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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
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

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Concierge and Porter

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer / Front-End Designer - City of London

£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Customer Support Technician

£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Waterlooville based softwa...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot