The leader of a major rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has surrendered to government forces, an official confirmed on Tuesday.
Guidon Shimiray Mwisa was the head of the Nduma Defense of Congo-Renovated (NDC-R), which has been active in the eastern North Kivu province since at least 2014.
Mwisa’s faction was a breakaway of the Nduma Defense of Congo, which held the most territory among all rebel groups in North Kivu until the split in July last year.
His surrender comes over two years after a court ordered his arrest in June 2019 on charges of “insurrection, recruitment of child soldiers, and crimes against humanity in eastern DR Congo.”
“Mwisa is in our custody. His surrender was pending for a long time because there were some minor issues that have now been ironed out,” Romy Ekuka Lipopo, deputy governor of North Kivu, told reporters.
He said Mwisa handed himself over to the DR Congo military in North Kivu’s Walikale area.
Lipopo said the DR Congo government will welcome all “our brothers who have shed blood but have now heeded the call to abandon the rebellion.”
The eastern parts of DR Congo have been a stomping ground for multiple armed groups in recent years and remain plagued by ceaseless violence.
This May, President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed a “state of siege” in North Kivu and Ituri, replacing senior civilian officials with army officers tasked to curb the spiraling insecurity.
Nearly 500 civilians have been killed in North Kivu and South Kivu alone since early 2021, according to Kivu Security Tracker, a monitor focused on violence in eastern DR Congo.