Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson, has said that DRC forces have intensified deliberate shelling of Rwandan territory and that Rwanda has a responsibility to protect its population.
Mushikiwabo issued the statement on Thursday after a bomb fired by FARDC at 9.45am killed a woman and seriously injured her two-month-old baby in a market in Rubavu town. A second bomb landed at 11.20am near the grande barriere in Rubavu town injuring one person while eight bombs landed at Busasamana village in Rubavu District at 11.30am.
This follows thirteen bombs and rockets fired by DRC forces on Wednesday at Rwandan border villages in Rubavu District. A total of 34 bombs and rockets have been fired into Rwanda in the last month by DRC forces.
“The persistent shelling of Rwandan territory is unacceptable, as it would be to any sovereign nation. Rwandan civilians are being targeted by DRC forces,” she said. “We have remained restrained for as long as we can but this provocation can no longer be tolerated. We have the capacity to determine who fired at us and will not hesitate to defend our territory. Rwanda has a responsibility to protect its population.”
She said that the Government of Rwanda has repeatedly urged the Government of DRC to stop attacks on its territory but instead violations have increased in frequency and intensity. She pointed out that no one is calling out the FDLR genocidaires who continue to be inexplicably shielded, while actively collaborating with DRC forces right across Rwanda’s border.
“It is hypocritical for the international community to talk about protecting civilians when FARDC together with FDLR are causing harm to our citizens as if the lives of Rwandans have no value. The attacks by FARDC and FDLR have now reached another level.”
Minister Mushikiwabo said it was regrettable that the international community has not mastered the necessary coherence to properly manage the situation, including supporting the regional political dialogue that had yielded a lull in the fighting in Eastern DRC.
“The shelling by FARDC and FDLR has been a sustained strategy of provocation designed to draw Rwanda into the conflict. Rwanda is the most willing signatory to the peace and security framework and we have done everything we can to contribute to durable peace in the Eastern DRC. But we will not stand by while the army of one of the signatories continues to shell civilian targets in Rwanda.”
The New Times