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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Retail Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz