Rwanda stated that the military of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as Congo, shelled its territory, injuring numerous civilians. Rwanda has demanded that the incident be investigated “immediately.”
The Rwandan army said rocket shells fell in the northern Musanze area, which borders Congo, “injuring several civilians and causing property damage.” The bombardment took place on the morning of May 23 and lasted 21 minutes, according to the report, which did not provide any other information. The claimed incident has the potential to exacerbate tensions between the two countries, who have long swapped accusations of supporting extremist groups.
Rwanda’s Defence Ministry said in a statement that it has requested an investigation from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism, a regional team of military experts that monitors and analyses security situations.
“Those who were hurt are being treated, and officials are analysing the damage. The Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) have requested an urgent inquiry by the regional EJVM, and Rwandan authorities are also in contact with DRC colleagues about the incident “It was included in the declaration. The Congolese army did not respond to the charges right away.
Since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have maintained a tense relationship. Some of the people accused of killing an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda have formed militias in eastern Congo. Rwanda has been accused of supporting M23, an ethnic Tutsi rebel group that arose around that time, although Kigali has refuted the allegations.
Tensions in the region have been high since the M23 militia stormed two Congolese army positions near the Uganda-Rwanda border and marched on surrounding towns in March. During an insurgency in eastern Congo in 2012 and 2013, the organisation controlled large areas of land before being forced out by Congolese and UN forces. They’ve since returned from attacks in neighbouring countries. M23 began fighting again earlier this year, accusing the Congolese government of breaking a 2009 agreement that called for its members to be integrated into the army.
On May 22, a top UN official accused the M23 militia of attacking peacekeepers in the country’s unstable east. Bintou Keita, the UN Special Representative for Congo, made the statement after the army and the group clashed again on May 19. In a statement, Keita decried militia attacks on both government soldiers and the UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission.