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Rwanda aid suspended

July 28, 2012

Planned German aid to Rwanda has been suspended in response to a UN report accusing the central African country of supporting rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

A Congolese refugee sits with others at the Nkamira transit centre for refugees in western Rwanda
Image: dapd

Germany on Saturday joined the UK, the US and the Netherlands in deciding to withhold planned aid to Rwanda, which the UN has accused of supporting militant rebels in DR Congo.

"The allegations have to be fully investigated, and it has to be clear that Rwanda does not support illegal militia in eastern Congo," Development Minister Dirk Niebel said in Berlin on Saturday.

"The suspension of aid is an unmistakable signal to the Rwandan government. I expect Rwanda to cooperate fully with the UN expert panel," he added.

Niebel's ministry said it would suspend 21 million euros ($26 million) in aid from this year through 2015. A UN report last month accused Rwanda of helping to create, arm and support the M23 rebel movement led by Bosco Ntaganda, and thereby violating UN sanctions. Rwanda denies the charges.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo called the decisions by international donors "hasty" and "based on flimsy evidence."

"Rwanda cannot afford this kind of distraction," she told daily Kigali Times.

Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for using child soldiers and condoning mass rape. More than 100,000 people are on the run because of the rebels' actions.

The Netherlands said it will freeze more than 5 million euros in aid, while the US last week cut 200,000 dollars in military aid. Britain said it would withhold a total of 16 million pounds (20 million euros, $25 million).

ng/mkg (AP, dpa)