Rwanda protests ‘provocative bombing’ from DR Congo

Two bombs landed in Rwanda’s western district of Rubavu from a Congolese area controlled by the Congolese army, FARDC, and the UN Mission in that country, Monusco, the Rwandan government has said.
Conglese refugees at Goma-Rubavu border wait to board a Red Cross vehicle. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Conglese refugees at Goma-Rubavu border wait to board a Red Cross vehicle. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

Two bombs landed in Rwanda’s western district of Rubavu from a Congolese area controlled by the Congolese army, FARDC, and the UN Mission in that country, Monusco, the Rwandan government has said.

“Two bombs landed at Kageshi and Gasiza Cells, Busasamana Sector, Rubavu District, Western Rwanda at 3.05pm,” Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, Rwanda Defence Forces spokesperson, is quoted in a statement released by the Office of Government Spokesperson yesterday.

The statement said the incidents were “deliberate”.

“This was a provocative and deliberate act by FARDC and Monusco since there was no fighting nearby between the warring factions. Fighting between FARDC and M23 rebels started on Sunday. We have credible information that FDLR is currently embedded in FARDC,” he said.

The FDLR militia, a militia that a newly-formed UN intervention brigade is mandated to dismantle, is largely composed of the elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of a million people.

There were no casualties from the bombings on Rwandan territory, the statement added.

The renewed fighting, which comes after months of a lull caused by a ceasefire as the warring Kinshasa government and M23 rebels took part in peace talks in Kampala, has seen a fresh influx of refugees fleeing into Rwanda.

Officials said about 600 Congolese refugees have crossed into the country in the last two days.

The clashes

FARDC clashed with fighters from the M23 rebels close to the North Kivu capital, Goma, on Sunday, a combat that was still ongoing yesterday and has been described as “serious.”

The spokesperson for M23, Col. Jean Marie Vianney Kazarama, told this newspaper yesterday that serious fighting was ongoing and that his group was facing a joint offensive by FARDC and FDLR.

“It’s a long story. Right now, we are in full combat. The FDLR is cooperating with them (FARDC) and they have been attacking us since yesterday (Sunday) and the struggle is ongoing,” he said.

Both Kinshasa and the M23 accused each other of provoking the fighting.

Efforts to talk to Congolese officials were futile by press time.

Monusco spokesperson Madnodje Mounoubai could not confirm the allegations of FARDC’s cooperation with the FDLR, explaining in a telephone interview that the Mission had “no proof”.

M23 fighters have also previously accused Monusco of lending a hand in attacking the their group, but the Force refuted the accusations, saying the Mission has only tried to intervene in the conflict for the purpose of protecting civilians.

“If we have reasons to believe civilians are in danger we have to protect them,” Mounoubai said.

Many civilians in Congolese localities under current fighting such as Mutaho, about 7 kilometers from Goma, and Munigi, have been on the move since the fighting broke out on Sunday.

Some 600 refugees have been received across the border in Rwanda where government and the UN High Commission for Refugees are working on modalities to facilitate them.

Members and fighters of the FDLR are known as perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who not only fled to Congo, but maintain their goal of eliminating the Tutsi and have continued to commit war crimes in eastern Congo.

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