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EA officials complicit in rape of Congo – UN experts

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A prisoner with bound wrists pleads while being beaten by government soldiers just outside Goma in eastern Congo. Photo/REUTERS

A prisoner with bound wrists pleads while being beaten by government soldiers just outside Goma in eastern Congo. Photo/REUTERS 

By KEVIN J. KELLEY

Posted  Monday, December 7   2009 at  00:00

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 unreleased report.

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 experts.

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.

Rwanda genocide

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 gold exports.

The FDLR is meanwhile able to recruit combatants in the Nyakivale and Cyaka Rwandan refugee camps in Uganda, the report adds.

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