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
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick