- Associated Press - Sunday, February 15, 2015

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) - Congo’s president on Sunday condemned a decision by the United Nations to withdraw its support from a joint military offensive against a rebel group because the military decided it should be directed by two generals who have links to human rights violations.

President Joseph Kabila denounced the move by the U.N. during a meeting with Western ambassadors in the capital of Kinshasa, noting that his country was “not under the supervision of the U.N.,” said government spokesman Lambert Mende.

The U.N. announced its decision in letters that were sent over the weekend.

In his meeting with ambassadors, Kabila said his army “will fight the rebels alone as it has been for 15 years,” Mende told The Associated Press.

The Congolese military and the U.N. peacekeeping mission successfully fought another rebel group known as the M23. However, the effort to fight the Rwandan Hutu rebels known as the FDLR has been complicated by the issue of the Congolese generals chosen by Kabila’s government to lead the mission.

The United Nations had repeatedly warned Congo in recent days that Gen. Bruno Mundevu and Gen. Fall Sikabwe are known to have been heavily involved in “massive human rights violations” and should be replaced before the U.N. could support the offensive.

Congo has said it chose the people most familiar with the FDLR, which was formed by extremist Hutus who took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and later fled to Congo where they have sowed unrest ever since.

The FDLR rebels are experienced guerrilla fighters and can easily blend into the population. Civilians fear they will be caught in crossfire.

The U.N., whose 19,500 troops in Congo make up the world body’s largest peacekeeping force, has said it continues to support other Congolese military operations.

Associated Press writer Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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