UN claims Rwanda is abetting Congo rebels

Report could prove violation of arms embargo and torpedo peace talks

A draft UN report has bolstered allegations that the government of Rwanda has been supplying arms and even child soldiers to Tutsi rebels whose military surge in the Democratic Republic of Congo has displaced 250,000 people since August.

The deeply sensitive document has been drawn up by a panel of experts appointed by the UN secretary general. Parts of it were presented to members of the 15-nation UN sanctions committee in New York yesterday, sources close to the authors told The Independent. The report's leaked conclusions will be an acute embarrassment for the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, who has repeatedly denied charges that his government has been supplying arms and soldiers to the rebel faction of Laurent Nkunda, which would be in flagrant violation of a UN arms embargo.

The report, when it is made public, could also prove politically toxic to Western nations that have been taking President Kagame's claims at face value to justify the continuation of financial aid to his nation. Britain is among the leading donors.

The findings of collaboration with the Tutsi rebels by the Rwandan government came on the same day that some of its leaders as well as officials from the Congolese government were meeting in Nairobi to try to negotiate a ceasefire. Those talks, according to the UN representative there, were already faltering. The Tutsi rebels are led by General Nkunda, a former Congolese army general, who has said he is trying to protect the Tutsi minority.

Additionally, the UN document is said to cite evidence that Congo's army has been at the same time assisting the Hutu-led militia who are part of the chaos, which some 17,000 UN peacekeepers have been unable to quell.

The report, one UN official confirmed late yesterday, will be presented to a full meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday, at which point it will become public. It could lead to a UN resolution seeking to punish the Kagame government for its actions with economic sanctions.

UN sources said proof that Mr Kagame was behind Mr Nkunda's rebellion would be a key step and should enable the international community to put an end to the clandestine support. President Kagame made a low-profile visit to London last week, but it was not known whether government officials confronted him with the findings of the UN panel, which is empowered to investigate breaches of the arms embargo.

President Kagame continued to deny supporting Mr Nkunda during a meeting in Kigali last month with the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner.

Fighting in eastern Congo stems from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda when many of the military forces from the Hutu majority fled across the border. Nearly fifteen years later, however, it is being fuelled by a battle for control of rich mineral resources in the region. It is the illegal exploitation of those minerals that has helped to finance the new Tutsi advances.

Most embarrassing for Mr Kagame are the allegations not only that his government has channelled arms to the rebels but also, on at least one occasion, delivered soldiers to him – some of whom have been child recruits.

The UN report also alleges that some of the military bombardments have been launched from inside Rwandan territory.

In Nairobi, the UN envoy Olusegun Obasanjo denied that the peace talks between the rebels and the Congo government had collapsed. But he said that progress has been hampered because rebel representatives have not had the political authority to negotiate meaningfully.

On the ground, the UN force is waiting for reinforcements which have been authorised by the security council. But it is expected to take six months before the additional 3,000 troops arrive. The European Union is divided on proposals for a "bridging force" in anticipation of the additional UN peacekeepers.

"The problem is that we are being asked to carry out tasks that are not feasible," said Hiroute Guebre Selassie, the head of the UN mission in North Kivu province which is struggling to deal with the humanitarian crisis triggered by the rebel advance.

The UN force has come under criticism for failing to protect civilians from rebel attack despite the presence of the largest peacekeeping mission in the world. But Ms Selassie said that the conflict was evolving on such a large scale in dense forest and, "the expectations of the people is one thing, but MONUC (the UN force) has to do things that are feasible."

News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
black friday
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Citifocus Ltd: ACA - Financial Reporting

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...

Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; VMWare, Windows; Disley; £40k

£40000 per annum + benefits: Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; V...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?