KINSHASA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has renewed its demand for the extradition of Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, who was arrested last week in Rwanda following a joint military operation of the two neighboring countries.
Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said on Wednesday that Kinshasa is seeking the extradition through a tripartite accord which also involves Uganda, as DR Congo and Rwanda have no formal cooperation agreement on that issue.
Kinshasa and Rwanda have yet to normalize bilateral ties which were severed after relations became chilled in the 1990s. Both countries expressed readiness for reopening their embassies after talks in December.
DR Congo wanted to extradite Nkunda immediately after Rwanda said the leader of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) was arrested in its territory on Dec. 22. Kigali hopes that the renegade Tutsi general will be treated politically rather than in the hands of jurists.
Mwamba said Kinshasa does not agree with the idea and that the ex-general is a fugitive under an arrest warrant issued by DR Congo on charges of crimes committed in North Kivu province.
Until recently, Nkunda posed the biggest threat to Kinshasa which bowed down to his pressure for direct talks in December, after the CNDP captured large swaths in North Kivu since late August.
Nkunda quit the Congolese army in 2004 in revolts against Kinshasa, which he accused of collaborating with Rwandan Hutu rebels against ethnic Tutsis in the east of the vast central African country.
An estimated 250,000 people have been displaced over past months in the restive province bordering both Rwanda and Uganda, where more than 10,000 displaced are reportedly taking shelter.
Thousands of Rwandan troops entered North Kivu last week to join the Congolese army in an operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is held responsible for the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.
The joint forces launched an attack on Nkunda's headquarters at Bunagana, forcing him to flee into Rwanda after a brief resistance.
The Congolese-Rwandan operation is still going on with the joint command declaring the first killing of nine FDLR fighters at the weekend.