Rwanda has issued another warning over tensions with the Democratic Republic of Congo, following more than a year of military clashes and diplomatic negotiations.
The warning followed the shooting of a Rwandan citizen who was injured by a stray bullet that crossed the border in Rubavu on Monday, in the country’s Western Province. The government’s statement said the bullet was “originating from clashes among the coalition of Kinshasa-backed illegal armed groups” operating in the eastern DR Congo.
Rwanda said the incident is another example of violations of peace negotiations coordinated by Angola and Kenya, along with other African partners. Kigali says DR Congo is escalating “provocative actions along the Rwandan border” while the Congolese support foreign mercenaries and other armed groups, including FARDC (Congolese military) cooperation with the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FLDR).
“Rwanda will maintain defensive and preventive mechanisms to guard against violations of our airspace and borders,” the statement said. It also acknowledged that Rwanda would take action against any spillover from the fighting in eastern Congo.
President Felix Tshisekedi, who faces a re-election challenge in December, and the DR Congo government have consistently denied involvement in any actions against Rwanda while seeking to control armed group activity in their long-volatile eastern regions.
Kinshasa blames Rwanda for tensions at the border and raised new accusations on Tuesday of Rwanda’s support for M23 rebel activity in North Kivu province. Congolese spokesman Patrick Muyaya posted drone images, including the above shot, that he said confirmed an incursion of Rwandan troops.
Image: Government of DR Congo