REFUGEES: DRCongo army fights Rwanda army in Eastern Congo, clash over M23
Fighting between Rwanda, Congo troops in DRC – The East African
Heavy fighting broke out between the Rwandan and Congolese military in troubled eastern DR Congo after an incursion by Rwandan troops, according to a Congolese army spokesman.
Investigations are underway to see if the clashes occurred because of a problem with border demarcation.
The fighting occurred on Tuesday “on Congolese soil” close to the Rwandan border at the foot of Mount Nikeno in North Kivu province, Major Guillaume Djike told AFP.
A senior officer in the DRC army, on condition of anonymity, told AFP: “There have been deaths on both sides.”
Congolese army patrols exchanged fire with Rwandan army positions some 100 metres inside DR Congo before the two countries’ capitals contacted each other and intervened, according to a military source.
The Congolese army initially thought it was fighting ex-M23 militia members, before realising it was the Rwandan army, said Djike.
The two neighbours have had a fractious relationship since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Some of those accused of involvement in the killings of an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda set up militias in eastern DR Congo.
Rwanda has been accused of backing M23, a mainly ethnic Tutsi rebel group that emerged in this period.
The militia rebelled against the DR Congo in 2012, saying a peace accord signed in 2009 had not been respected by the government.
The militia was defeated in 2013, and hundreds of fighters fled the country.
An inquiry, led from Goma, the capital of the turbulent province of North Kivu, is expected to investigate whether Tuesday’s violence was caused by confusion over the border line.
DR Congo’s huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, increased significantly in 2017.
- Rwanda, DR Congo to seal fate of ex-M23 fighters
- Congolese M23 rebels flee to Rwanda
- Kigali wants DRC to take responsibility and stop the false accusations
Congo, Rwanda army clash over M23 chief Makenga – Radio Okapi
The CIRGL Joint Verification Mechanism (JMV) announced on Wednesday, 14 February, a clash between the Congolese and Rwandan army in Isoke, near Sabinyo Hill, in the Virunga National Park of Rutshuru.
The Congolese army who seized the JMV demands the withdrawal without the condition of the Rwandan Army of the Congo ground.
FARDC security services have been warned of probable incursion of M23’s ex-combatants of the Congo-based Congo for more than one week.
It was in this context that the FARDC would have strengthened their patrols at the border between DRC and Uganda on the one hand, and between DRC and Rwanda on the other hand.
According to the same sources, a FARDC patrol in the Isoke region, on the same day, has fallen into a camp held by armed men and in military custody which they later identified as of soldiers of the Rwandan army.
In the following clashes, two elements lost their lives on the side of the FARDC, and several “other” on the side, according to sources contacted by Radio Okapi.
The Joint Verification Mechanism, the FARDC seized the CIRGL Joint Verification Mechanism, requiring the withdrawal of the Rwandan Army from the Congolese territory unconditionally while the sources of faith in the FARDC confirmed the arrival of reinforcement of the Rwandan army in the area of the incident.
Rwanda said, for its part, to be surprised in his territory by the Congolese army on Tuesday which sparked the standoff.
The CIRGL joint check-in mechanism, which is expected to go to the region in the following hours, will have to establish which of two armies has violated border boundaries.
Congo army says Sultani Makenga, the commander of M23 rebels, is hiding around the foothills of Mt Sabinyo under the protection of Rwanda Defence Forces [RDF].