Kinshasa on Wednesday accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of “instrumentalizing for political purposes” Congolese refugees in Rwanda, “the height of indecency” according to the DRC government.
On Monday before the Rwandan Senate, Paul Kagame declared that his country could “not continue to receive refugees” from the DRC. “I refuse to allow Rwanda to bear this burden,” he added, in the latest episode of high tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa.
“This is proof that human rights have no value for the Rwandan president,” Patrick Muyaya, spokesman for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, told reporters, accusing Paul Kagame of “blackmailing the international community on human lives, flouting all the legal texts on the subject.
“It is inhuman”, he insisted, adding: “The Congolese refugees are being exploited because there is a political calculation behind it, it is the height of indecency”.
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According to him, these statements of Paul Kagame aim to divert “international attention from the responsibility of Rwanda, through the (rebel movement of) M23, in the aggression of the DRC, in the massacre of Kishishe”, said Patrick Muyaya.
At the end of November, more than 130 civilians, according to the UN, were killed in this village in the east of the DRC by M23 rebels, a movement that has conquered vast swathes of territory north of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, in recent months.
Rwanda is accused of supporting this rebellion, which it continues to deny.
“There is something that no longer functions normally around President Kagame,” said Patrick Muyaya, “because since the whole world has seen what he does (…) not a day goes by without him saying something that is quite dangerous.
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“We are ready to welcome our brothers”, because “we are hospitable”, said the spokesman, recalling that Rwandans had flocked to the DRC after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
“If we opened our borders at that time, it was because there was a request from the international community, for humanitarian needs,” he said, “and since then, our misfortunes have begun.
Among these Rwandans were perpetrators of the genocide, some of whom created a rebel movement that is still active today in the eastern DRC, which has been plagued by dozens of armed groups for nearly 30 years.