DRC announced the suspension of RwandAir flights on Saturday 28th May 2022 after accusing Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels in clashes with Congolese Army (FARDC).
Following the decision, RwandAir announced the suspension of flights to DRC and apologized to customers for any inconvenience it might cause.
Speaking to RBA, Dennis Karera, the Vice Chairman East African Business Council (EABC) said that the decision of barring RwandAir flights to DRC disrupts trade and free movement within the region.
“RwandAir mostly carry traders from Congo and other EAC or other countries like China and Dubai. Suspending its flights does not only affect Congolese but also blocks EAC traders seeking to travel to Kinshasa, Goma and Lubumbashi or other towns,” he said.
Karera has observed that the decision was inappropriate and taken in haste.
“It is not reasonable to suspend flights for any problem. We were in Goma and Bukavu last week to discuss with our counterparts and encourage them to join the council. We can only achieve it when traders are moving freely,” he noted.
“As far as we are concerned, the decision was reached hastily. We call upon DRC leadership not to rush for such decisions tampering with trade,” added Karera.
It has been two months since DRC was admitted into EAC.
Last week, FARDC in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) shelled rockets on Rwanda’s territory which injured residents and destroyed houses in Musanze and Burera districts in Northern Province.
The shelling occurred when FARDC was accusing Rwanda of supporting M23 rebel group in eastern DRC.
Following the incident on Monday, Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) requested the regional Extended Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) to launch probe into the incident.
In the same week on Saturday 28th May 2022, RDF announced that Congolese Army with FDLR kidnapped two Rwandan soldiers on patrol.
Rwanda maintains that DRC’s allegations are baseless and called the clash with M23, ’an internal issue’.