The US and EU are urging Rwanda to cease help for rebels committing atrocities within the Democratic Republic of Congo after a UN report cited “proof of direct interventions” by Kigali’s armed forces in its mineral-rich neighbour.
The report, submitted to the UN Safety Council, additional raises strain on Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, a longstanding western ally whose authorities final 12 months struck a controversial deal to simply accept asylum seekers who arrive in Britain illegally.
At subject is Rwanda’s alleged help for M23, a gaggle that resurfaced in 2021 to wage an offensive within the conflict-ridden eastern DRC. The M23, which the US, EU and DRC say is backed by Kigali, has been accused of mass killings and the rape of civilians.
- Advertisement -
Virtually 1mn individuals have been displaced by violence because the M23’s resurgence, the Worldwide Group for Migration stated in April.
The report by a UN group of specialists discovered proof of “direct interventions” by the Rwandan navy on DRC territory, both to bolster M23 combatants or to conduct navy operations in opposition to opposing armed Hutu teams, such because the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda.
Kigali has repeatedly denied supporting the M23, which is dominated by Congolese Tutsis. The M23 claims to guard Tutsis in opposition to the FDLR, which it alleges is backed by Kinshasa and contains Hutus accused of the 1994 Rwanda genocide in opposition to the Tutsi. The UN specialists’ report additionally discovered proof of the FDLR combating the M23 “alongside” Congolese armed forces.
The accusations come amid heightened tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali over japanese DRC, the place greater than 100 completely different insurgent teams compete for management of the realm’s rich resources, including minerals.
The report, launched on Tuesday, acknowledged that the target of the RDF’s navy actions in DRC “was to bolster M23 by offering troops and materiel and to make use of them to safe management over mine websites, achieve political affect within the DRC and decimate FDLR”.
- Advertisement -
The UN specialists additionally stated the RDF’s operations within the DRC province of North Kivu “have been designed and co-ordinated” by Basic James Kabarebe, a defence and safety adviser to Kagame.
Brigadier Basic Ronald Rwivanga, RDF spokesman, condemned the allegations of its involvement as “fully false and concocted”. Lawrence Kanyuka, an M23 spokesman, stated the report “comprises non-verified allegations”.
Reacting to the report, Matthew Miller, spokesperson on the US state division, stated “we reiterate our name for Rwanda to instantly take away Rwanda Defence Power troops from Congolese territory”.
- Advertisement -
“We additionally name on Rwanda to instantly stop help for the UN- and US-sanctioned M23 armed group, which the Group of Consultants has documented committing a number of violations of worldwide humanitarian regulation and human rights abuses, together with rapes and abstract executions of civilians,” he added.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s overseas coverage chief, reiterated Brussels’ demand that Rwanda “stop its help to the M23, and . . . use all means to place strain on the M23 in order that it withdraws from the occupied areas”.
On Monday, the UK placed under sanctions two Congolese militia chiefs for allegedly commanding teams to hold out acts of sexual brutality within the japanese DRC.
However London has remained silent on the M23, rights teams stated.
“The query now could be whether or not the UK will lastly be a part of the US, EU and others and name on Rwanda to finish its help to the M23,” stated Clémentine de Montjoye, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They need to endorse sanctions in opposition to Rwandan officers who could also be complicit in atrocities by their navy help to M23 forces.”