Rwandan, Congolese soldiers exchange fire at Rusizi Border

On 15 February 2023 at 01:22

Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has revealed that soldiers of Congolese Army (FARDC) have entered the no man’s land on the side of Rusizi District, opened fire at Rwanda’s border post where Rwandan soldiers responded and repelled them.

The statement released by RDF reads that the intruders have been dealt with and assured that the situation is calm at the border.

“On Wednesday morning at 4h30, FARDC forces estimated to be about one section (12 to 14 soldiers) entered the No Man’s Land between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) bordering Rusizi District in Western Province, and opened fire at our border post. Our security forces responded and FARDC soldiers withdrew,” reads the statement in part.

“At 0554hrs, FARDC forces visited the scene and cleaned up the area. There were no casualties on the Rwanda side and the situation is calm,” adds the statement.

RDF has requested the Expanded Joint verification Mechanism and the Ad Hoq Verification Mechanism ‘to investigate this act of provocation’.

Congo’s provocation to Rwanda is not happening for the first time. In June last year, the country’s soldier stormed Rwandan territory through the small border in Rubavu.

He was shot dead after opening rapid fire on civilians crossing the border and police officers on patrol.

In November 2022, another soldier of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was shot dead after crossing to Rwanda.

The incident occurred in Gasutamo Village, Mbugangari Cell of Gisenyi Sector in Rubavu District in the night of Friday leading to Saturday 19th November 2022.

At the time, RDF released a statement indicating that the soldier had crossed through the small border between the two countries in Rubavu District and started shooting at Rwandan soldiers on patrol, which prompted them to shot him dead.

Commenting on the incident; Congolese Army spokesman in Northern Kivu, Lt Col Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko confirmed to the media that the soldier shot dead was from FARDC.

“Following an investigation, we have established that he is a soldier of Congo who was recently deployed to Northern Kivu. He knew well border demarcations between Rwanda and Congo,” he said.

He further stated that the soldier was on patrol along with colleagues and mistakenly crossed the border between Rwanda and DRC.

The Congolese soldier killed in November last year in 50 meters from no man’s land, was the third shot dead at the border between the two countries in 2022.

Apart from soldiers reported to have stormed Rwandan territory, DRC’s fighter jets have also violated Rwanda’s airspace at different times. Similar incident recently saw Rwandan soldiers firing at the country’s warplane which returned to Goma burning on its left wing.