United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to Rwanda for restraint amid escalating tensions with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
This comes just a day after Rwanda complained that a rocket fired from the DRC territory on Thursday, killed one person in Rubavu district.
Rwanda threatened to retaliate in what they called continued provocation from the DRC, where a joint operation by the UN intervention Brigade and the government forces are fighting the M23 rebels.
The incident on Thursday was the second in just one week that rockets fired from DRC have landed Rwanda. Last week a 107mm rocket allegedly fired by DRC forces landed in Bugu Cell in Cyanzarwe Sector damaging property.
Rubavu District Mayor Sheikh Hassan Bahame said the act by the Congolese army was inhuman, though DRC army spokesperson Olivier Hamuli dismissed the allegations as baseless.
Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said 13 “bombs and rockets” were fired into Rwanda on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday. This brought to 34 the number of attacks Congolese have carried out on Rwanda in the last month, according to the minister.
The UN says Ban spoke to President Paul Kagame after Rwanda accused DRC of deliberately bombing its territory, killing a woman and wounding her baby.
According to the BBC, Ban’s assistant, Edmond Mulet, reportedly told UN members that M23 rebels had been seen firing into Rwanda.
The DRC government and the UN accuse Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, a charge it denies. The rebels have been fighting the government of President Joseph Kabila since April 2012. At the heart of the disagreement is core of the former Rwandan armed forces, the FDLR, who have been living in the DRC after participating in the 1994 genocide.
Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende is quoted by the BBC as saying M23 rebels were firing onto Rwandan territory “in order to give Rwanda a pretext to openly enter the war.
The UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, Monusco, recently deployed a new 3,000-strong intervention brigade to push the rebels further from Goma, the eastern DRC regional city near the Rwandan border. The M23 captured and briefly occupied the town in November 2012.
At least 800,000 people have fled their homes the fighting started in April 2012, with many of them crossing into Uganda.