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Democratic Republic of Congo: Armed Conflict

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the report by the UN panel of experts (S/2008/773), with particular reference to its allegation that the Rwandan Government have provided support to the rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (246297)

Accusations that the Governments of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are complicit in supporting rebels are serious, and should be considered carefully in light of the evidence presented. The UK broadly supports the recommendations of the UN Group of Experts in their most recent report.

However, whether these recommendations are followed, and whether sanctions will be applied against anyone as a result of the report, are questions for the DRC Sanctions Committee as a whole. Member states will need to consider collectively what the next steps will be.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the strength of the Lord's Resistance Army following the recent incidents of killing and abduction in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (250854)

[holding answer 26 January 2009]: It is increasingly difficult to obtain accurate figures regarding the strength of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Government of Uganda estimate that there are currently 400-450 LRA combatants split into small groups across the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo towards the borders with Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic, as well as around 400 non-combatant women and children (grouped separately).

We have repeatedly condemned the actions of the LRA and the heinous crimes they have committed.