2 S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday Washington was “very concerned” about what he called credible reports that Rwanda has provided support to M23 rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
5 Rwanda has denied the allegations and Blinken is due to visit the country following a one-day stay in Kinshasa.
6 “We are very concerned by credible reports that Rwanda has supported the M23,” the top U.
7 S. diplomat told a press conference in Kinshasa.
9 Blinken said his trip to the region was to ensure U.
11 The DRC is seeking international support as it struggles with Rwanda over the M23, a primarily Congolese Tutsi group that is one of many operating in the troubled east.
12 After lying mostly dormant for years, the rebels resumed fighting late last year, seizing the strategic town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border in June and prompting thousands of people to flee their homes.
14 Rwanda also “provided troop reinforcements” for specific M23 operations, the experts’ report said, “in particular when these aimed at seizing strategic towns and areas”.
15 Kinshasa and Kigali have had strained relations since the mass influx of Rwandan Hutus accused of slaughtering Tutsis during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Relations began to thaw after Tshisekedi took office in 2019 but the M23’s resurgence has revived tensions.
17 The group, also known as the “March 23 Movement”, first leapt to prominence in 2012 when it briefly captured the city of Goma before a joint Congolese-UN offensive drove it out.
19 Tshisekedi was to “raise the questions of strategic partnership” between the DRC and the United States during his meeting with Blinken at the presidential palace, his office said in a statement Monday.
20 On the eve of Blinken’s swing through the DRC and Rwanda, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged him to condemn the M23 attacks and press Rwanda on its rights record, which included a “brutal” crackdown on dissent.
22 “Witnesses described summary killings of at least 29 people, including children, in June and July… The U.
23 S. should raise with Rwanda the reliable reports that it is again supporting the M23’s abusive conduct in eastern Congo.
The M23 is just one of scores of armed groups that roam eastern DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars that flared late last century.