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Rwanda would support the rebels of the M23, a very active armed group in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is one of the conclusions of a report by experts commissioned by the UN unveiled today by AFP. According to this investigation transmitted to the Security Council, the Rwandan army would have been present and would have intervened on Congolese soil in recent months, against armed movements, but also in support of other groups such as the M23.
According to UN experts, the Rwandan army has “ launched military interventions against Congolese armed groups and Congolese armed forces positions », and this since November 2021.
Investigators reveal that Kigali has “ provided troop reinforcements to the M23 for specific operations “, especially for ” seize cities and strategic areas “. The capture, on June 13, by the rebels, of the locality of Bunagana, in North Kivu, is cited as an example. The experts have collected drone images, amateur videos and photos and testimonials. These elements reveal large columns of several hundred men near the borders of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, moving in uniforms similar to those of the Rwandans.
Two weeks before the attack on Bunagana, the Congolese base at Rumangabo was under shellfire and automatic weapons fire. ” M23 and Rwandan soldiers jointly attacked “say the investigators, adding that Rwandan columns of 900 to 1000 men” cut the RN12 for days and attacked, then dislodged the FARDC from their positions “. Although at the end of May, the Congolese army counter-attacked, with the help of other armed groups.
Finally, the report points to the operations, at the end of May and the beginning of June, on Congolese soil, of 300 Rwandan soldiers against the FDLR and CMC/FDP movements. In short, this investigation goes completely against the official position of Rwanda, which has always denied the presence of its soldiers in eastern Congo.
Kinshasa welcomes the publication of the report
The Congolese government welcomes the publication of this report. He also hoped that Monusco would take a public position earlier against Rwanda, said Minister of Communication and Media Patrick Muyaya, interviewed by our correspondent. Patient Ligodi. ” We heard Ms. Bintou Keita say before the Security Council that the M23 was behaving more and more like a regular army, but we would have liked it to be said rather, for it to be recognized that a Monusco helicopter was bombed by the Rwandan army not to say the M23 “.
The Congolese government also hopes that the findings of this report will speed up the process begun in Luanda, Angola, where Congolese and Rwandans had agreed on the appointment of an Angolan officer to verify the accusations that the two sides are making against each other. ” This report will make his job easier. Today, we must ensure that the ceasefire is respected by all and that Bunagana and all the localities occupied by the M23 can be liberated “.
In the meantime, the decision to expel the spokesperson for Monusco has been maintained. “ Reverse? I do not think so. This is a decision that was taken at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unfortunately, there were consequences. Unfortunately, we will not go back on this decision. “.
It remains to be seen whether this new report will not poison the discussions between Kinshasa and Kigali. On the Rwandan side, the government spokesperson tweeted that “ the government cannot comment on an unpublished and unvalidated report by the United Nations Security Council. The press release simply evokes false accusations, before presenting once again the positions of Rwanda since the beginning of the crisis, reports our correspondent, Laure Broulard.
Kigali assures first of all that the M23 is a strictly Congolese problem, recalls that Rwanda has been the target of rocket fire from the DRC in recent months and above all accuses the Congolese army of collusion with the FDLR, this rebel group originally trained by genocidaires, still considered a threat by Rwanda, and still active in eastern DRC. “Until this problem is resolved, there can be no security in the Great Lakes region. », writes Yolande Makolo. In 2012 and 2013, during the first M23 offensive, the United Nations group of experts had already denounced Kigali’s support for the movement, triggering strong international pressure on Rwanda. At the time the country also rejected these accusations
The document is not public so we do not have access to all the details of the report. But from what we know for the moment, it is moderately surprising insofar as there were many testimonies on the ground which went in the same direction in recent months.
Pierre Boisselet, head of research on violence at Ebuteli, the Congolese Institute for Research on Politics
► To read also: DRC: “The anger of public opinion has evolved into an anti-Monusco sentiment”