The UN Security Council said on Thursday that M23 rebels must be stopped from regrouping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and expressed concern at Congolese soldiers aiding Rwandan Hutu militia, sparking a verbal clash between the two countries’ envoys.
Rwandan Ambassador to the UN Eugene Gasana accused the DR Congo of “crying like small babies,” while his Congolese counterpart, Ignace Gata Mavita wa Lufuta, said Rwanda’s “arrogant behavior must stop.”
Rwanda has repeatedly intervened in the DR Congo, saying it had to hunt down Hutu militia, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which fled after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
The council expressed its concerns about the violence in eastern Congo in a unanimously adopted resolution that renewed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on the DR Congo.
UN envoy to the DR Congo Martin Kobler has said there were credible reports that the M23 rebels appeared to be regrouping just two months after Congolese troops and UN peacekeepers defeated the Tutsi-led insurgency.
UN experts, who monitor violations of UN sanctions on Congo and the DR Congo have long accused Rwanda of backing M23, which ended its 20-month rebellion in November, a claim that Kigali has fiercely rejected.
Rwanda and the UN experts have accused Congolese troops of collaborating with the FDLR, which includes Hutus who fled Rwanda after the genocide of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus. Kinshasa denies the claim.
“These guys [DR Congo], just every other day, coming and crying like small babies,” Gasana told reporters after the council meeting. “Rwanda, it’s a small country. Congo is rich. Congo has everything. How come Rwanda is always the scapegoat?”
Gata Mavita wa Lufuta told the Security Council: “We are a sovereign country and we must be respected as such and this arrogant behavior [by Rwanda] must stop.”