A confidential report to the United Nations Security Council accuses Rwanda of recruiting and training Burundian refugees with the goal of ousting Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The report by experts who monitor sanctions on Democratic Republic of Congo, contained testimony that Rwanda is meddling in Burundi affairs and comes amid fears that worsening political violence could escalate into mass atrocities.
The report cites accounts from several rebel fighters, who told the sanctions monitors the training was done in a forest camp in Rwanda.
Nkurunziza’s re-election for a third term last year sparked the country’s crisis and raised concerns that there could be a bloody ethnic conflict in a region where memories of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide are still fresh.
The experts said in the report that they had spoken with 18 Burundian combatants in eastern Congo’s South Kivu province.
“They all told the group that they had been recruited in the Mahama Refugee Camp in eastern Rwanda in May and June 2015 and were given two months of military training by instructors, who included Rwandan military personnel,” according to the report.
The Burundian combatants, which included six children, told the U.N. experts they were trained in military tactics, use of assault rifles and machine guns, grenades, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
They said there were at least four companies of 100 recruits each being trained in a forest camp while they were there.