Congo probes alleged Rwandan support for rebels
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo are investigating allegations that neighbouring Rwanda is recruiting and training fighters in support of a new armed movement in its troubled eastern borderlands, a government spokesman said yesterday.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, citing a confidential United Nations document, reported earlier yesterday that among the defectors from the newly formed militia were at least 11 Rwandan nationals who claimed to have been recruited in Rwanda.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo dismissed the allegations as “categorically false and dangerous”.
Lambert Mende, Congo’s communications minister, told Reuters that his government had received similar information from fighters captured by the army.
“All those who have been arrested after the last fighting are telling the same story,” he said, adding that an inquiry was under way and Congo government itself was not accusing Rwanda of supporting the rebels.
“Rwanda is denying it, and we don’t have any reason to doubt what they’re saying at this time,” he said.
The two Great Lakes neighbours have a troubled history. Kigali in the past has accused Kinshasa of harbouring Rwandan Hutu fighters who fled across the border after carrying out a 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
Rwanda in turn has backed a succession of rebellions in eastern Congo over more than a decade of violence that has claimed the lives of over 5 million people.