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Southern Africa tells Rwanda to stop DR Congo rebel support

By AFP
By AFP

8/18/2012 10:30:01 PM -

MAPUTO (AFP) - Southern African leaders on Saturday accused Rwanda of supporting rebel groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, denouncing it as "interference" that threatened regional peace and stability.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) resolved to send a mission to Rwanda as it wrapped up a two-day annual summit in the Mozambican capital.

"(The) summit noted with great concern that the security situation in the eastern part of DRC has deteriorated in the last three months causing displacement of people, loss of lives and property," said executive secretary Thomas Salamao.

"This is being perpetrated by rebel groups with the assistance of Rwanda," he said, adding that the summit "urged the latter to cease immediately its interference that constitutes a threat to peace and stability not only to the DRC but also to the SADC region."

Reading the bloc's final communique, Salamao highlighted the March 23 (M23) rebel group which Rwanda's President Paul Kagame was accused of supporting with arms and ammunition in an United Nations report in June.

"(The) summit mandated a mission to Rwanda to urge them to stop support for the M23," he said.

A quarter of a million people have fled the eastern DRC since April when the M23 took up arms against government troops.

Since the release of the UN report, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden have each suspended all or part of their aid to Rwanda.

The 15 member SADC bloc includes the DR Congo.