Congo has asked the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Rwanda’s top military officials for backing the M23 rebel movement in the country’s restive east.
Congo’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanda said on Friday he has discussed with the Security Council members and its sanctions committee a UN July report on his country’s security, Reuters reported.
The report accused Rwanda’s Defense Minister James Kaberebe; chief of defense staff Charles Kayonga; and General Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to President Paul Kagame, of being in cahoots with M23.
“We believe that all the consequences must be drawn from the conclusions in the report of the group of experts and that sanctions should eventually be envisaged,” Tshibanda told a news conference at the UN.
“We also believe, and this is what we have requested, is that these sanctions also relate to foreign personalities in addition to personalities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that are involved in this situation,” he noted.
Tshibanda also reiterated earlier calls by Congo’s President Joseph Kabila for a new mandate for UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, in his country to help stamp out the M23 rebels.
“It is important that the mandate of MONUSCO be amended and be strengthened,” he told reporters. “Right now it does not have the mandate of monitoring and protecting the border, it does not have the mandate of neutralizing, eradicating the negative forces.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement issued on Wednesday that preliminary findings indicate that a large number of people had been massacred in Masisi region in the North Kivu province since early August.
The M23 movement defected from the Congolese army in April in protest at alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
The mutiny is being led by General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on a charge of recruiting child soldiers.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.