Rebels defecting.

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    It appears as though the rebels are beginning to feel the effects of the lack of support since the Rwandans signified their support for the peace deal.Apart from the die hard rebels(for want of a better phrase) we will more than likely see a gradual increase in this type of defection amongst those rebels that were simply in these organisations as a way of supporting themselves and their families.

    RCD-Goma Battalion Defects to Government Side

    UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

    August 21, 2002
    Posted to the web August 21, 2002

    A battalion of soldiers from the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) rebel movement who were based in the northeastern town of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have defected over the past month, with their wives and children in tow, the UN Mission in the DRC (known as MONUC) reported on Tuesday.

    Over the last month, a battalion of RCD soldiers, their wives and children have been trickling into Boende in the northwest of the DRC.

    "Having deserted their posts in Kisangani, the troops and their families crossed the front line into FAC [Forces Armees Congolaises, the DRC army] territory at Djolu and continued on to Boende by canoe or truck," MONUC said. "The journey of 300 km was not easy, and reports in Boende say that the women and children were 'completely finished' by the time they arrived, looking frail and extremely weak."

    Official figures provided so far to MONUC in Boende indicate 386 men, 291 women and 166 children. The soldiers and their families are being housed in a FAC military camp, in central Boende. MONUC has provided two water tanks in the camp, and the FAC have said that they are providing food.

    An individual who spoke anonymously in Boende told MONUC that they had deserted RCD-Goma because their condition was desperate. "They were fighting all the time, they were dying, but were not paid and had nothing - no food, no money. How could they take care of themselves, much less their families?" MONUC reported.

    An additional 211 RCD-G soldiers are in Djolu, located about 200 km northeast of Boende, waiting for transport to Boende.

    The MONUC Offices for Humanitarian Affairs and Human Rights, Radio Okapi and representatives from other humanitarian agencies are scheduled to visit the Boende camp on Friday.

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