Stop arms sales to Rwanda:The South African Democratic Alliance

The South African Democratic Alliance urged the government on Thursday to stop arms sales to Rwanda after it was linked to a mutiny in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We believe (Justice Minister) Jeff Radebe, the chairman of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, must stop all conventional arms sales to Rwanda,” Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier said.

A United Nations group of experts report released in June accused Rwanda of providing weapons and recruiting fighters for M23, a group of former soldiers who defected from the Congolese army in April.

The Rwandan government has denied the claims.

Maynier said the report should be of concern to South Africa, because it had sold conventional arms worth more than R103 million to Rwanda in the past 10 years.

It did not claim that South African arms had found their way to the rebels, but Maynier said an embargo was still a necessary precaution.

“We cannot be sure that conventional weapons exported from South Africa have not found their way to M23, or were being used by the Rwandan Defence Force to support M23.”

Last month, the UN froze its military aid to Rwanda, citing concerns about Kigali’s links with M23. The mutiny has displaced hundreds of thousands of DRC civilians.