UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Wednesday he was concerned about U.N. reports that Rwandan officials were supporting rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
President Paul Kagame and Un Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Ban phoned both Kagame and DRC President Joseph Kabila to discuss a mutiny in the mineral-rich eastern Congo province of North Kivu, which has been swept by violence since March after hundreds of former rebels defected from the army.
An addendum to a recent report by U.N. experts found “substantial evidence attesting to support from Rwandan officials to armed groups operation in the eastern DRC.” Rwanda has repeatedly denied the allegations.
“The Secretary-General expressed grave concern over reports that the M23 mutineers fighting Government forces in North Kivu are receiving external support and are well-trained, armed and equipped,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
Ban stressed “the need do everything possible to dissuade the M23 from making further advances and to cease fighting immediately” and urged the Rwandan and DRC presidents to begin talks to defuse tensions between the neighbours.
The M23 insurgents, dominated by Congolese Tutsis, take their name from a March 2009 peace deal that ended a previous rebellion in North Kivu and led to their integration into the national army. They deserted the government ranks earlier this year, accusing the government of not respecting the agreement.
Like the 2004-2009 rebellion, the current mutiny has its roots in ethnic and political wounds dating back to Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Later invasions of Congo by Rwandan forces, and Kigali’s backing of Congolese rebels, fueled two successive wars that killed several million people. Read more…