Rwanda Says DR Congo Warplane Violated Airspace| MENAFN.COM

Wednesday, 01 February 2023 10:14 GMT

Rwanda Says DR Congo Warplane Violated Airspace


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Kigali: The Rwandan government said a fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of Congo violated its airspace on Tuesday as tensions soar between the neighbours over the DRC's volatile east.

Kinshasa accuses Kigali of backing the M23 rebel group, which has captured swaths of Congolese territory in recent months.

Kigali denies the allegations, which are backed by UN experts, the United States, France and Belgium. In turn it accuses Kinshasa of colluding with the FDLR -- a former Rwandan Hutu rebel group based in the DRC.

'A Sukhoi-25 fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of Congo violated for the third time Rwandan airspace,' over Rubavu district, near Goma, Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said in a statement.

'Defensive measures were taken,' she said, adding, 'Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression.'

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The two previous cases were reported in November and December and saw protests from Kigali.

AFP journalists in the eastern DRC city of Goma heard a loud explosion followed by two shots as the Congolese aircraft flew over Tuesday afternoon.

Video posted on social networks showed a flash close to the fighter, which landed at Goma airport.

The DRC authorities had made no comment.

The fighting between Congolese troops and the M23, which has made advances towards Goma, capital of North Kivu province, has prompted the East African Community (EAC) bloc to deploy a joint regional force to quell the violence.

Rwanda last week accused DRC of abandoning a deal aimed at restoring peace.

Talks between the DRC and Rwanda in the Angolan capital Luanda unlocked a truce agreement in November.

But last week the neighbours traded blame for continued fighting.

Scores of armed groups roam the mineral-rich eastern DRC, many a legacy of two regional wars at the end of the 20th century that claimed millions of lives.

The M23 first rose to prominence in 2012 and resumed fighting in late 2021 -- claiming Kinshasa had failed to honour a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.

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