Tshisekedi warns of war with Rwanda

On 6 July 2022 at 09:51

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Antoine Tshisekedi has said that his country won’t stand by if Rwanda continues to support M23 rebel group in clashes with Congolese Army (FARDC) and warned of a risk of war with the neighbouring country.

Tshisekedi made the disclosure during an interview with the Financial Times shortly before his flight to Angola for peace accords to seek a solution for escalating tensions between Rwanda and DRC.

“This possibility cannot be ruled out. If Rwanda’s provocation continues, we will not sit and do nothing about it. We are not weak. There is absolutely no doubt that Rwanda is backing the March 23rd Movement. We want peace, but if push comes to shove…at one point we will take action,” he said.

Tshisekedi also underscored that Rwanda is fighting in DRC ‘under the guise of M23’ and accused it of intentions to loot its natural resources.

“Rwanda is fighting in the DRC under the guise of the M23, which was defeated in 2013. Rwanda has illicit vested economic interests in the DRC. As long as order is not restored in the DRC, as long as lawlessness and insecurity prevail, Rwanda will take advantage of that,” he noted.

Tshisekedi makes the declaration at a time when Rwanda has been accusing his country of provocations where Congolese Army in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) shelled Rwandan territory three times and kidnapped two soldiers of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).

FDLR is a terrorist outfit comprised of remnant masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who at different times plotted hit-and-run attacks to Rwanda and repelled back.

Rwanda has also condemned hate speeches of Congolese against Rwandans.

The provocations escalated until a Congolese soldier crossed into Rwanda through Rubavu border on 17th June 2022, where he attacked Rwandan policemen with a rapid fire before he was shot dead.

During a press conference on 31st May 2022; Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta said that Rwanda would not ‘idly sit by’ and watch the provocations in case DRC refuses to release abducted soldiers and continues shelling Rwandan territory.

“We have responsibilities to protect our citizens and country’s borderlines. A country defends itself against attacks. This means, if the issue persists, we cannot idly sit by and wait for repetitive shelling on our citizens every day or provocations to kidnap people anytime. It is among issues pointed out at the African Union Summit in Malabo. I clearly indicated that we have legitimacy to respond and defend ourselves, in case we are attacked,” he noted.

“We want such provocations to stop. We want these soldiers released. However, in case these attacks continue to threaten our country’s security, we would be legitimate to defend ourselves and you know that we have capacity,” Minister Biruta added.

Rwanda has maintained that DRC’s accusations are unfounded but insisted that the country backs FDLR, a terrorist group threatening Rwanda’s security.

On 5th July 2022, President Tshisekedi arrived in Angola for peace talks with his counterpart of Rwanda, Paul Kagame on the mediation of President Angola, João Lourenço.

The two heads of state also met recently at the third conclave for regional heads of state convened by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta to find a lasting solution to security issues in eastern DRC.