This incident is a violation of Rwanda’s airspace for the third time since November 2022.
Short videos and photos shared on social media show the warplane’s left wing burning and the other side of the plane with bullet holes.
The warplane was shot but did not crash down immediately and continued to fly until it landed at Goma airport where firefighters rushed to put out fire on the burning wing.
Following the incident, the Government of Rwanda released a statement announcing that defensive measures were taken and warned the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against repetitive provocations.
“Today at 5:03 pm, a Sukhoi-25 from the DR Congo violated Rwanda airspace for the third time. Defensive measures were taken. Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” reads the brief statement.
Witnesses who were at the small border between Rwanda and DRC have told IGIHE that they heard loud explosion while returning from Goma and saw a jet in the sky flying back to Congo.
Previously, DRC’s fighter jets violated Rwanda’s airspace two times where one landed briefly at Rubavu airport.
Rwanda has condemned provocations by DRC which has been in the past few days making utterances alluding to imminent attacks on it.
On Wednesday last week, Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula released a statement whose conclusion reflected previous utterances by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi at the United Nations (UN) Security Council on 20th November 2022 where he said that his country resolved ‘to put an end to insecurity in eastern part of the country whatever the cost’.
Reacting to the statement, Rwanda referred to it as a threat of war.
Goma airport where DRC’s jets are parked is currently used by mercenaries from Europe who manage it and oversee maintenance of the Sukhoi fighter jets acquired from Russia.
Recently, the Government of Rwanda released a statement indicating that the recruitment of foreign mercenaries by the DRC is a clear indication that the country ‘is preparing for war, and not peace’.
President Paul Kagame recently said that Rwanda is overstocked to deal with those mercenaries, if need be.