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January 23, 2014

UN: M23 Recruiting in Rwanda

by Margaret Besheer

Rwanda is protesting the expected release of a U.N. report that says the M23 rebel group is recruiting inside its borders.  

A U.N. Group of Experts report, to the Security Council sanctions committee dealing with the Democratic Republic of Congo, says it has credible information that M23 leaders were moving freely in Uganda and that the M23 continued to recruit in Rwanda.

A year-and-a-half-long M23 rebellion further destabilized eastern Congo, killing and displacing scores of civilians.  The Congolese army, backed by a robust U.N. intervention brigade, defeated the group late last year.

Rwanda’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Olivier Nduhungirehe, rejected the experts’ report Thursday, citing “flawed methodology” and a “lack of sources.”

“The M23 were militarily defeated.  And now the Group of Experts has thrown a new accusation against Rwanda saying that the M23 is recruiting in Rwanda," said Nduhungirehe. "But they didn’t provide any basic evidence.  They didn’t say who was recruiting, [or] where they were recruiting.  They didn’t even consult us as Rwanda.  How can you have so serious accusations against Rwanda and not consult Rwanda?”

In the past, the U.N. has accused both Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the rebel group, a charge they deny.

Last week, the U.N.’s top envoy in Congo, Martin Kobler, told the council that there are credible reports that the M23 has not stopped recruiting and had resumed some activities in northeastern Congo.  He urged the international community not to tolerate any military re-emergence of the group.