UN to release divisive report on Rwanda support for Congo rebels
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The UN Security Council agreed yesterday to publish a controversial document that implicates Rwanda’s defense minister and several top military officials of backing an army mutiny in the east of neighbouring Congo, council diplomats said.
The evidence contained in an addendum to a recent report by UN experts 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. Rwanda rejects the allegations.
Reuters had previously seen and reported on the minutes of a verbal briefing by the so-called Group of Experts, an independent panel that monitors violations of the Congo sanctions regime, on the allegations for the Security Council’s Congo sanctions committee.
Reuters obtained yesterday a copy of a more extensive 43-page document, the one the 15-nation council has agreed to release. Speaking on condition of anonymity, diplomats said it might take a few days for it to appear on the council’s Congo sanctions committee website.
“Over the course of its investigation since late 2011, the Group has found substantial evidence attesting to support from Rwandan officials to armed groups operation in the eastern DRC,” the document said.
“The RDF (Rwandan army) has been providing military equipment, weapons, ammunition and general supplies to M23 rebels,” the addendum said, adding that senior Rwandan officials have been “directly involved” in generating political and financial support for M23.
Kinshasa had accused permanent Security Council member the United States of blocking the release of the findings of the UN Group of Experts, an independent specialist panel that monitors sanctions violation in Congo. The US mission to the United Nations vehemently denied the allegation.