Thursday, December 04, 2003

DRC: UN report alleges Rwanda & Uganda still involved in conflict

This article in today's Guardian has quite a bit of detail about a confidential UN report that was intended for members of the Security Council alone.
The machinations of the Rwandan military "are considered to be the most serious threat" to the government in Kinshasa, the report says. It alleges that Rwandan officers are providing training and arms for two other militia groups in the east, including the Congolese National Army (ANC), the military wing of the former rebel faction RCD-Goma, whose leader is now one of four vice-presidents in the government.

... The other Rwandan-armed group, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), with 10,000 regulars in the north-east area of Ituri, is under direct control of the Rwandan army's high command, the report says. Rwanda formally withdrew its troops from Congo last year.

Uganda, whose troops were pulled out in May, is accused of protecting its commercial interests through three proxy militias operating in the prosperous Ituri district.
Last month, the BBC radio program, "Crossing Continents", had a piece on the same confidential report ... you can find that here.
In the covering letter, the chairman of the panel that wrote the report, Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem, says it "contains highly sensitive information" on those involved in plunder, and their role in "perpetuating the conflict".

... [interviewed on the program] he said the facts needed to be kept under wraps in an effort to protect the fragile peace process which depends on those named.
Check this post from late October ... news outlets were carrying a story about how the UNSC was looking to suppress a critical report on the DRC (referring to the confidential report submitted to the Security Council).

The report was put together by a group of people charged by the UN to look at what's going on in the DRC. The full title is quite the mouthful -- Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the DRC. Their fourth report ... which is available to the public can be found here.