Another Congolese soldier shot dead for crossing into Rwandan territory

Rwandan army officials showing Defense attaches the spot where they shot dead a Congolese soldier

Rwanda army on Saturday shot dead a Congolese soldier whom they accused of crossing into Rwandan territory and shooting at their guard towers.

The yet-to-be-identified soldier was shot at around 1:00 am, according to a statement released by Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF). RDF says the soldier crossed into the Rwandan border in Rubavu district, Western Province. The statement calls upon officials of the regional Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) to intervene and conduct investigations into the border violation by a FARDC (DR Congo armed forces) soldier.  

This is the second FARDC soldier to be shot dead this year after crossing into Rwanda. In June, another FARDC soldier was shot dead by the Rwandan National Police (RNP) officers while protesting on Rwandan soil at the same border point. The soldier was killed after he allegedly shot several times and injured two Rwandan police officers who were on official duty.

The second incident happened hours after a phone conversation between Rwandan President, Paul Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta, the former Kenyan president and the facilitator of the dialogue between the DR Congo-Rwandan government impasse over the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels.

In a press statement issued after the phone discussion, Uhuru said that Kagame had agreed to contribute to the withdrawal of the M23 rebels from the conquered positions in the territories of Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo back to their original positions to pave way for dialogue. It is not yet clear if the fresh incident will change Kagame’s mind on contribution towards M23 rebels withdrawing from their captured positions.     

In March, June, and May artillery rockets were fired from DRC into Rwanda’s districts of Musanze and Burera, causing injuries to Rwandan citizens and damaging property. On May 28, two Rwandan soldiers were arrested by the Congolese army for allegedly helping M23 rebels. They were later released following mediation by Angolan President, João Lourenço.  

DRC has always accused Rwanda of backing M23 rebels but Rwanda strongly denies the allegations. The accusations resulted in the expulsion of the Rwandan ambassador in DRC Vincent Karega. The fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers that started in March this year also resulted in the fall of the Uganda-DR Congo borders of Bunagana and Busanza into the hands of the rebels.

Rebels claim to be fighting against DRC’s bad governance based on corruption, tribalism, and xenophobia among others.  Meanwhile, Blaise Kavungera, the head of state protocol for the province of North Kivu who was arrested on Wednesday last week on accusations of collaborating with M23 rebels has been transferred to the capital Kinshasa for further interrogations.  

Kavungera was picked up from Goma city by soldiers attached to the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) and detained in Goma. He was accused of providing information to M23 rebels, according to a security source who declined to reveal his name.

Source: The Observer

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