The M23 rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo have described as "biased" claims in a UN report castigating their movement’s human rights record which led to international sanctions.
According to sources in eastern Congo on Friday Jean-Marie Runiga leader of the M23 political wing was reacting to the UN report which was released on Wednesday, claiming that the international community led by the UN nurse a "visceral hatred” for the movement and what it stood for.
Runiga slammed the report as lacking in professionalism given what he called its “incompatible and incoherent elements".
He said it was a shame that the UN team responsible for compiling the report had based their findings on "not only unfounded, but also unverified accounts" and challenged the experts to conduct an objective inquiry “which would reflect all sides of the story”.
The UN report and Human Rights Watch have accused the M23 rebels of rape, forced recruitment, torture, killings and other unspecified war crimes as it prosecuted a war against the government in Kinshasa and swept through Goma the capital of North Kivu province.
The UN experts also blamed Rwanda and Uganda for supporting the movement, allegations which Kigali and Kampala have repeatedly denied.
Following the report the UN Security Council had applied punitive sanctions against some leaders of the movement, freezing their assets and imposing a travel ban on them.
Those affected include Runiga and General Sultani Makenga who heads the movement’s military wing.
Source African Press Agency
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