‘You Finally Exposed Your True Intentions’ -DR Congo Accuses Kagame Of Blackmail Over Refugees

DR Congo Accuses Kagame Of Blackmail Over Refugees

The Democratic Republic of Congo has condemned Rwanda for saying it will no longer take in people fleeing conflict in the eastern part of DR Congo.

A spokesman for the Congolese government said the remarks by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame proved that human rights were of no value to him.

He accused Kigali of blackmailing the international community by using refugees for political purposes.

Patrick Muyaya said even though President Kagame had attempted to walk back on his remarks on the subject, he had “revealed his true intentions”.

More than 70,000 Congolese have crossed to Rwanda, fleeing a conflict between the government and the M23 rebels, which the international community says is supported by Rwanda. Kigali denies the claim.

Eastern Congo is scarred by dozens of conflicts, mostly over mineral resources.

Earlier this week, Kagame threatened to evict thousands of Congolese refugees living in Rwanda if the international community continues to blame his country for the conflict in the eastern DRC.

Speaking Monday from the capital Kigali after a swearing-in ceremony for Rwanda’s new Senate president, Francois Xavier Kalinda, Kagame said, “We cannot keep being host to refugees for which we are later on held accountable in some way or even abused about refugees as a result of ethnic cleansing based in another country and we must be a dumping ground of those people who are being deprived of their rights.”

Kagame switched from the national Kinyarwanda language to English to deliver his message, as he often does when he wants to talk about the international community.

“We are really prepared to be blamed, but we will be blamed for doing what we must do,” Kagame said in an address punctuated by clapping and applause from members of the Rwandan Parliament.

The Congolese government and a recent U.N. report blame Rwanda for supporting the M23 mostly Tutsi rebel movement fighting in the east of the country against the Congo government. Rwanda has consistently denied the accusations, saying it is Congo’s internal issue.

The M23 rebel movement, which claims to fight against the persecution of Congolese of Tutsi origin, seems to have fueled even more hatred against them from other ethnic groups in several parts of Congo. For weeks, thousands have been fleeing into Rwanda and Uganda, including hundreds who crossed into Rwanda last week.

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