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Kinshasa - The United Nations on Wednesday confirmed 11 Rwandans had been recruited to join army mutineers in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, but said there was no evidence the Rwandan government played any role.
The announcement comes two days after the BBC published details of a leaked UN report saying the men, one of whom is a minor, were recruited and trained in Rwanda before being sent to the DR Congo to fight.
Penangnini Toure, a spokesman for the UN's mission to DR Congo, said the fighters had recently abandoned the mutineers and turned themselves over to UN authorities.
“They were recruited in Rwanda thinking they were going to join Rwanda's national army, but to their astonishment they found themselves on the other side of the border,” Toure said.
The Rwandan government had reacted angrily when the story emerged, with Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo telling the BBC that the UN report was “categorical lies”.
The mutineers are former rebel fighters who were absorbed into the DR Congo's regular army under 2009 peace accords but deserted after complaining of poor treatment.
They have been embroiled in cat-and-mouse clashes with loyalist troops for weeks in the jungles of the mountainous border region. - Sapa-AFP