UN stirring regional tensions – Rwanda

2012-06-01 12:34
Goma - Rwanda accused the United Nations of stirring tensions in the Great Lakes region on Thursday after the world body said that men recruited in Rwanda had been tricked into fighting for a rebel group in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda has in the past backed rebels in DRC, citing a need to stamp out fighters who operate there and who are linked to its 1994 genocide. The two neighbours have enjoyed warmer ties since 2009 when the Rwandan-backed CNDP rebel group signed a peace deal and integrated into the Congolese armed forces.

However the eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu have experienced new fighting in recent weeks after former CNDP elements launched a fresh rebellion, rallying behind the renegade Congolese general, Bosco Ntaganda.

Speculation of Rwandan involvement in the mineral-rich zone grew as the UN mission said this week 11 rebel fighters had given themselves up in DRC, saying they had been recruited in Rwanda and tricked into crossing the border to fight for the rebels.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikwabo rejected the assertions as untrue.

"She has requested Roger Meece to come to Kigali to explain why MONUSCO is spreading false rumours aimed at aggravating the volatile situation.. [and] undermining ongoing collaboration between Rwanda and DRC ," a Foreign Ministry statement said of the head of the local UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO.

There was no immediate reaction from MONUSCO but earlier this week one of its officials said it was clear from their contacts with the fighters that they were Rwandan, without going as far as implying direct involvement of Rwandan authorities.

"They gave us information about where they came from, where they were recruited, before being taken to the frontline... The fact that they're Rwandan, I think that it's undisputable," Patrick Cyrille-Garba, head of the UN disarmament programme in North Kivu, told Reuters.

Cyrille-Garba said three more fighters also alleging to have been forcibly recruited in Rwanda had since given themselves up and were now being questioned by MONUSCO with the 11 others.

Mushikwabo also criticised groups such as New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, which is investigating suggestions of Rwandan support to the mutineers.

"The irresponsible words of lobbies like Human Rights Watch are no less dangerous than bullets or machetes," she said.

Ida Sawyer, HRW's researcher in Congo, said the group was continuing its checks.
"Instead of attacking the UN or civil society groups, Rwanda should focus on investigating these allegations," Sawyer said.

Read more on:    un  |  drc  |  rwanda  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.