From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 09:21:49 EST
<http://allafrica.com/eastafrica/> East Africa: Officials Complicit in Rape
of Congo - UN Experts
Kevin J. Kelley
7 December 2009
Nairobi - Officials in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi are conniving with arms
dealers and gold smugglers working for rebel forces in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, a panel of United Nations experts charges in an
The report also appears to imply that some of the gold is being flown out of
East Africa aboard a Kenya-based airline's flights.
When contacted, the airline confirmed that it had been in touch with the UN
The rebel groups, along with the DRC's own military, are responsible for the
deaths of millions of Congolese civilians over the past several years.
Rwanda and the UN's peacekeeping mission in the DRC have also been
implicated due to their links to figures accused of committing atrocities.
The report also names countries and corporations outside Africa in the
course of tracing a global network that helps finance the Hutu-dominated
rebel FDLR (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda) militia that
carries out much of the pillaging inside the DRC.
The marauding group's origins lie in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Many of the Hutu who killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate members
of their own ethnic group subsequently fled into the DRC and have since been
rampaging throughout eastern Congo.
The UN Security Council has not yet approved release of the report it
commissioned, in part because of reported opposition from Uganda, which
holds a temporary seat on the Council.
The Wall Street Journal wrote recently that a Ugandan diplomat had told the
Council the report is based on "assumptions."
The United Nations itself is not eager for the heavily documented report to
be published, the New York Times suggests.
"There is a lot in there that makes us look complicit," an unnamed UN
official told the Times.
Uganda is criticised for providing only "incomplete" information about its
The FDLR is meanwhile able to recruit combatants in the Nyakivale and Cyaka
Rwandan refugee camps in Uganda, the report adds.
However, Uganda People's Defence Forces spokesman Col Felix Kulayigye
described the charges in the report as unfounded.
"We have not been to Kivu and we don't intend to go there. All that talk
does not make any sense to us," he told The EastAfrican.
Tanzanian officials' motives for involvement with a Congolese arms dealer
named in the report may reflect "attempts to retain Tanzanian influence over
politico-economic interests in South Kivu, notably the smuggling of fuel
across Lake Tanganyika to the DRC from Tanzania as well as the smuggling of
mineral resources from South Kivu to Tanzania," the report suggests.
A joint Rwanda-DRC military offensive against rebels in North Kivu earlier
this year, known as Umoja Wetu, was apparently "crippled due to the
embezzlement of several million US dollars in operational funds by top
officers" of the Congolese and Rwandan military, the report adds.
The UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to give it
its official title, was established pursuant to resolution 1857 (2008).
It consists of Raymond Debelle (Belgium), Kokouma Diallo (Guinea), Christian
Dietrich (United States), Claudio Gramizzi (Italy) and Dinesh Mahtani
Additional reporting by Mark Kapchanga in Nairobi
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