Rwanda-DRC: all Rwandan army officers assigned to regional mechanisms recalled

Rwanda-DRC: all Rwandan army officers assigned to regional mechanisms recalled

Rwanda on Tuesday recalled all its officers deployed in various regional mechanisms, on the Congolese soil following a decision by Kinshasa to expel Rwandan officers assigned to the EAC force headquarters based in Goma, provincial capital of North Kivu (eastern DRC). Kigali and Kinshasa accuse each other of sabotage. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Through the army spokesman, Kinshasa decided to dismiss from its territory, the Rwandan military officers deployed in the regional force of the EAC within the general staff, the only Rwandan soldiers included in this force.

“For security reasons of our country, we asked that the Rwandan officers assigned to Goma in the general staff be repatriated,” announced General Sylvain Ekenge.

After the announcement of the decision, Kigali reacted. It decided to withdraw all its officers deployed in all the regional mechanisms based in the DRC.

Last weekend, Kinshasa had accused, without however providing evidence, that elements of the Rwandan special force returned to Congolese soil to “massacre Congolese Tutsis in order to attribute the carnage to the Congolese army to justify the presence of the Rwandan soldiers on the Congolese soil”.

Relations between the two neighbors in the Great Lakes region of Africa continue to deteriorate. Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 militarily. The armed group, generally made up of Congolese Tutsis, took up arms again at the end of 2021, accusing the Congolese authorities of not having respected their commitments on the reintegration of their combatants.

After a brief truce, the M23 resumed fighting justifying it wants to protect the Tutsi minority against “a genocide planned by Kinshasa”. Last Thursday, the group conquered the city of Kitshanga located some 80 kilometers northwest of Goma after three days of intense fighting.

During a council of ministers at the end of the week, President Tshisekedi assured that all the necessary measures to “block the road to Rwanda and the terrorist group M23 have already been taken”.

Observers and human rights defenders fear that the situation could explode as warnings of a humanitarian disaster continue to be issued. More than 60,000 civilians have fled their homes following hostilities in Masisi territory alone, according to local authorities.

Civil society in North Kivu accuses the regional force of playing a double game, in favor of the M23.

Rwanda, which sweeps aside the accusations of its western neighbor, continues to accuse the Congo of “collaborating with the Rwandan genocidaires FDLR” by providing them with uniforms, weapons and ammunition to “destabilize its territory”. Pope Francis, who began a four-day visit to the vast central African country on Tuesday, is not going to Goma as originally planned. But he will receive the representatives of the victims of the violence and atrocities committed in eastern DRC.

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