Who’d Have Thought It?

December 11, 2008

Certainly not Tony Blair, Paul Kagame’s new best friend and adviser, who has said Rwanda does not control Laurent Nkunda and his rebel army. Nor Foreign Office minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who told me exactly the same thing in Goma last month

Lord Malloch-Brown said the region’s rich tin ore and coltan seams were a key factor in the conflict. "Not just Rwanda but all the neighbours have to make sure they are not supporting this criminal political economy by being the exit route for minerals," he said. "President Kagame has a role to play but it is a mistake to put it all on his shoulders."

Despite the accumulating evidence that Rwanda was supporting Nkunda, and Rwandan troops were fighting on his side, it seems that no-one wants to accuse a president who survived a genocide of bad things. Until the BBC got hold of a draft UN report…

Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have both been directly helping rebels fighting in eastern DR Congo, according to a draft report for the UN. Rwanda is accused of supplying aid and child soldiers to Tutsi rebels. Rwanda has denied such accusations previously.

Nkunda’s commanders have been calling up officials in the Rwandan presidency, collecting cash from their Rwandan bank accounts and using child soldiers recruited by Rwandan officers, according to the report.