Uganda and Rwanda continue to meddle in the Democratic Republic of Congo civil war despite aid sanctions and appeals from the International community, a new United Nations investigation has revealed.
The UN Security Council’s Group of Experts, which monitors compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the Congo, said in a leaked confidential report that Rwanda and Uganda had continued to support rebels in their six-month fight against the DRC government troops in the North Kivu province
“Both Rwanda and Uganda have been supporting M23. Rwandan officials exercise overall command and strategic planning for M23,” the 44-page report, which was verified by Reuters news agency on Tuesday, reads in part.
“While Rwandan officials coordinated the creation of the rebel movement as well as its major military operations, Uganda’s more subtle support to M23 allowed the rebel group’s political branch to operate from within Kampala and boost its external relations.”
Despite the sanctions imposed on Rwanda, the East African country allegedly continued to facilitate recruitment of M23 fighters, encouraged soldiers to desert the Congolese army, as well as provided ammunition, intelligence and political advice to the M23.
However, Uganda and Rwanda continue to refute the UN reports.
“They are making up these rubbish allegations because on the ground in the eastern DRC there is the biggest number of UN peacekeeping operations in the whole world with the largest budget in the whole world, and they have failed to do anything in the past five to ten years,” Okello Oryem, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister told reporters.
Oryem said the accusations were an attempt by the UN to use Rwanda and Uganda as its scapegoats for its failures in the region.
“They are blaming their shortcomings on Uganda and Rwanda. They should get on with their job of what they are there to do in the eastern DRC instead of blaming others,” he said.
At a high level meeting in New York, last month attended by the Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Rwandan President Paul Kagame denied any involvement in the conflict.
However, the UN Group of Experts said that it had verified its findings with multiple intelligence sources.
The M23 set up a de facto administration in eastern DRC, controlling the people and collecting taxes.
Nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the fighting over the last six months.
As a result of the fighting, Rwandan traders are profiting from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled across the border from mines in the eastern DRC, according to the UN report.
By: Konye Obaji Ori
Date: 18 October 2012
Source: The Africa Report