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At UN, Rwanda Questions 75mm Rockets, Fake IDs & Hege's Articles

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 28 -- The Rwanda delegation of four was the first to arrive, ten minutes early, for Tuesday afternoon's Democratic Republic of the Congo Sanctions Committee meeting at the UN.

  Azerbaijan's Deputy Permanent Representative told Inner City Press he would be the "acting chair" of the closed door meeting.

  Outside, the Permanent Representative of another African country moaned to Inner City Press that it was a "shame that Rwanda and DRC come so far to fight in front of Azerbaijan."

   After more than an hour, the Rwandan delegation came out. Inner City Press asked if a range of issues had come up, from the 75 mm cannons used by the M23 that the Group of Experts say must have come from Rwanda, to GoE coordinator Steve Hege to alleged Rwandan officer Javier Saddat.

  Each of these issues, and more, came up in the closed door meeting, Inner City Press exclusively learned. Of the 75 mm cannon, or recoilless rockets, Rwanda noted that this equipment was in the possession of the Congolese FARDC, and subsequently integrated CNDP, in 2008 and 2009.

  Of Javier Saddat, Rwanda said he was with the CNDP and then with the Congolese army since 2009. But it was a Congolese soldier which complained to them that Javier Saddat is being "treated like a foreigner and tortured."

  Particular criticism was reserved for coordinator Steve Hege. Inner City Press previously first pointed to two articles he published in 2009 about the FDLR -- one was taken down quickly off Scribd after Inner City Press linked to it. We continue to await an explanation of this. The UN told Inner City Press it vetted Hege.

  Of Hege, Rwanda on Tuesday said that "a line that has been crossed by the coordinator of the Group of Experts. We expect any member to have views, baggage, but here a line has been crossed. You [pointed to] two of his articles.... in one of them he said the international community is souring on Rwanda. We say he's been given the tools to do precisely that."

  There are other questions for Hege, ranging for alleged radio intercepts to claiming the presence of one Jack (or "Jacques") Nziza on the Congolese border when Rwanda says there are more than 100 alibi witnesses, including diplomats.

  We'll have more on this.  Inner City Press believes there is a need for more accountability at the UN, including of sanctions "experts." Watch this site.

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