Rwanda: Monusco mortar rebut dangerous

The ministry of defence has denounced denial by the UN Mission in the Congo (Monusco) that mortar bombs landed on Rwandan territory from the Congolese side of the border this week, saying the rebuff poses a danger to civilians.
A member of the ICGLR monitors inspects components of the mortar bomb that was fired into Rubavu in Western Rwanda from DR Congo side on Monday. The New Times/Courtesy
A member of the ICGLR monitors inspects components of the mortar bomb that was fired into Rubavu in Western Rwanda from DR Congo side on Monday. The New Times/Courtesy

The ministry of defence has denounced denial by the UN Mission in the Congo (Monusco) that mortar bombs landed on Rwandan territory from the Congolese side of the border this week, saying the rebuff poses a danger to civilians.

On Monday, the Rwanda Defence Forces protested what it described as “a provocative and deliberate act by FARDC (the Congolese army) and  Monusco”, saying the two bombs that landed in Kageshi and Gasiza cells, Busasamana Sector in Rubavu District, originated from the area under Congolese army and the UN peacekeepers control.

 

Monusco yesterday denied mortars were fired on the Rwandan territory.

 

“The gratuitous denial by Monusco, without prior investigations constitutes a dangerous pattern. This is not the first time Monusco is denying verifiable attacks on Rwanda territory,” the Rwandan Defence ministry said in a statement yesterday.

 

It said the incident had been verified by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a group of more than 20 military experts from the 11 member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The deputy head of the monitoring team, based in Congo’s eastern city of Goma, a stone throw from Rubavu,  Col. Leon Mahungu, confirmed they inspected the “bombed” villages yesterday. He, however, could not confirm the bombing, saying he was yet to receive the team’s report. 

The RDF has organised a fact-finding trip to the two villages for diplomats and the media today.

In November, the Congolese army fired 15 bombs into Rwanda, killing civilians. Kinshasa owned up, blaming the incident on undisciplined officers.

The controversy comes in the wake of Kigali accusing a new UN brigade in DR Congo of providing “tactical and strategic collaboration” to FDLR militia, largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

The Congolese army, allegedly backed by the FDLR militants, is currently engaged in a fierce battle with M23 rebels, largely composed of soldiers who mutinied last year over what they called unfulfilled promises from a previous peace deal.

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