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UN report denounces Rwanda's support of Tutsi rebels

Latest update : 2008-12-13

Rwanda has provided assistance to the Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, helping with recruitment of soldiers, including children, supplying military equipment and sending officers and troops, UN experts said in a report on Friday.

AFP - Rwanda has been providing various forms of assistance to ethnic Tutsi rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo, a panel of UN experts said in a report seen here Friday.

The report said Rwandan authorities "have been complicit in the recruitment of soldiers, including children, have facilitated the supply of military equipment and have sent officers and units" from their national army to ethnic Tutsi rebels led by warlord Laurent NKunda in DRC.

It added that Nkunda loyalists "uses Rwandan territory as a rear base for fund-raising meetings and bank accounts."

The experts also cited evidence showing "extensive collaboration" between DRC government troops and Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) as well as with Mai Mai tribal militia in the Congolese Resistance Patriots (Pareco) movement.

They said this included the provision of ammunition and the conduct of joint operations against Nkunda-led forces.

The report also established that the FDLR earned millions of dollars annually from the illicit minerals trade, mostly through the taxation of mines and trade routes.

It said evidence showed that many DRC and regional traders "are complicit in these illegal activities, as they knowingly pre-finance or directly purchase  gold, cassiterite, coltan (a sought after mineral used in the production of essential electronic components), and wolframite from FDLR-controlled zones."

The report also noted that "all armed groups continued to recruit and maintain children in their ranks, and are responsible for serious violations of international law targeting women and children."

Date created : 2008-12-12