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UN Experts on Congo Stick to Their Guns and Accuse Rwandan Military and Government of Continued Support to M23 Rebels

Sources at the United Nations in New York City inform AfroAmerica Network that UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will deliver the final report for 2012 today, October 12, 2012. According to the sources, the report is even more damaging to the Rwandan Government and Military compared to the interim report published in May 2012 and the addendum made public in June 2012.

The final report refers to the addendum of the interim report and adds more concrete evidences that show how Rwanda leaders in the government and the military  continue to fund and supply weapons and fresh troops to M23, a congolese rebel group that has been terrorizing Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Rwanda government has strongly denied the accusation, despite independent conformation of the UN findings by NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group.

Following the accusations by UN Group of Experts, several donor countries including United States of America, The Netherlands, Great Britain, and Sweden have cut aid to Rwanda.

In their defense, Rwandan leaders heaped the blame to the head of UN Experts, Steve Hege (see our article on August 28, 2012:Rwandan Government Delegation Attacks UN Expert Steve Hege at the UN Security Council), for being biased against Rwanda.

Rwandan government rebuttals have failed to convince in the face of a mountain of evidences from several independent sources and former M23 rebels themselves.

As a show of resolve and muscle flexing, Rwandan government has hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a New York City based law firm to help fight off the accusations and defend Rwandan leaders in front of UN Sanctions Committee.

On Wednesday October 10, 2012, US Ambassador Susan Rice, during a briefing on Congo called by France Ambassador at the UN, confirmed the statements made earlier by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie CarsonRwanda: IMF and World Bank Reviewing Aid” that urge Rwandan government to condemn M23 rebellion. Ambassador Rice also insisted that a regional solution must be found to the problem. However, after three failed meetings among African heads of state in Kampala, Uganda, and a mini summit led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon ended in a chaos, it is unclear how a regional solution will be found.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation on the ground in Eastern DRC continues to deteriorate. New rebel groups are mushrooming, taking advantage of the chaos and M23 rebels are consolidating in the areas they conquered, with fresh troops from Rwanda crossing the border in an uninterrupted flow. According to sources close to M23 rebels, a bulk of the troops from Rwanda are former homeless young men forcefully recruited and trained on Iwawa island(see our articles on Iwawa here) and young Congolese Tutsi recruited in refugee camps inside Rwanda.

In Kinshasa, a Summit of French Speaking Head of States, called Francophonie will start on Saturday October 13, 2012. Already, the meeting among the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has set the tone: the situation in Eastern DRC is the main topic, and Rwandan representatives are on the defensive. On October 11, 2012 referring to the Francophonie summit, President Francois Hollande has criticized Congolese government of being undemocratic and promised to meet with Congolese opposition leaders, especially the veteran UDPS leader Etienne Tshisekedi.
M23 rebels have seized on French president’s comments to justify their rebellion.

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