Congo soldiers shoot at Rwandan border

Congolese soldiers on Monday fired three bullets into the Rwandan territory of Petite Barriere, causing pandemonium as hundreds of Rwandan businesspersons at the border fled for their dear lives.

Congolese soldiers on Monday fired three bullets into the Rwandan territory of Petite Barriere, causing pandemonium as hundreds of Rwandan businesspersons at the border fled for their dear lives.

No reasons were given for the shooting but Rubavu Police officers said they were investigating the provocative act.

Rubavu district vice mayor, Ramadan Baringayabo said: “I have been informed about the shooting but we are following up to see what could have been the cause. We thank God no one was hurt in spite the fact that they (Congolese) shot in a very busy place with many people.”  The police surrounded the spots where the bullets hit with stones and ordered residents not to tamper with them.  

Jean Damascene Mungarakarama, a Rwandan who was at the Congolese side before the incident, claimed there were ‘brutal acts on Rwandans’ that culminated into the shooting.

He said: “I don’t know what had happened to the Congolese soldiers but they were so hostile and rude. We found them holding and beating up an old man who had just crossed the border claiming he was going to Laurent Nkunda (a Congelese rebel general).

“When we reached there, they asked us for the documents and they took them a way and started beating us and tried to lock us into a small room. Unfortunately another soldier who happened to be my friend came and stopped them saying they shouldn’t do any thing harmful to me because I was his friend they finally left us,” he added.

Residents along the DRC-Rwanda border are concerned about the Congolese soldiers’ violent conduct.

“We just pray they don’t cross because their hatred has increased to the extent of firing bullets here,” Françoise Uwamahoro lamented.

Reports from the border indicate that Congolese soldiers have for sometime been hostile to Rwandans in Goma, arrested and locked them in ‘safe houses’, accusing them of planning to join Nkunda’s troops.

In August this year, the Governor of the Western Province, Penelope Kantarama, and Fera Rutayikirwa, the vice mayor of the Northern Kivu Province, signed an agreement in Gisenyi town.

They agreed to work hand in hand to solve insecurity threats between the two provinces especially the illegal arrests and torture of Rwandan citizens who cross the border to the neighboring Goma.

The agreement resulted into the September 4 release of 12 Rwandans who had been illegally detained and tortured by north Kivu Province authorities.

But despite the agreement, Goma is still seen as danger zone for Rwandans due to the hostility from the Congolese soldiers.

Rwanda and DRC earlier this month signed an agreement in the Kenyan Capital Nairobi which commits that latter to disarm the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a DRC-based Rwandan militia which is largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide which claimed at least one million people.

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