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Global Conflicts/Terrorism

[Published: Wednesday October 17 2012]

Rwanda defence chief leads DR Congo rebels, UN

New York - Rwanda's defence minister is effectively commanding a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN experts say. The confidential report, leaked to Reuters agency, says Uganda is also backing the M23 rebels, who have been fighting the DRC's army since April. The document builds on a UN report published in June which accused Rwanda of supporting the insurgents. Rwanda and Uganda strenuously deny supporting the rebellion. The latest report by the UN Security Council's Group of Experts provides more details of Rwanda's alleged continued involvement. It says M23 leaders "receive direct military orders" from Rwanda's chief of defence staff, Gen Charles Kayonga, "who in turn acts on instructions from the minister of defence", Gen James Kabarebe. It also says Kigali has supplied the M23 with heavy weapons and stepped up recruitment for the group. Both Rwandan and Ugandan officials have strongly denied the accusations made in the report. Olivier Nduhungirehe, a senior Rwandan diplomat at the country's UN mission, said the United Nations experts had been "allowed to pursue a political agenda that has nothing to do with getting at the true causes of conflict in the eastern DRC". Uganda's foreign minister, Henry Okello Oryem, told the BBC that the UN was seeking to blame others for the failure of its own peacekeeping force in the eastern Congo. But the the DRC's ambassador to the UK, Kikaya Bin Karubi, said the UN "must act" on the basis of the report. (FA)

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