DR Congo, Rwanda : Persistent Tension

The latest attacks have led to increased tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali with the two countries trading blame over the poor security situation in the region.

For more than two decades now, there has been tension between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda with the most recent act being the shooting of one of DR Congo fighter jets. While the Rwandan government said the move was a “defensive measure” against a plane that had violated its airspace, DR authorities claimed the shooting of the plane that landed safely was deliberate. Images shared on social media showed a Sukhoi-25 aircraft being shot at while flying at low altitude between the towns of Goma in DR Congo and Gisenyi in Rwanda, which straddle their common border.
Other images show water being used to put out a fire on the plane’s right wing after it landed at Goma airport. DR Congo’s government in a statement issued after the incident, accused Rwanda of “sabotaging” the implementation of a recent peace process agreed upon by the opposing sides in recent talks. The Information Ministry added that DR Congo “reserves the right to defend its national territory and will not be threatened”. However, Rwanda said this was the third incident involving a Congolese fighter jet in its airspace and asked its neighbour “to stop this aggression”. Last November, another Congolese Sukhoi-25 jet briefly landed at Gisenyi airport in Rwanda. Kinshasa said the fighter jet had “mistakenly landed” there.
The suspicions and tensions date back nearly three decades and are a spill-over of the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which more than 800,000 people were killed, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Some of those responsible fled into what is now DR Congo, as a largely Tutsi rebel group led by Paul Kagame, now Rwanda’s President. These tensions has remained unresolved to date with sporadic escalations over the years. In recent weeks, they have intensified significantly prompting the US and UN experts accusing and calling on Rwanda to stop backing the M23 rebel g...



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