Tag Archives: DRC

Dutch suspend Rwanda aid, Kigali expects exoneration

10 Sep

By Jenny Clover and Thomas Escritt

KIGALI/AMSTERDAM | Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:47pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Netherlands has suspended 5 million euros ($6.15 million) in aid to Rwanda over its reported support for rebels in Congo, a spokeswoman said on Thursday, hours after Kigali said a similar move by the United States was regrettable and would be proved wrong.

The Dutch reaction to a report from United Nations experts saying Kigali was backing insurgents in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo follows Washington’s $200,000 cut in military aid at the weekend.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch foreign ministry said the suspended aid was to have been used for improving Rwanda’s judicial system and that support to non-governmental organizations would continue.

The Dutch government would discuss future aid to Rwanda with other European Union governments and resumption would require an immediate end to Rwandan support for rebels in Congo, she said.

Kigali did not immediately respond to the Dutch move but Rwanda has regularly denied having any link to eastern Congolese rebels and said earlier on Thursday that the U.S. move had been “regrettable” and based on a flawed report.

“It would have been better for the U.S. or any other of our partners to actually take a decision based on clear evidence, not on allegations,” Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said.

The U.S. cut was seen as a significant shift in policy because Washington has stood by Rwanda in the past despite the tiny nation’s long history of involvement in wars in its vast, unstable neighbor since a 1994 genocide.

Asked if the military aid cut had damaged relations with the United States, Mushikiwabo said: “I don’t think so.”

Clashes between the Congolese army and M23 rebels have forced thousands of people to flee their homes in the last 48 hours, adding to some 260,000 people already displaced since April.

Mushikiwabo also brushed aside a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that a U.S. official had warned Rwanda’s leaders they could face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for arming groups responsible for atrocities in the Congo.

“Let’s just take the wildest guess and say that the U.S. government actually does believe that (the leaders might be charged). They wouldn’t announce it through a journalist. That’s not how the U.S. government functions,” she said.

“There is no truth to that. Not only is there no truth to that but it also shows how people are just going wild with this whole Congo thing.”


The U.N. experts accused high-ranking Rwandan officials of backing the Congolese rebels with arms, ammunition and supplies but Mushikiwabo said Rwanda had no reason to support an uprising in a neighboring country.

Rwandan officials had met the authors of the U.N. report in Kigali to give their side of the story, she said. The report’s final version is due to be released around November.

“We went through each one of them carefully, every single allegation, and gave our own rebuttal … I think when the report becomes final in November it should be very clear that this interim report was just a compilation of allegations, a lot of fabrications,” she said.

“What does a photo of a uniform prove? I can get a uniform sewn here in Kigali any time and put it in a report. So what I think is that this report is very superficially plausible but people really need to look at it.”

The M23 rebellion takes its name from a 2009 peace accord the rebels say was violated by Kinshasa.

It has been swelled by hundreds of defectors from the Congolese army who walked into the bush in support of fugitive Congolese General Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the ICC on war crimes charges.

(Writing by James Macharia and David Lewis; Editing by Louise Ireland)



Germany latest to suspend Rwanda aid

10 Sep

Last Modified: 28 Jul 2012 23:12

Kigali under pressure to end its alleged support for the rebellion in DR Congo as several donors halt planned support.


UN investigators have accused Rwanda of helping create, arm and support the M23 rebel movement [Reuters]

Rwanda is coming under increasing pressure to halt its alleged support for the rebellion in eastern DR Congo, with Germany becoming the latest donor to suspend planned aid.

Germany’s development ministry said on Saturday it suspended $26m in contributions to Rwanda’s budget planned from this year through 2015. Britain and the Netherlands already have suspended support and the US cut planned military aid of  $200,000.

A report by UN experts last month accused Rwanda of helping create, arm and support the M23 rebel movement in violation of UN sanctions. Rwanda denies the charges.

Dirk Niebel, the German development minister, said he expects “unreserved co-operation” by Rwanda with the UN experts. “The accusations must be cleared up completely, and it must be clear that Rwanda does not support any illegal militias in eastern Congo,” he said in a statement.

Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister, expressed regret on Friday at the “hasty decisions based on flimsy evidence”.

The Netherlands said it was suspending $6.1m promised to improve Rwanda’s judicial sector while Britain, Rwanda’s biggest donor, said it was delaying a budget support payment scheduled this month.

London’s Financial Times newspaper quoted a Swedish aid official on Thursday saying Scandinavian countries on the board of the African Development Bank also forced the delay of a decision on the disbursal of $38.9m in budget aid to Rwanda from last week until September.

Damning UN report

The pressure comes as a group of UN experts who made the allegations in a damning report was visiting Rwanda. Their report published last month accused Rwanda of helping create, arm and support the M23 rebel movement.

The uprising has brought the worst violence in years to eastern DR Congo. It has forced more than 260,000 people from their homes in the past three months and it is draining the resources of an already overstretched UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

Mushikiwabo maintained Rwanda’s vigorous denial of the charges despite overwhelming evidence, including from surrendered rebels who told UN officials that they were Rwandans who had been recruited and trained in Rwanda. The UN report also said some Rwandan soldiers were fighting alongside the rebels against Congo’s army.

Mushikiwabo said in a statement that she had just “comprehensively rebutted” all the allegations to the visiting UN experts.

“We have just concluded discussions with the [UN] Group of Experts and comprehensively rebutted every one of the allegations with conclusive documentary evidence,” she said.

While the amounts of the suspended aid are relatively small, the actions are considered a major rebuke of Rwanda, a darling of Western donors dependent on aid for nearly half its budget.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has avoided sanctions despite numerous past transgressions of standards supposedly required in exchange for Western aid. His government has consistently suppressed all opposition at home.

It denies charges that it sends hit squads to assassinate opponents abroad, though Britain’s Scotland Yard has warned several Rwandans living in exile there that Rwanda’s government has been plotting to kill them.

Western donors demanded no sanctions after the publication last year of a long-delayed UN report accusing Kagame’s army of a possible genocide of Congolese and Rwandan Hutu people after they invaded Congo in 1994.

Some of the West’s lenience toward Kagame is motivated by guilt over their failure to halt the 1994 genocide of about 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus, which was ended by Kagame’s rebel movement.

Western nations also are reluctant to cut aid because Rwanda has proved a stellar example of how well-managed aid can improve people’s lives.

British aid to Rwanda, set at $125.5m this year, is considered to have played a major role in helping the one million Rwandan who have climbed out of poverty in the past five years – the fastest ever rate of poverty reduction ever achieved in Africa.


Rwanda military aid cut by US over DR Congo M23 rebels

10 Sep

22 July 2012 Last updated at 12:02

The M23 rebels are among those the US fears Rwanda is backing

The US has cut military aid to Rwanda following accusations it is backing rebels in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The US state department says the funding – $200,000 (£128,000) – will be reallocated to other countries.

Rwanda has rejected reports by the UN and rights groups that it is supporting the rebels, including the M23 movement, in eastern DR Congo.

As a result of the fighting, 200,000 people have fled their homes.

Eastern DR Congo has been plagued by fighting since 1994, when more than a million ethnic Hutus crossed the border into DR Congo following the Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 people – mostly Tutsis – died.

Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger neighbour, saying it was trying to take action against Hutu rebels based in DR Congo. Uganda also sent troops into DR Congo during the 1997-2003 conflict.

The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse, on the Congo-Rwanda border, says although $200,000 is a tiny sum to cut, it is hugely symbolic.

It means Washington – Rwanda’s staunchest international defender – believes the government in Kigali is destabilising the region by supplying the rebels, our correspondent explains.

A recent UN report seen by the BBC accused Rwanda of backing the rebels.

The report cited Rwandan soldiers who had defected from Congolese rebel forces. They told the UN they had been trained in Rwanda under the pretext of joining the army, before being sent over the border to fight.

The Rwandan government denied the allegations.

The Congolese rebels who took up arms in April named themselves “M23” after a failed peace agreement signed with DR Congo’s government on 23 March three years ago.

Many of them are ethnic Tutsi – like the majority of Rwanda’s leadership.