Rwanda urged to stop fuelling DRC conflict

2012-06-28 21:04

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Thursday urged Rwanda to stop fuelling conflict in the east, after a UN report found that Kigali officers had assisted a mutiny there.

"We demand that the Rwandan authorities prevent their officers from continuing to fuel the war in Congo," government spokesperson Lambert Mende said.

"We ask them to unconditionally dismantle networks, stop recruitment and supplies feeding the nefarious forces in Congo," the spokesperson said at a press conference.

Kigali has vehemently denied accusations it had been helping a mutiny in the eastern DRC by former Congolese Tutsi rebels who had been integrated into the army but defected again this year.

The UN released a report on Tuesday whose annex, as yet unpublished but a copy of which was obtained by AFP, said senior Rwandan Defence Forces officers "in their official capacities, have been backstopping the rebels through providing weapons, military supplies, and new recruits".

The eastern DRC has been rocked by an uprising by mutineers who have formed themselves into a group called M23, led by Bosco Ntaganda, a renegade general wanted by the International Criminal Court.

"Over the course of its investigation since late 2011, the group has found substantial evidence attesting to support from Rwandan officials to armed groups operating in the eastern DRC," the annex said.

The annex said Rwandan military officers had given "direct assistance" in the creation of M23 by providing weapons and soldiers, as well as helping to recruit Rwandan youths and Congolese refugees and mobilising Congolese political and financial support.

The decision to encourage the mutiny came as part of Rwanda's years-long battle against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels in eastern DR Congo, the experts said.

The ethnic Hutu FDLR include militiamen who carried out the 1994 genocide against President Paul Kagame's Tutsi minority.

Kigali hit back on Thursday with allegations that Kinshasa had sent its own men to the region to plot "terror attacks" against Rwanda with the FDLR.