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U.S. Tells Rwanda to Halt Support for Rebels in Eastern Congo

Rwanda must stop its support for a rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that has displaced more than 200,000 people, the U.S. State Department said in an e-mailed statement.

An addendum to a report by the United Nations Group of Experts on Congo accused top Rwandan officials including its Minister of Defense of coordinating military operations with several Congolese rebel groups. Rwanda has denied the allegations.

“We are deeply concerned about the report’s findings that Rwanda is implicated in the provision of support to Congolese rebel groups,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in the statement. The U.S. has “asked Rwanda to halt and prevent the provision of such support from its territory.”

The current rebellion in Congo’s mineral-rich east began in March when General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, deserted the army amid rumors that he would be arrested. Congo’s government accused the U.S. of blocking the release of the UN’s evidence of Rwanda’s support for Ntaganda in a June 20 statement. The U.S. denied the claim.

Congo and neighboring Rwanda fought a series of wars directly or via rebel proxies beginning in the late 1990s until a 2009 peace agreement.

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