Page last updated at 22:45 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Rwandan aide 'backs Congo rebels'

By Thomas Fessy
BBC News, Kinshasa

Congolese soldiers near a rebel region on 7 December 2008
The fighting has displaced some 250,000 people since August

An advisor to Rwandan President Paul Kagame plays a role in financing Congolese Tutsi rebels led by Laurent Nkunda, a UN report says.

Tribert Rujugiro is also the founder of the Rwandan Investment Group, a private conglomerate backed by the government.

The report says he used to hold regular meetings with rebel leaders, including Gen Nkunda, at his farm in North Kivu.

In an email in the report, a top rebel commander explains to Mr Rujugiro that he is prepared to move into the "city".

He has all the "material" and "people" ready, he adds in the e-mail.

The email was sent two months before fighting resumed in North Kivu and according to a former rebel officer who saw it, it clearly referred to military operations.

On 29 October, Gen Nkunda's men broke through the Congolese defences and advanced towards the provincial capital, Goma.

The report says the Rwandan army provided support to the rebels during their offensive.

Tribert Rujugiro is currently in custody in London where he was arrested in October on a South African warrant for tax evasion. He is facing extradition proceedings.

According to the report, another financier of the rebel group is Raphael Soriano, a wealthy Congolese opposition politician now of Belgian nationality.

The UN group of experts has been able to establish that $25,000 (£16,700) was transferred from his wife's bank account held in Rwanda to the wife of Gen Nkunda.

Update 8 March 2013: The tax issues referred to in this report were subsequently settled and no charges ensued.

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