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Paul Kagame: Rwanda is not responsible for M23

Africa
 When the Kenya Defence Forces troops were deployed in DR Congo under the East Africa Regional Force to restore order. [Patrick Vidfija, Standard]

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said M23 is a product of mishandling and his government is not responsible for it.

Kagame said his administration should not be blamed for the current situation including the refugees who have been in his country for over 20 years.

"The M23 problem started in 2012 and agreements to solve it have been broken until the recent fighting," he said.

Kagame spoke earlier today during a press conference in Urugwiro Village residential place where said the M23 is just one among 120 armed groups that are operating in the part of Eastern Congo

"I myself have not even accused Rwanda of having formed M23 but those accusing us are accusing us for associating with it," he said.

According to him, there is a need to look at the root causes of what both sides are dealing with including the refusal to implement past agreements.

Kagame said Rwanda has not involved itself in the recent fighting.

"Let us look even at those old agreements and see, which ones were reached and those that were not with the hope of resolving this matter," said Kagame.

He denied accusations that Rwanda is getting involved to increase its territory while benefiting from the minerals, calling such allegations, as diversionary from the real problems.

"Rwanda has coltan, which is of high quality than you will find anywhere else on the continent. Ours is between 40 to 60 per cent content unlike Congo which has between 20 to 30 per cent," said Kagame.

He questioned why has MONUSCO failed to solve the problem yet they have been there for longer?

The mismanagement and denial of rights of people, he said cannot be wished away but should be given to them.

"The moment you think of denying people their rights, thinking they have nothing to lose, they will fight you, " said Kagame.

Kagame added those accusing Rwanda of being involved in the current situation are "just looking for reasons to run away from the real problem."

In 2019 November, he said a group of FDLR with arms given by Congo government crossed the border to Rwanda and killed its people, forcing its army to intervene and kill them.

He said Rwanda does not stand to benefit from the ongoing conflict in Congo but wants peace even more, because it's still healing from the genocide against Tutsis in 1994.

He blamed Congo for being hesitant to resolve the matter, saying they have not been welcoming people from outside to solve the matter, but instead welcomed MONUSCO, which has not helped the situation either.

He also blamed media for being used to make the situation worse and challenged it to report facts.

Last week Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels.

While addressing the UN General Assembly, Tshisekedi claimed his efforts to reunite the country and pursue peaceful settlements had been dragged by continual external interference, accusing Rwanda, in particular, of fomenting rebel movements.

"Despite my goodwill for the search of peace, some neighbours have found no better way to thank us than to aggress and support armed groups that are ravaging eastern Congo," he said.

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