A self-proclaimed general, Machano Tabangeshe surrendered this Thursday, January 30, to the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in the province of North Kivu.
He was received by the FARDC Brigadier General, Willy Yamba Kabangu, who is part of Sukola2 North-Kivu operational sector.
“The self-proclaimed general Machano Tabangeshe of Raïa Mutomboki / UPDC surrendered to FARDC brigadier general Willy Yamba Kabangu today [Thursday],” FARDC confirmed in a short statement.
Congo army says the rebel leader came with weapons and some combatants at Ngungu, Groupement Ufamando in Masisi territory.
About the rebel group
Raïa Mutomboki or Raiya Mutomboki is a militia operating in the Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The group formed in 2005 to fight against Rwandan Hutu groups such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda as part of the Kivu conflict.
The group was founded by Pastor Jean Musumbu, who had defected from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in response to massacres by the FDLR.
By 2012, Raïa Mutomboki had stood accused by a United Nations Security Council panel of experts of the killing of more than 260 civilians.
Paul Ngumbi Wangozi, known as Sisawa, had reportedly been a leader of Raïa Mutomboki up until his death in battle with the Congolese army in September 2014.
A year later, his widow Cynthia surrendered along with 71 Raïa Mutomboki members to Congolese army forces.
In September 2018, Raïa Mutomboki militiamen allegedly gang raped 17 women in the Lubila region of South Kivu. Child soldiers were said to be involved in the incident.
The assault was said to be led by Masudi Alimasi Kokodikoko, leader of a faction of Raïa Mutomboki at this time.
In 2018, a second leader of a Raïa Mutomboki faction, Isaac Chirambiza, was arrested by army forces on accusation of systematic rapes.
In April 2019, Kokodikoko was arrested by the army for the September 2018 gang rapes.
They were recently accused of voter intimidation in the 2018 Democratic Republic of the Congo general election.