August 23, 2013

Tension As Rwanda Accuses DRC Army Of Firing Into Its Territory

Rwanda has accused the government forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of allegedly firing rockets into its territory.

This comes after a rocket landed in the district of Rubavu near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwandan Military spokesperson Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita describes the act by the Congolese army, officially known as Forces Armées de la République Démocratique duCongo(FARDC), as senseless and that property worth millions of Rwandan Francs was destroyed.

According to the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), a 107mm rocket landed in an urban area of Bugu Cell in Cyanzarwe Sector, Rubavu district on Thursday.

Brig. Nzabamwita says that the Rwandan government has requested the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a regional monitoring team, to visit Rubavu to verify effects of a rocket bomb. He says that the rocket came from the direction of a territory that is controlled by the FARDC.

The bombing is the second in a period of one month. On July 15 the FARDC fired two bombs in Kageshi and Gasiza Cells of Busasamana Sector of the same district.

Investigations conducted by EJVM confirmed the deliberate shooting by FARDC into Rwandan territory.
The act by Congolese forces comes at a time when they are engaging the M23 rebels near the North Kivu provincial Capital of Goma.

Rwanda has been accused of invading DRC and arming the M23 rebels, claims the Kigali government has dismissed and instead accused Kinshasa of harbouring Rwandan rebels responsible for the 1994 genocide.

Meanwhile in Goma a total of five people including three children were injured yesterday by shells which were allegedly fired by the government forces. The shells also destroyed structures of a primary school and three houses causing panic in the city and prompting the locals to rush to their homes.

One of the shells landed in the area of Katindo destroying a home of one of the officials of MONUSCO, a United Nations force deployed in the country to restore peace.

In the district of Murara a total of five people were also injured by shells dropped by helicopters.

The shells landed as the Congolese government forces and the M23 rebels clashed about 15 kilometers away.

The clashes between the two sides which had died down resumed on Wednesday evening. There was intensified fighting on Thursday in the areas of Kibati where the government forces say they managed to kill 12 rebels and capture others.

Amani Kabashe, the M23 head of communication told local media that the DRC government has resorted to dropping rockets indiscriminately saying that the act is childish and must stop for the good of the Congolese civilians.

MONUSCO also says that they have decided to strengthen their presence and ensure that the locals are not caught up in the fighting. The head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, says they are ready to stop any advance of the M23 rebels on Goma.

He says MONUSCO has increased patrols along the road between Goma and Sake and that they are now ready to engage the M23 in any attempt to attack the city which they overrun and captured in November last year before withdrawing.

He however says that they also gave firm instructions to their forces that no attack on the M23 should be carried out if they do not attempt to attack Goma.

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