Rwanda threatens Congo attack

RWANDA yesterday insisted it would soon attack rebels inside the Democratic Republic of Congo unless they were disarmed, as the UN Security Council warned any incursion could threaten regional stability.

President Paul Kagame said Congo and the international community had failed to tackle the rebels for 10 years.

“If the international community cannot take care of this problem, if the Congo cannot take full care of this problem ... we cannot simply be punching balls for these criminals,” Kagame told reporters in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

“We are really left with no option other than singling out specific targets,” said Kagame, who flew from Senegal to Burkina Faso on Thursday for a summit of French-speaking countries, also attended by Congo’s president Laurent Kabila.

The rebels include “Interahamwe” Hutu militia and former Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR) soldiers who took part in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

Rwanda has twice invaded Congo in the past decade to confront them.

“There are clear bases known to us of these ex-FAR, Interahamwe. At the appropriate moment we will certainly take measures about that,” Kagame said late on Wednesday, without giving a timeframe.

Rwanda’s last assault in 1998 was one of the triggers for a five-year war in Congo that sucked in five other neighbouring states and killed three million, mostly from hunger and disease.

Security Council ambassadors, who attended the summit, called on Rwanda to find a solution with Congolese officials.

“The members of the mission strongly urge the government of Rwanda to refrain from any action that violates international law, undermines the region’s fragile stability, or jeopardises the transition process supported by the international community,” they said in a statement.

South Africa said the mandate of UN peacekeepers in Congo should be changed to allow them to disarm the rebels by force.

“This has been our own position, that you’ll never get voluntary disarmament.

“And unless you deal with the Interahamwe and ex-FAR and close those camps on the border of Rwanda, this will always be an unstable situation,” deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad said.

Rwanda said it was still willing to let Congolese or other forces disarm the rebels but only if they acted quickly.

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