The M23 rebel group, which has taken over large portions of the North Kivu region in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, has received calls from the European Union urging it to cease helping Rwanda.
The DRC, the US, and a number of European nations have accused Rwanda, a smaller neighbour in Central Africa, of supporting the M23 on numerous occasions, though Kigali has always denied this.
Recently, the Tutsi rebel group has made strides that have brought Goma, the capital of North Kivu, within a few hundred kilometres.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday said the European bloc had urged Rwanda to “stop supporting the M23 and use all means to press the M23 to comply with the decisions taken by the EAC [East African Community]” at a November summit in Angola.
“It also firmly urges all states of the region to prevent the provision of any support to armed groups active in the DRC,” said Borrell.
“Take all essential actions to protect the civilian population in its territory,” he urged Kinshasa.
M23 participated in a ceremony last week to hand over the important town of Kibumba to an East African military force as a “goodwill gesture” for peace despite being under intense international pressure to disband.
The EAC added that the group had to retreat to the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda border. The Kibumba handover, however, was immediately derided as a “sham” by the Congolese army.
Borrell made his remarks after a UN report on the DRC stated that evidence of “direct intervention” by Rwandan defense personnel inside DRC territory between November 2021 and October 2022 had been gathered.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is primarily composed of Hutu people, was the target of operations by Rwandan troops to strengthen the M23, according to the report. This included providing weapons, ammunition, and uniforms.
Rwanda has also charged the DRC, which is scheduled to hold presidential elections in December, with manipulating the violence for political gain and “fabricating” a massacre in November that left at least 131 civilians dead.
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