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DRC: France condemns Rwanda's "ongoing military support" of M23 Rebels

DRC: France condemns Rwanda's "ongoing military support" of M23 Rebels
The M23 rebels prepare to leave after a ceremony marking the withdrawal from their positions in the town of Kibumba, in the east of the DRC, on 23 December 2022.   -  
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Moses Sawasawa/Copyright 2021 The AP


On Tuesday, France called for an end to Rwanda's "ongoing military support" for the M23 rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and condemned the atrocities perpetrated by the many groups terrorizing the region.

"France is concerned by reports confirming the continued presence of the M23 in territories in the east of the DRC, Rwanda's ongoing military support for this armed group and the presence of Rwandan soldiers on Congolese territory. This support, which we condemn, must cease", according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A mainly Tutsi rebellion, the M23, accused by the UN of numerous crimes in the east of the DRC, took up arms again at the end of 2021 after ten years of dormancy and has seized vast swathes of territory in the Congolese province of North Kivu, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.

"The commitments made by the various regional players must now be put into practice in order to speed up the withdrawal of the M23 from the occupied territories, to confine this group and to encourage all armed groups to commit to the national demobilization and disarmament process", continues the Quai d'Orsay, which raises the possibility of "sanctions against those who obstruct peace".

During his trip to the DRC in March, French President Emmanuel Macron issued a warning to Kigali, without however clearly condemning Rwanda.

In its statement, the Quai d'Orsay also condemned "the many abuses committed by the armed groups cited in the latest report by the UN group of experts". In addition to the M23, other groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Mai Mai and the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) are terrorizing the region.

These violations "cannot go unpunished", emphasizes the Quai d'Orsay, calling for an end to "the support given by the Congolese armed forces to certain armed groups such as the FDLR".

In a report published on Monday, UN experts sounded the alarm over the "galloping violence" and "growing humanitarian needs" in the east of the DRC. They also established that the ADF rebels were receiving financial support from the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

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