Minister Biruta made the revelation as he delivered remarks to participants of an extraordinary summit in the Equatorial Guinea capital, Malabo, discussing challenges ranging from terrorism to democratic governance and climate change.
The summit took place few days after Congolese Army (FARDC) shelled on Rwandan territory on Monday 23rd May 2022.
At the time, 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. However, Rwanda maintained that the allegations are baseless and called the clash with M23, ’an internal issue’.
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.
Minister Biruta told participants of the summit that ‘it is deeply disturbing that DRC has been quick to blame Rwanda in order to ignore its obligations’.
“In addition, the DRC has tried on several occasions to drag Rwanda into its domestic security issues. Specifically, there has been series of FARDC provocations against Rwanda, including shelling on Rwandan territory, which cannot be tolerated as a normal business,” he said.
He stressed that one of provocations happened last week when shelled rockets injured several civilians and damaged property.
The Minister explained that the provocation followed another incident of cross-border shelling which happened on 19th March 2022 where the Government of DRC was notified both times about ‘these serious incidents’.
Right to respond
Minister Biruta told participants of the summit that Rwandan soldiers had legitimacy to respond the shelling but the country requested investigation into the matter.
“While it would have been legitimate for Rwanda to respond, we have instead consistently requested for investigations of these provocations, by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism of the ICGLR,” he said.
“Let me reiterate this to my Congolese brother: It is true that I indicated to him, that Rwanda has the right to respond. Our President, His Excellency Paul Kagame, pointed this out very clearly to his Congolese counterpart,” added Minister Biruta.