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Congolese rebels demand release of their generalin exchange of the captured Georgian

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, June 20
One of the friends of Soso Osurauli, a Georgian pilot captured in the Congo this January, says that Osurauli is alive and the rebels are demanding the release of General Bosko Ntaganda in exchange for Osurauli’s freedom.

The information was spread by Georgian news agency on Monday. The friends of Osurauli say that the rebels changed the location of Osorauli and he was alive. The source of requested to stay anonymous.

The source says that the rebels were once soldiers from the Congolese Army rather than terrorists.

“They have permanent contact with others in the Congo. Therefore, if Soso was dead we would have found out from them…according to the latest reports, Osurauli was taken to Uganda from Ruanda,” the respondent says.

The friend of the Georgian pilot says that first the rebels were asking for money in exchange of his freedom, and adds that now they are requesting the release of their commander, 'General' Bosko Ntaganda, who had been charged by the US with several serious crimes, such as organizing rebellion, mass killings, and the rape of women and children.

The source says that Bosko Ntaganda, nicknamed “Terminator”, committed these crimes in 2002-2003 in east Congo and his case had been discussed by the Hague International Court for several years.

In February, Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that one Georgian was wounded and another was captured after two helicopters of Congo Air Force were shot down by rebels on January 27.

Georgia’s MoD stated that the reason for the Georgian citizens’ presence in the Congo was unknown to them but added that Osurauli used to serve in the Georgian Armed Forces but quit in 2015 for personal reasons.

In late May, the MFA of Georgia held a special briefing, in which the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Zviad Gonadze said that there were rumors that an attack took place between warring factions in the Congo and Osurauli was killed, but he added that this information still had not been confirmed officially.