We have weapons: Rwanda warns DRC against repetitive provocations

On 6 March 2023 at 02:13

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda has said that repetitive provocations by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not yet reached the last stage dragging Rwanda into direct confrontations with the country.

He made the revelation on Sunday following repetitive provocations by soldiers of the Congolese Army (FARDC) to Rwanda. Of recent, a Congolese soldier was shot dead on Rwandan territory in Rubavu District after opening fire at Rwandan soldiers manning the border area.

As a team from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) investigated the incident on Saturday, Congolese people threw stones in Rwanda prompting Rwandan soldiers to fire warning shots.

Similar incidents involving soldiers storming Rwandan territory, no man’s land and opening fire at Rwandan soldiers have happened three times.

DRC’s fighter jets have also violated Rwandan airspace three times.

Among others, Congolese soldiers in collaboration the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi shelled rockets on Rwandan territory at different times last year.

Commenting on the provocations while appearing in a talk show with RBA on Sunday 5th March 2023, Mukuralinda said that the reactions by Congolese soldiers are often fuelled by statements or behaviours of the country’s leaders.

“This can be looked at in two ways. The first is provocation but when you analyze the frequency, there are also recurrent statements by Congolese leaders prompting some soldiers to put into action what they heard,” he observed.

“When you always tell somebody that Rwanda is an enemy […] sounding it every day, one of people with guns might say ‘we are always told that these guys are enemies, why can’t I cross to shot them’.”

On the other hand, Mukuralinda disclosed that DRC might be attempting to drag Rwanda into a war.

He explained that the incident that happened towards the end of last week was more severe because it involved the exchange of fire between both countries’ soldiers. Mukuralinda however reassured residents that their security is guaranteed.

“The most important thing is that no one died or injured on our side. It was highlighted through the recently released statement that Rwanda’s and its people’s security is guaranteed,” he noted.

“It is not surprising […] measures have been taken, we have soldiers, we have weapons and all necessary preparations have been made that it won’t surprise us. Provocations will continue but we won’t be caught into that trap,” added Mukuralinda.

He further disclosed that Rwanda will continue to safeguard territorial integrity irrespective of the provocations by Congolese soldiers.

“If they cross the area, they can be dealt with appropriately,” assured Mukuralinda.

Rwanda and DRC have been experiencing stained relations following the resurgence of M23 rebel group towards the end of 2021.

DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23, which has been claiming for rights of Kinyarwanda-speaking communities. However, Rwanda repeatedly denied the allegations but accused DRC of forming a coalition with FDLR.

Since tensions escalated between Rwanda and DRC, different resolutions have been reached to solve the problem through established regional processes but Congolese leaders reportedly failed to implement them.

These reactions saw the country’s President boycotting his participation in a recent meeting in Doha, Qatar to mend ties between Rwanda and DRC.

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda has said that Rwanda is always standby to safeguard territorial integrity.