France and Germany have been accused of Rwandan support for rebels in the neighboring east Congo. This could lead to a reduction in foreign aid, which Kigali enjoys since long.
Congo’s government has been angered by renewed M23 rebel attacks. Talks of war have erupted in the eastern Congo. This volatile area is rich in vital minerals that are critical for much of the world’s technology. An earlier report from United Nations experts stated that they have “solid evidence” Rwanda’s military was supporting the rebels. The United States also asked Rwanda for an end to this.
Other major donors are now joining the condemnation of Rwanda. France’s foreign ministry condemned Rwanda’s support of M23 in a Tuesday statement. Its junior minister responsible for development was also in attendance during a trip to Congo and warned that M23 must stop fighting and pull out. Chrysoula Zigaropoulou is the junior minister responsible for implementing aid policy. As relations improved, France’s official assistance for Rwandan development jumped from less than $4 million in 2019 up to $68 million by 2021.
Christoph Retzlaff (German foreign ministry director for sub-Saharan Africa), tweeted on Tuesday that Rwanda must “immediately stop” supporting the M23. He also suggested that Rwanda contribute quickly to solving the “disastrous crisis.” In 2021, Germany provided more than $94million in official development aid to Rwanda.
In an email statement sent Wednesday night, Rwanda’s government stated that it was wrong to accuse the M23 of its support and said “attempting to handle complex situations simply by repeating and amplifying false allegations of the (Congolese government) government cannot lead us to solutions.”
Paul Kagame, a long-serving President of Rwanda, denied last week that Rwanda caused the troubles in the eastern Congo. He called the situation “Congo’s problem”
However, there are increasing concerns that the warnings could be backed up by cuts to aid for Rwanda. Rwanda has long received outside assistance in defense, health and other areas. Belgium, which was a colonizer in Rwanda before, asked Rwanda to cease supporting M23 rebels this month.
It is noteworthy that Rwanda has been under pressure for its support for the M23. Watchdogs for human rights and others accuse Rwanda of using international guilt about its failure to respond to its horrific 1994 genocide as a way to reduce criticisms of its actions, including its suppression of opposition domestically and internationally.
More than 800,000. The massacre left behind moderate Hutu and ethnic Tutsi who attempted to defend them. It remains highly sensitive. In recent weeks, Rwanda’s President and his Government expressed concern about the situation of the eastern Congoan ethnic Tutsi who have been affected by current violence.
The majority of the M23’s members are Congolese Tutsi. The M23 has been denied support by Rwanda’s Armed Forces.
Congo has in turn accused Rwanda of supporting another armed group, the FDLR in eastern Congo. This Hutu group is opposed to Tutsi influence. Congo denied the accusation. Both sides claim that the other broke a fragile ceasefire in Angola last month, despite their attempts to reach peace.
For decades, relations between Rwanda and Congo were fraught. Rwanda claims that Congo provided refuge for the Hutus responsible for the genocide. The late 1990s saw Rwanda send its troops deep into Congo twice, joining hands with Laurent Kabila, a Congolese rebel leader, to overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko, the long-serving dictator. The Rwandan troops in Congo are widely suspected of killing civilians and hunting down ethnic Hutu.
The 20 million euro donation from the European Union to Rwanda to help it fight extremists in the northern Mozambique is one example of the substantial aid Rwanda receives from its partners.
According to U.N. statistics, Rwanda has one of Africa’s strongest military forces and the third-largest troop contributors to U.N. peacekeeping operations.
While extending peacekeeping missions in eastern Congo on Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council demanded that the M23 rebels be immediately withdrawn.