Congolese soldier killed in Rwanda, fighting with rebels picks up

By Djaffar Sabiti and Stanis Bujakera

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) -Rwandan police on Friday shot and killed a Congolese soldier who crossed the border and fired at safety forces, Rwanda’s military stated, as combating intensified 50 km (30 miles) away between Congo’s army and rebels it says are backed by Rwanda.

The Central African neighbours have been locked in a diplomatic disaster for the reason that M23 rebels launched a serious offensive in japanese Democratic Republic of Congo final month.

Rwanda denies Congo’s allegations that it helps the guerrillas, whose management hails from the identical Tutsi ethnic group as Rwandan President Paul Kagame, or that it has despatched troops into japanese Congo.

As combating picked up once more between the rebels and Congo’s military on Friday, M23 fighters shot down a Congolese army helicopter, based on M23 spokesman Willy Ngoma and a Congolese military supply.

The incident on the border passed off earlier on Friday when a Congolese soldier crossed into Rwanda from the Congolese metropolis of Goma and fired an AK-47 rifle at Rwandan safety personnel and civilians, the Rwanda Defence Pressure (RDF) stated.

Two Rwandan cops have been injured earlier than an officer on obligation fired again on the soldier, who was killed 25 metres inside Rwanda, an RDF assertion stated.

Congo’s authorities stated it was monitoring the state of affairs however didn’t present particulars in regards to the incident. It ordered the border with Rwanda closed every day at 3 p.m. from Friday on, a number of hours sooner than regular.


In Goma, about 50 km southwest of the principle combating, lots of of individuals on foot and using bikes trailed the ambulance carrying the soldier’s physique whereas chanting “hero, hero”. Some shouted anti-Tutsi slogans and referred to as Kagame an “murderer”.

Anti-Rwandan sentiment in Congo is widespread, a legacy of Rwanda’s two invasions of japanese Congo within the Nineties and persevering with affect within the area. Rwanda says its actions have focused ethnic Hutu militiamen liable for the 1994 genocide of greater than 800,000 Tutsis and reasonable Hutus.

The M23 is waging its most sustained offensive since capturing swathes of territory in japanese Congo in 2012-2013.

The group captured the city of Bunagana, on the border with Uganda, earlier this week and made additional good points on Friday, taking the city of Tshengerero to the east and bringing down the military plane, its spokesman Ngoma stated.

“The military fled and the helicopter began to bomb us. So we fired on it and we obtained it,” he stated.

The pinnacle of a neighborhood civil society group and a Congolese officer confirmed Tshengerero’s seize.

In a press release, Congo’s authorities referred to as on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stress Rwanda to withdraw its troops from Congo forward of a summit of the Commonwealth, which Kigali will host subsequent week.

It additionally welcomed a Kenyan proposal to deploy a joint East African army power to japanese Congo, however stated it could not settle for Rwandan participation.

Rwanda’s authorities spokeswoman, Yolande Makolo, advised reporters Rwanda would contribute troops to the regional power and referred to as for dialogue with Congo.

(Reporting by Djaffar Sabiti and Erikas Mwisi Kambale in Goma and Stanis Bujakera in Kinshasa; Further reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana in Kigali; Writing by Sofia Christensen and Aaron Ross; Modifying by James Macharia Chege, William Maclean and Daniel Wallis)

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