Clinton urges Rwanda to help disarm DR Congo rebels
March 23 Movement (M23) rebel soldiers are seen in North Kivu. By Melanie Gouby (AFP/File)
PRETORIA (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged Rwanda to help disarm and cut off support for the rebels who have battled government troops in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since May.
"We urge all states of the region, including Rwanda, to work together to cut off support for the rebels M23 and disarm them and to bring their leaders to justice," Clinton said after talks with her South African counterpart.
Kinshasa charges that Rwanda is arming the M23 mutiny, which has taken on regular forces in the eastern DR Congo, while Kigali accuses its neighbour of plotting attacks with Rwandan Hutu rebels based in the same region.
A UN report published in June said there was ample evidence that Kigali was actively involved in the M23 rebellion, led by a renegade Congolese general who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
Experts say the latest turmoil is the result of an ongoing battle for control of the mineral-rich region, in which Rwanda has long been accused of maintaining a stake by using Congolese militias as proxies.
Clinton assured the DR Congo government of its support.
"M23 is the most active well known armed group threatening people of east Congo today. We support the efforts of DRC."