Rwanda rejects 'false' DR Congo claims of border incursion

AFP , Friday 28 Jul 2023

Rwanda's defence ministry on Friday dismissed as "baseless" claims by the Democratic Republic of Congo that forces from Kigali had staged an incursion across the border.

M23
File photo showing M23 paramilitaries celebrate in the streets after taking Goma. AFP

 

Tensions between the neighbours have escalated since a resurgence by the M23 militia in late 2021 in eastern DRC, with Kinshasa accusing Rwanda of backing the rebels and Kigali denying the claims.

DR Congo's military on Thursday accused Rwandan forces of entering its troubled North Kivu province, saying it intended to "respond vigorously blow by blow and exercise the right to pursue".

On Friday, Rwanda's defence ministry said the allegations were "false".

"The accusations are baseless and part of a long-standing pattern of misinformation and propaganda by the DRC leadership to divert attention from their internal failures in maintaining peace and security within their own borders," the ministry said.

The claims reflected a "trend of false accusations and escalation, which may serve as a pretext for a planned attack... on Rwandan territory."

Two military sources in Goma had earlier told AFP on condition of anonymity that a Rwandan soldier had died as a result of the skirmish.

The Tutsi-led M23 have captured swathes of territory in North Kivu and in May DR Congo accused Rwanda of planning an attack on the regional capital Goma.

More than one million people have been displaced by fighting since M23 resumed fighting.

The rebels have also come close to cutting off Goma, a commercial hub of one million people sandwiched between the Rwandan border and Lake Kivu.

Armed groups have plagued much of eastern DR Congo for three decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.

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