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Top Rwandan officials backing Congo rebels: leaked U.N. findings /Reuters

Top Rwandan officials backing Congo rebels: leaked U.N. findings

James Kabarebe,  Minister of Defence, Rwanda

Top Rwandan officials backing Congo rebels: leaked U.N. findings

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DAKAR | Thu Jun 21, 2012  8:01pm EDT

DAKAR (Reuters) – U.N. experts have  evidence Rwanda’s defense minister and two top military officials have been  backing an army mutiny in the east of neighboring Congo, according to notes of  their briefing to a closed-door U.N. committee seen by Reuters on  Thursday.

The evidence is the strongest yet to indicate high-level support within  President Paul Kagame’s government for the so-called M23 rebellion, whose  stand-off with Congolese forces has caused thousands to flee their homes in the  east of the country. M23 is the name of a group of several hundred soldiers from the Congolese  army that have rallied behind Bosco Ntaganda, a mutinous army general with past  links to Rwanda who is sought for arrest by the Democratic Republic of Congo and  wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges. Diplomats say U.N. Security Council member the United States is delaying  release of findings of the U.N. Group of Experts, an independent specialist  panel on Congo security issues, to allow Rwanda to respond to accusations likely  to test ties between the ex-foes.

Rwanda has repeatedly backed armed movements in its eastern neighbor during  the last two decades, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of  Congo’s eastern hills. But this time it has strenuously denied being  involved. The June 13 briefing of the U.N. sanctions committee said the UN Group of  Experts had evidence that Rwandan army members had entered Congo to reinforce  rebel positions and had provided logistical support and safe passage for Congo  rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda and his forces in Rwanda, the notes said.

 « The experts have implicated several high-ranking Rwandan officials who are  directly involved, » said the contemporaneous notes of the briefing in New York  seen by Reuters, which added the U.N. material had been verified by five  separate sources. The notes listed those officials supporting M23 as Defense Minister James  Kaberebe; chief of defense staff Charles Kayonga; and General Jacques Nziza, a  military adviser to Kagame. Kaberebe, they said, was « in constant contact with  M23 ».

No comment from the defense ministry was immediately available. However  Kagame this week said the instability had nothing to do with Rwanda and accused  others of trying to blame Kigali for Congo’s internal problems. An M23 officer contacted by Reuters denied receiving Rwandan support, adding  that any such backing would have allowed them to gain ground in the battle with  regular Congolese forces. « If a single time the Rwandans had supported us we wouldn’t be on this hill –  we would be far away from this. This action is purely Congolese, » Colonel  Vianney Kazarama said by phone. The UN briefing was verbal. A written report of the Group of Experts findings  is due in coming days to be submitted to the U.N. sanctions committee ahead of  its final publication. There is no indication at this stage of any push to  impose UN sanctions on either Rwanda or Congo. The Group of Experts declined to comment on the notes or the content of the  briefing. Separately, Congo’s Communications Minister Lambert Mende told Reuters  he was aware of allegations against senior Rwandan officials, without naming  them. « There are some people of a certain rank cited in the Group of Experts’  report and by our own intelligence services … It’s the obligation of the  Rwandan president and government to show that they are different entities to  those cited, » Mende said. (Editing by Mark  John and Eric  Walsh)

2 Commentaires Poster un commentaire
  1. This is what we call a torture of a nation what should be paid one day. Forward CCI


    24 juin 2012

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