Blinken says support for armed groups in DRC must cease
August 11, 2022 10:13 PM
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Thursday on governments to stop backing armed groups in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo.
He made his comments during a trip to Rwanda, which is accused of supporting the M23, a militia group behind a recent resurgence of deadly violence in the east of the DRC.
Kigali has repeatedly denied the allegations.
"Our position is clear: support for any armed group needs to cease. It is not a question of one group against another," Blinken said at a press conference after meeting Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
"The basic principle is that there should not be support coming from governments and armed forces to armed groups like M23 and FDLR," he said, referring to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The M23 or "March 23 Movement" is a primarily Congolese Tutsi group that resumed fighting in the eastern DRC last year.
The FDLR, meanwhile, is a Rwandan Hutu rebel group based in the DRC, which the Rwandan government views as a threat and has regularly accused Kinshasa of supporting.
An unpublished independent investigation for the UN, seen by AFP last week, said Rwandan troops had attacked soldiers inside the DRC and aided M23 rebels, which has captured swathes of territory in eastern DRC in recent months.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta declined to respond directly to Blinken's comments that the reports about Rwandan involvement in the Congo were "credible".
"If you want a lasting solution to the problems in eastern DRC, you just need to deal with the root problem, which is the presence of FDLR in eastern DRC and their collaboration with the Congolese army," Biruta said.