M23 Rebels Are Rwandan Citizens, Says Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe

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In a speech that will likely further deteriorate the already tense relations between the Rwandan and Tanzanian governments, the Tanzanian Foreign Relations Minister told the parliament in Dar-Es-Salaam on May 27, 2014, that Rwandan backed rebels, M23, are Rwandan citizens, and were funded by the Rwandan government.

This is the first time Tanzanian officials have publicly accused the Rwandan government for creating and backing the Rwandan rebels. The Tanzanian Foreign Minister went further and stated that M23 rebels are Rwandan citizens, instead of being Congolese.

The Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister added that the relations between Rwanda and Tanzania have continued to deteriorate since the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete urged the Rwandan and Ugandan Government to negotiate with their respective opposition, as a way to bring peace in the African Great Lakes region (see our article: You Will be Whipped Like A Small Boy Tanzania Government Warns Rwandan Dictator General Kagame of July 13, 2013)

The Tanzanian opposition, usually sympathetic to the Rwandan cause, attacked the Foreign Affairs Minister of fueling the tension between Rwanda and Tanzanian government by his current and past statements against the Rwandan government.
Bernard Membe was not unfazed. He said that his statements were confirmed by various independent reports, including those from the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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