Rwanda Accused of Meddling in DRC Conflict


The United States is pressing Rwanda to stop supporting armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid reports that ordinary Rwandans are being press-ganged into joining the fight in the DRC.

At a U.N. Security Council meeting in late July, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “all parties must immediately end their support for armed rebel groups” in the DRC.

Kerry was referring to Rwandan support for the M23 rebels (see photo), who, like other groups, have cyclically attacked mineral-rich eastern provinces of the DRC for the past two decades.

Meanwhile, some Rwandans have reported being forcibly recruited by their own country's army to join the M23 and accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of giving the orders. Those allegations were dismissed by the president's spokesman in an interview with the BBC.

In July, the Security Council discussed resolution 2098 on Peace, Security and Cooperation, relating to the multi-level Peace framework adopted by the U.N. in March 2013. These two initiatives are aimed at reinstating peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa, comprising Burundi, Rwanda and part of the DRC, Kenya and Tanzania.

The war in DRC has had devastating results on the population, particularly women and children. The death toll is set at 3.5 million with some estimates significantly higher. Millions of people are internally displaced and in immediate need of food assistance. Despite ongoing peace talks and the presence of the U.N. Stabilisation Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO), clashes between the Congolese army and the M23 resumed on July 14th, IPS reports.


(Photo: M23 rebels near Sake, Eastern DR Congo. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS)