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Dutch suspend aid to Rwanda over DRC rebel allegations

The Netherlands says Rwanda must immediately end its support for DRC rebels before aid can continue.

Rwanda M23 rebels Enlarge
M23 rebels sit at the back of a pick-up truck captured a week before and formerly used by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as they carry supplies through Bunagana, on July 15, 2012. (MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Netherlands has followed the United States in suspending aid to Rwanda, amid increasing evidence the country is supporting rebels in the eastern Democratic republic of Congo, Reuters reported.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch government said it was cutting 5 million euros ($6.15 million) in aid that had been intended to help improve Rwanda's judicial system.

However, she said Dutch support for NGOs in Rwanda would continue.

More from GlobalPost: US to cut military aid to Rwanda over support of Congo rebels

The move came hours after Kigali described the US suspension of $200,000 in military aid over the weekend as “regrettable.”

Kigali has promised to debunk “line by line” a report by UN experts that accuses it of backing eastern Congolese rebels, including those from the M23 movement, which has seized parts of the North Kivu province, the Rwandan New Times daily reported.

More than 200,000 residents have fled their homes since April, when the rebels mutinied from the Congolese army.

The UN report – which was distributed to the Security Council, but not made public – accuses the Rwandan government of playing a pivotal role in creating the DRC army mutiny, and then supplying fighters with weapons, ammunitions and young Rwandan recruits.

A senior UN official confirmed to the BBC that defecting Congolese rebels had been recruited in Rwanda.

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The US decision to cut aid marks a significant policy change, as Washington has long remained an ally of Rwanda – despite its involvement in wars fought in the neighboring DRC, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands said it would discuss the possibility of future aid to Rwanda with other European Union governments, adding that this would require Rwanda to immediately end its support for Congolese rebels.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/benelux/120727/dutch-suspend-aid-rwanda-drc-rebels