World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

DR Congo: Rwandan Army Aiding Rival Rebels

DR Congo: UN-Mandated Group Finds Evidence Rwanda, Army Aiding Rival Rebels

A group of experts monitoring a United Nations arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported today that it had found evidence that the Rwandan authorities and the Congolese army have aided opposing rebel groups in the war-ravaged east of the country.

In its final report to the Security Council the Group of Experts, set up in 2004, said that while there is little documentation available to prove Rwandan material support to the rebel National Congress in Defence of the People (CNDP), it had found evidence that Rwandan authorities have been complicit in recruiting soldiers, including children, facilitated the supply of military equipment, and sent their own officers and units to the DRC to support the CNDP.

It based its research on dozens of interviews with eyewitnesses, including former combatants and officers of the mainly Tutsi CNDP, members of the business community, regional intelligence officials and local eyewitnesses, all of them “consistent and credible in describing the involvement” of the Government of Rwanda.

“Given the nature, however, of the conflict in eastern Congo, much of the financial and military support is informal and does not leave a paper trail,” the Group’s Coordinator Jason Stearns told a later news conference.

The Group recommended that the Security Council Sanctions Committee “remind the Government of Rwanda of its obligations” under which it pledged last year to prevent any support to CNDP, entry into and exit from its territory of CNDP members, use of Rwandan telephone networks and banking systems, and holding fund-raising meetings in Rwanda.

With regard to the DRC authorities the Group said it had obtained strong evidence that the Government army, known by its French acronym FARDC, collaborated with the mainly Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), including through the provision of military equipment and in joint operations against CNDP.

FDLR collaborated extensively with FARDC during the December 2007 clashes with CNDP in Masisi and Rutshuru territories and has continued to collaborate with FARDC during fighting that began this August, it added.

An upsurge of fighting since August between the two rebel movements, the army, and various other militias in North Kivu province in eastern DRC has driven 250,000 more civilians from their homes, in addition to the hundreds of thousands uprooted in earlier clashes.

The Group interviewed over 30 FDLR ex-combatants, of whom 15 provided first-hand, concrete testimony of FARDC-FDLR collaboration. It also interviewed several former and active FARDC soldiers who corroborated this information.

“The Group has identified at least three Congolese army commanders who are guilty of providing support to the FDLR,” Mr. Stearns said. “While this collaboration is widespread and regular, the Group has not been able to prove to what extent the top leadership of the army is involved in this practise but it’s cleat that they know anῤ have done nothing to bring it to an end.

The Group has put forward several FARDC commanders for sanctions for supporting FDLR and another group called PARECO, and recommended that the Sanctions Committee request the DRC authorities “to issue clear directives to its troops that collaboration and cohabitation with FDLR and PARECO are prohibited.” Appropriate disciplinary measures should be taken against FARDC soldiers collaborating with these armed groups.

The report noted that the FDLR obtains millions of dollars a year from the minerals trade, mostly through taxation of mines and traders, and that many traders are complicit since they know the gold, cassiterite, coltran and wolframite come from FDLR-controlled zones.

“We believe that the burden should be on the Congolese buying houses as well as on international mineral traders to conduct due diligence into the source of the product,” Mr. Stearns said of one of the planks in enforcing the embargo.

The Group also pointed out that CNDP and FDLR leaders reside or travel through countries in Africa, Europe and North America where they rally support and funds. “The Group believes that such political support is essential for their fund-raising and constitutes a violation of the arms embargo,” Mr. Stearns said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>