The European Union on Friday “strongly” condemned the Rwandan military presence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the Tutsi rebellion M23, suspected of numerous deadly attacks against civilians.
“The EU strongly condemns the support provided by Rwanda to the M23 and the Rwandan military presence in the eastern DRC, revealed in the reports of the group of experts of the United Nations”, according to a statement by the head of diplomacy of the Twenty-Seven, Josep Borrell.
The M23 rebellion took up arms again at the end of 2021 and seized large swaths of territory in North Kivu, in eastern DRC bordering Rwanda and Uganda. From the start, Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of arming this rebellion and fighting alongside it, which UN experts have corroborated, although Kigali denies it.
In December 2022, the European Union had already been moved by Rwandan support for these rebels, and had “strongly urged” Kigali to put an end to it.
In this new statement by Mr. Borrell “on behalf of the EU”, the Europeans reiterate their “urgent” request for the withdrawal of Rwandan troops supporting the movement.
Rwanda, it is added, must “use all the means at its disposal to pressure the group to comply with the decisions taken within the framework of the Nairobi and Luanda processes” (the decisions taken by the leaders of the Community of East African States and Angola, editor’s note).
Ending the violence in accordance with UN resolutions is also a responsibility of the DRC, according to the head of EU diplomacy.
Thus the 27 member states also call on Kinshasa to “immediately cease its support and cooperation” with various local and foreign armed groups – in particular the FDLR -, and to “take all legal and legitimate measures to protect the civilian population on its territory”. .
The FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda) are a predominantly Hutu armed group, founded by former leaders of the Tutsi genocide in 1994 in Rwanda and seen as a threat by the current Rwandan power. The existence and violence of this militia justified past Rwandan interventions in the DRC.
In a report published last month, UN experts sounded the alarm over “rampant violence” and “growing humanitarian needs” in eastern DRC.
This article is originally published on fr.africanews.com