Rwanda dismisses claims ICC-wanted rebel on its soil

Rwanda scoffed at claims Sunday by the Democratic Republic of Congo that Bosco Ntaganda, a leader of the Congolese M23 rebel group who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, was in the country.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo dismissed allegations by DR Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende who had told AFP that Ntaganda had crossed into Rwanda.

"Has Lambert Mende ever thought differently? Be serious!" Mushikiwabo said in a text message sent in French.

When asked if she was denying Ntaganda was in Rwanda, she said her quote had "been clear".

Rwanda has been accused by Kinshasa and a panel of UN experts of masterminding, arming and even commanding the M23 rebellion in the resource-rich east of DR Congo.

Kigali, which has denied those accusations, said on Saturday that 600 fighters who had crossed the border had been disarmed.

The Rwandan-born Ntaganda, nicknamed "The Terminator", faces charges at the ICC on several counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Rwanda is not a signatory to the ICC's founding document, the Rome Statute, and therefore would not be obliged to hand Ntaganda over to the tribunal, sources at the ICC told AFP.