DR Congo Accuses Rwanda Of Deploying 500 Soldiers To Support M23 Rebels

DR Congo and Rwanda have been accusing each other of the armed violence going on in Eastern DR Congo, with the former accusing latter of supporting rebels.

The national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, FARDC, has accused the Rwanda Government of deploying 500 of its soldiers in the Eastern DR Congo to support the M23 rebels.

But the Rwanda Government has rejected the accusation which it said was, “without foundation”.

The latest accusation by DR Congo against Rwanda comes just after the former alleged that the latter was supporting the former Tutsi rebellion which re-emerged by the end of last year in North Kivu province. Rwanda has continuously rejected the accusations.

The DR Congo army, in May last year said it arrested two Rwandan soldiers in its territory but Rwanda claimed the soldiers were abducted at their common border by Hutu rebels living in DR Congo.

“Since the arrest of soldiers of the Rwandan special forces in Rutshuru territory of North Kivu, Rwanda has changed the uniforms of its soldiers to disguise its presence in Congolese territory alongside M23 terrorists,” said Gen. Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson of the North Kivu military governor on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

“Rwanda has deployed 500 soldiers of its special forces within the Chanzu area, all of whom are dressed in new green-black uniforms with helmets of its special forces.” Gen. Ekenge called on the population to denounce the presence of the Rwandans in their midst.

The Rwanda Government said it has no interest in any crisis and would not respond to unfounded allegations.

“Through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our permanent representative to the United Nations, Rwanda has clearly stated its position that we have no interest in any crisis and we will not reply to accusations which have no foundation,” said Yolande Makolo, the Rwandan government spokesperson. 

Ronald Rwivanga, a Colonel and the spokesperson of the Rwandan army, said the military authorities would not respond to such accusations. “We do not comment on rumours,” he said. 

Clashes opposing the FARDC against the M23 took place at the beginning of this week in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu. 

The United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) which was “involved in fighting beside the FARDC” indicated on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, that one of its positions was attacked in Shangi on Tuesday.

“Three UN Blue Helmets were wounded and evacuated to Goma, the chief town of the province,” said MONUSCO which condemned the attack.

Eight UN Blue Helmets had died on March 29, 2022, in a helicopter crash during a reconnaissance mission in a zone where clashes between the FARDC and M23 were going on.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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