Rwanda has termed the allegedly leaked United Nations Group of Experts’ (UNGoE) report accusing the country of supporting DR Congo rebel group, M23, as a tactical distraction from the real issues.
The allegations in the report that emerged today August 4 claimed that the Rwandan army has supported and provided logistical support to the M23.
However, a statement shared by government spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, on her twitter account indicates that the UN Security Council received a UN Group of Experts report on DRC in June 2022, “which contained none of these false allegations, and a mid-term report is expected in December. This can only be a tactic to distract from the real issues.”
Commentators following regional affairs say that the UNGoE reports that allegedly leaked false information is meant to cover up the failures of the United Nations Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), following enormous pressure from the Congolese on the mission to leave DR Congo territory and its failure to uproot several militia and terror groups like the FDLR and its splinter groups.
Statement from the Rwandan government equally hinted at the same scenario indicating that; “Until the problem of FDLR, which operates in close collaboration with the DRC army, is taken seriously and addressed, security in the Great Lakes region cannot be achieved. This is happening in full view of MONUSCO, which has been present in DRC for more than twenty years, but with no solution in sight.”
Meanwhile, following the recent resurgence of fighting between M23 rebels and the Congolese military together with its allies including FDLR terrorists, Congolese authorities alleged that the M23 rebel group gets support from Rwanda, a claim the latter has vehemently denied.
The group – which was started by mainly former members of the DR Congo military – has also denied any links or getting support from Rwanda.
DR Congo announced that they are suspending all trade pacts with Rwanda effective June 16. This came three weeks after DR Congo also suspended Rwandair flights to the country.
Also FARDC and FDLR have on at least three occasions shelled bombs on the Rwandan territory in less than four months. The recent two incidents that happened on May 23 and June 10 followed a similar incident that happened in March.
They all targeted civilians in the areas of Musanze and Burera districts and left several injured and property damaged.
“The fact is that there have been attacks and shelling from the DRC into Rwandan territory on multiple occasions, resulting in fatalities and destruction of property. Investigations have been made, and were even part of the UN Group of Experts report in June. Rwanda has a legitimate and sovereign right to defend our territory and citizens, and not just wait for disaster to unfold,” reads part of the Rwandan government statement.
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It adds that the presence of M23 and its origins are well-known as a problem of the DRC, which they seek to make a burden on other countries.
“Rwanda has disarmed and cantoned M23 fighters far from the DRC border. Others scattered in the region, who are in conflict with their government, are not Rwanda’s responsibility. Rwanda also hosts tens of thousands of Congolese refugees, many for more than 25 years,” adds the statement.
Meanwhile, the UNGoE report came at a time when both Rwanda and DR Congo are working towards restoration of relations. The Heads of State of the two countries met in Luanda, Angola and drew a ‘roadmap on the pacification process in the eastern region of DR Congo.’
This was followed by the Joint Permanent Commission on Rwanda and DR Congo which re-emphasised the need to eradicate FDLR terrorist group and its splinter groups and also referred the issue of M23 to be addressed under the Nairobi protocol just as the Heads of State had also suggested.
According to the government statement, “As regional frameworks in place are trying to manage the situation in Eastern DRC, Rwanda has consistently raised the alarm with the United Nations and other international actors about this infringement of the security of our country. Rwanda is working for peace and stability, from which Rwanda and all our neighbours can benefit.”