M23 Rebels Punch Holes in UN Report Over Rwanda

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Denis Mukwege, a renowned human rights activist in North Kivu province, and the elected provincial deputy of Rutshuru, Bonaventure Sherimpuwe have called for sanctions against Rwanda for the aggression against DR Congo.
M23 rebels manning Congolese side of Bunagana border (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)-min
The March 23 Movement (M23) rebels have punched holes in a report compiled by the United Nations (UN) Group of Experts implicating Rwanda for aiding them.    

On Thursday last week, the UN released a 131-page report indicating that it has "solid evidence" showing that Rwandan troops have been fighting alongside the M23 rebels in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s territory of Rutshuru and providing it with weapons and support.   

The DR Congo government welcomed the report. The government spokesman, Patrick Muyaya noted that the truth always triumphs in the end. He also said that DR Congo hopes that conclusions will be drawn quickly to put an end to Rwanda’s interference and restore lasting peace.  Denis Mukwege, a renowned human rights activist in North Kivu province, and the elected provincial deputy of Rutshuru, Bonaventure Sherimpuwe have called for sanctions against Rwanda for the aggression against DR Congo.    

However, rebels through their political spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka, say that the report has flabbergasted the rebel group because it is full of false accusations. In an August 5th, 2022 report shared released on Monday evening, Kanyuka describes the report as a plot orchestrated to appease the anger of the anti-United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which claimed the lives of 36 people.

The killings took place last month in Goma city where residents staged violent demonstrations calling for MUNUSCO's removal because of the failure to end militia violence for decades. Kanyuka wonders why the UN expert group released a report shortly after the expulsion of Mathias Gillmann, the MONUSCO spokesperson from Congo. The development came after the UN soldiers shot dead two people as they forcefully tried to enter Congo from Uganda through the Kasindi border. 

Kanyuka queries why Rwanda and Uganda have always carried the burden of the Congolese government's failure to protect its citizens. He says that M23 refuses to be used as a slain lamb for the inability and total failure of the Congolese government and MONUSCO to restore peace and security in the country. 

He also accuses the UN expert group of failing to reveal the murderous coalition of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda(FDRL), Nyatura and Mai Mai militias, who kill, rape, loot, extort, besiege mines and later lend support to government troops and MONUSCO in an offensive against M23. He says that for the UN group of experts to accuse the M23 of gaining support from a foreign army is to deliberately undermine its organizational capacity, discipline, and the total determination of its personnel to create a secured space for all Congolese. 

According to Kanyuka, M23 comprises Congolese citizens who are only claiming their rights. Fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC troops started in March this year. On June 13, the rebels captured the major Uganda-DR Congo border of Bunagana and the neighboring areas forcing over 150 FARDC troops to flee to Uganda. The rebels claim that they are fighting bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination. Fighting has displaced more than 160,000 civilians forcing them to flee Rutshuru. More than 40,000 fled to the Ugandan side of the Kisoro district. 

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