A 12-year-old boy and 19 others suspected to be members of an armed group believed to be behind the insecurity challenges in Butembo town and neighbouring villages, especially Musienene and Kyondo in Lubero territory, have been arrested by the soldiers of Democratic Republic of Congo National Army.
They were arrested Wednesday, Aug. 4 in Butembo town.
The suspected rebels are currently being held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for security reasons and were presented to the press Wednesday by Roger Mowa Baeki-Teli, the interim mayor of Butembo.
According to the authorities, the suspects were members of six different armed groups implicated in several acts of burglary, armed robbery, and sexual violence recorded during the past several weeks in Butembo and its environs.
“We have done our own part of the work by arresting them and it is now left for the judicial authorities to do their own part. We are continuing our operations and we will not sleep. We ask for your assistance,” said Baeki-Teli.
The arrest of the individuals has been a source of great joy in Butembo especially among civil society activists.
“We have continuously cried against the mounting insecurity in Butembo. Since the beginning of the state of siege, we have recorded over fifty households visited by these individuals,” Van Germain Katsiwa, Vice President of the Butembo civil society declared.
“We call on the judiciary to do their own part of the job because among those arrested now are persons who had earlier been arrested but were eventually released by the state.”
“We also call on the security services to continue the tracking down of other bandits because it would appear there is a vast network of criminals operating in Butembo.”
“As concerns the children, they should be handed over to the relevant authorities.”
The NIA on its part says it extended the operation to track down bandits and rebels to the Butembo councils with a view to eradicating the phenomenon of “Kasuku” involving armed robbery and sexual violence which has resurfaced in Butembo.
The agency has called on the inhabitants to cooperate for the successful realization of positive results.
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