Rwanda 'aiding' DR Congo mutineers, war crimes suspect: HRW

AFP , Monday 4 Jun 2012

Rwanda's military strongly rejects accusations by DR Congo that its military aided mutiny leader Bosco Ntaganda who is wanted by the ICC for war crimes

DR Congo
General Bosco Ntaganda, (Photo: Reuters).

Rwanda's military is aiding army mutineers including an international war crimes suspect in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said Monday, a charge Kigali dismissed as "reckless."

"Rwandan military officials have been arming and supporting the mutiny in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC)," HRW said in a statement.

According to the New York-based rights group, the army allowed Ntaganda to enter Rwanda and provided him with new recruits, weapons, and ammunition.

"Rwandan army officials have provided weapons, ammunition, and an estimated 200 to 300 recruits to support Ntaganda's mutiny," HRW said, adding that recruits included civilians who were forcibly recruited as well as children.

"Witnesses said that some recruits were summarily executed on the orders of Ntaganda's forces when they tried to escape," HRW said, adding that supplying weapons contravenes the United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Congo.

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo charged the report had been designed to "inflame tension and create conflict."

"The irresponsible words of lobbies like Human Rights Watch are no less dangerous than bullets or machetes," Mushikiwabo said in a statement. "We are not involved in internal DR Congo political or military affairs."

The mutineers are former rebel fighters who were absorbed into the DR Congo's regular army under 2009 peace accords but deserted after complaining of poor treatment.

They have been embroiled in cat-and-mouse clashes with loyalist troops for weeks in the jungles of the mountainous border region.

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