The DRC has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebel group, which the latter denied on Thursday as the Congolese army clashed with the militia in the east of the huge country.
Fighting with the rebel group broke out this week on multiple fronts in North Kivu, a conflict-torn eastern province of DRC that borders Rwanda.
“Suspects are emerging that the M23 has received support from Rwanda” , Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said Wednesday evening after an emergency meeting with the prime minister.
M23 is primarily a Congolese Tutsi group and one of more than 120 armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are underway.
It was briefly captured North Kivu’s provincial capital, Goma, in late 2012 before the army crushed the rebellion the following year.
But M23 n Rwanda resumed fighting this year, accusing the Congolese government of failing to honor a 2009 agreement under which its fighters were to be incorporated into the army.
Foreign Affairs Minister Christophe Lutundula blamed Rwanda also to support the M23 and said the militia attacked the Rumangabo army camp, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Goma.
“This is the height of audacity, we cannot remain indifferent , we can’t say anything,” he told delegates at an African Union meeting in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday.
But Rwanda has denied involvement. Government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said the country “has no intention of being drawn into any internal DRC affairs”. p>
In Goma, Kakule Kapitula, 50, told AFP he came to the city because of the insecurity elsewhere in the province.
“I’m scared because when they arrive I will.” there is nowhere to flee,” he said, referring to the rebels.
Relations between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have been strained since the mass arrival of Rwandan Hutus in the republic, who are accused of abusing Tutsis during of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Kinshasa has regularly accused Rwanda of conducting incursions into its territory and supporting armed groups there.< /p>
Relations began to thaw after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi took office in 2019, but the recent resurgence of M23 violence has reignited tensions.
Also in Goma, an ethnic melting pot of about a million people ern, tensions have risen amid fears of escalating violence.
General Francois-Xavier Aba van Ang, a senior A senior police official in North Kivu on Wednesday urged townspeople to prepare to engage in machete-wielding defend, according to a video posted on social media.
However, Muyaya criticized the remarks as “dangerous”.
Recourse to “machetes, hate speech, stigma is extremely dangerous and should be banned,” he tweeted on Thursday.
M23 also stated that it was concerned about calls for violence.
“MONUSCO and the DRC government should do this stop very dangerous slips to prevent genocide,” it said Thursday, using an acronym referring to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The army launched an offensive against M23 in the past week , after the militia apparently attacked both soldiers and UN peacekeepers.
On Monday, Rwanda pushed for an investigation into a suspected missile attack by Congolese forces on its territory.
The fighting between M23 and the DRC army broke out again north of Goma on Tuesday and spread to other areas of North Kivu, including the Rumangabo camp, by Wednesday.
DRC announced on Wednesday that there were also has requested an investigation by a regional agency that monitors security incidents in Africa’s volatile Great Lakes region.
Rwanda was not named, but a statement said shells were being fired “from east to west.” Territory fired.