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Burundian Soldiers Seen In DR Congo Territory In Hunt For Red-Tabara Rebels

The Burundian soldiers were in pursuit of Red-Tabara rebels in December and have since continued operations there.

Heavily-armed soldiers of the Burundian Army have been reported to have entered the Upper Plateau region of the Democratic Republic of Congo considered by the Burundi government as the fall-back base of the Burundian Red-Tabara rebel movement, local sources in Uvira, South Kivu revealed.

“On Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, Burundian forces entered Lemera. They were estimated at more than 380 soldiers and looked like commandos,” Edmond Simba Muhogo, chief of the Lemera tribal group in the Uvira territory of South Kivu revealed.

“They passed through Lemera centre and went to attack Burundian rebels of the RED-Tabara movement.”

The Burundian soldiers are reported to have pitched bases in the Congolese localities of Bijojo and Bibangwa.

“I confirm that the Burundian soldiers have entered DR Congo and headed towards the Upper Plateau where Red-Tabara rebels are based,” said Mwami Ndari Kalingishi Sime 3 Adams, the traditional ruler of Bafuliiru, adding that he had already alerted the national army of the incursion.

“The national authorities must tell us the truth about the presence of these foreign forces on our national territory,” said Willy Siremba, coordinator of the Uvira civil society.

On Monday, Jan. 3, the Red-Taraba rebel group claimed it “carried out combat operations on Sunday, Jan. 2, in Gashenyo and Kitembe in the Upper Plateau of South Kivu, DR Congo against the Burundi national defense forces which resulted in at least 10 deaths and 20 wounded on the side of the enemy.”

The Red-Tabara, considered as the most active Burundian rebel group, whose fall-back bases are in the eastern DR Congo, is accused of masterminding a series of attacks in Burundi since 2015.

The rebel movement, which numbers between 500 and 800 combatants has continued to reinforce its ranks and now has a disturbing presence within Burundian territory, according to Burundian opposition leader, Alexis Sinduhije.

In Sept. 2021, it claimed responsibility for an attack on the Bujumbura international airport in the Burundian economic capital where several attacks had been carried out during the same month.

Besides the Red-Tabara rebel movement, the National Forces for the Liberation of Burundi are also present in eastern DR Congo, a region destabilized for the past 25 years by the presence of tens of armed local and foreign groups.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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