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Congo demands sanctions on Rwanda, Uganda over rebel support

The Democratic Republic of Congo demanded sanctions against Rwandan and Ugandan officials for supporting an insurgency.

Congo rebels rwanda uganda sanctions october 17 2012Enlarge
An M23 rebel holds the burned remains of an AK-47 rifle near the village of Mabenga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's restive North Kivu province on July 28, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday demanded sanctions against Rwandan and Ugandan officials in response to a United Nations report that claimed they were backing an insurgency in the Congo.

The report by the Security Council's Group of Experts, which was obtained by Reuters, said that both Rwanda and Uganda have been supporting the M23 rebels in Congo's mineral-rich North Kivu province.

The document follows a UN report published in June which accused Rwanda of supporting the insurgency. According to the BBC, Rwanda has backed armed groups in the eastern parts of the DRC "as a way to fight Hutu rebels who fled there after the genocide of the 1990s."

The M23 movement, led by an indicted war criminal, has forced around 470,000 people to flee their homes since March, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"The Government of Rwanda continues to violate the arms embargo through direct military support to M23 rebels," the report reads. It alleges that support comes in the form of recruitment and "provision of arms and ammunition, intelligence, and political advice," according to The Telegraph.

The report from the UN singled out Rwandan Defense Minister General James Kabarebe as the head at M23's chain of command. Ugandan officials were also accused of providing the rebels with "troop reinforcements...weapons deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice and facilitation of external relations," according to Reuters.

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame officially denied the accusations, saying earlier that "not one bullet" had moved from Rwanda to the rebels, according to The Telegraph.

Ugandan Foreign Minister Okello Oryem denounced the report as "rubbish," the Associated Press reported. James Mugume, the permanent secretary of Uganda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the report was an attempt to undermine ongoing efforts to resolve the regional conflict.

Congo's government spokesman Lambert Mende called on the UN to place those named in the report under sanctions, according to Reuters.

"It's more important than ever, as now we have proof that the drama in North Kivu is being manipulated by criminals who hold positions of power," he told Reuters.

The DRC's ambassador to the UK, Kikaya Bin Karubi, told the BBC, "When the chief of staff of an army, a minister of defense of a country creates a rebellion, supplies weapons, sends troops to fight against a legitimate government across the border, I think this is serious."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/121017/congo-demands-sanctions-rwanda-uganda-over-rebel-support