDLR
FDLR - Hutu militia made up of former Rwandan soldiers and others who fled into Congo after the 1994 genocide
FARDC - Congolese army
Gen Laurent Nkunda, with an estimated 6,000 soldiers
Monuc - UN Mission in the DR Congo

The army said he was forced to surrender after being surrounded in Rutshuru district.

Gen Vainqueur told Reuters: "We encircled him last night. He was already finished... he asked me, 'my general, send me to Monuc' (UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo)."

Kasereka Kabamba has said he was fighting renegade Gen Laurent Nkunda on behalf of the government.

Gen Nkunda says he is fighting to protect the ethnic Tutsis in the region.

Monuc said the latest surrender was a "positive development".

The Mai Mai is accused by the government and rights groups of attacking troops, poaching and recruiting child soldiers.

Rights organisations have also accused security groups linked to the president of murder, rape and torture.

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