A new report released by UN sanctions experts on Monday says Uganda and Rwanda actively supported the M23 rebels in the offensive that led to the capture of DR Congo’s eastern commercial hub of Goma two weeks ago.
Media reports quoting French news agency, AFP, indicate that the experts report that their investigation “strongly upholds” previous claims that the neighbouring countries are backing the M23.
It was reported that hundreds of Rwandan troops bolstered M23 rebels as they took the key city which is found in the mineral-rich North Kivu province, while Uganda provided “logistics” support. The experts also observed that they witnessed delivery of rain boots to the rebels at the Uganda-DR Congo border town of Bunagana, suspected to have come from Uganda.
The Rwandan Defence Force western commander, Gen. Emmanuel Ruvusha, and M23 military boss Col. Sultani Makenga, are named as the planners of the Goma offensive. The report also claims that Uganda deployed near the border with DRC at the end of October to make sure M23 territory was protected.
The UPDF spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye, however, yesterday dismissed the report as “rubbish”.
The new report quotes intelligence sources within and without M23 and civilians as sources of information.
Uganda’s State Minister for International Relations Okello Oryem described the experts as “jokers” and said the reports confirms Uganda’s suspicion that the experts “do not want” a stable DRC.
“We are tired of responding to these same baseless allegations. These so-called experts are quoting the so-called reliable sources are jokers,” he said.
The first report released in October alleged that Uganda was providing political support and intelligence to the rebels, an accusation Kampala has strongly denied.
Meanwhile, the M23 rebels are threatening to retake Goma if the Congolese government delays to hold talks with them as promised. The rebels withdrew from Goma on Friday as part of a peace deal brokered by Uganda in preparation for negotiations with Kinshasa. The talks were expected to start immediately.
Col. Kulayigye said Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga met United Nations representatives on DR Congo in Kampala on Saturday and the two warring parties are expected in Kampala this week for talks.